In a First, TTD cancels major Sevas over Corona Scare

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has announced altering protocol for devotees visiting Lord Balaji temple in the hill shrine to check the spread of coronavirus. It said that from March 17, pilgrims need not wait in serpentine queues as time-slot tokens would be issued for paying obeisance at the temple.
“Following the call by the Andhra Pradesh government to initiate steps to check the prevalence of coronavirus we’ve contemplated some measures,” TTD executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal said in Tirumala. 
Under the new protocol, the devotees would not be allowed to sit in the compartments of queue complexes to avoid person-to-person contact. 
“In the given time slots system, the pilgrims would be allowed for darshan by limiting the numbers. The devotees should bring any ID card such as aadhaar or voter ID or driving licence along with them to get the time-slot tokens for darshan,” he said.
He said special counters would be set up in Tirumala and Tirupati to issue the tokens. The shrine normally draws one lakh devotees daily from the country and abroad. Only 3,500-4,000 devotees will be allowed for darshan every hour against the normal number of about 5,500.
The TTD also cancelled rituals like Visesha Puja, Sahasra Kalasabhishekam and Vasanthotsavam in the shrine to avoid congregation of pilgrims.
The threat of coronavirus also forced the TTD to cancel its ground-breaking ceremony for Venkateswara Swamy Temple in Mumbai which was scheduled for April 5.
The TTD plans to conduct a three-day Maha Yagam from March 19 to seek divine intervention to safeguard humanity from coronavirus, Singhal said.

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