Tirumala to open doors to devotees from today

After almost 80 days of being shut, Lord Venkateswara Swamy’s abode, Tirumala will be open for devotees from today. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) board has taken a decision to allow staff and locals for darshan on the first two days, following which it will open doors for devotees from other regions, except red zones. 
It may be recalled that the 2000-year-old shrine has remained closed for more than a week for the first time in 128 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time the temple was shut was in 1892 for unknown reasons, say temple records. 
According to the TTD, pilgrims (from other regions) will be allowed from June 11th. “Darshan timings are between 6.30 am and 7.30 pm. Only 6,000 people will be allowed for darshan daily. Five hundred devotees will be allowed to have darshan every hour,” the TTD Board said. 
On an experimental basis, the TTD is providing an opportunity for darshan to its employees and their families. They can book slots on June 8th and 9th. “Those above 65 years and children younger than 10 will not be allowed. On June 10, time slot tokens will be issued to Tirumala locals,” the TTD statement said. 
Meanwhile, the TTD staff has taken all the precautionary and preventive measures such as markings for social distancing, making masks mandatory, sanitisation of temple premises and other pilgrim-centric areas. 
According to the TTD, nearly 3,000 darshan tickets of Rs 300 will be issued to devotees online, for which bookings will open on June 8 while another set of 3,000 sarva darshan (free darshan) tickets will be issued daily at the Slotted Sarva Darshan counters in Tirupati.
Moreover, VIP break darshan will also commence from June 11th. “The VIP break will be between 6.30 am and 7.30 am and will be given to self-protocol VIPs. No recommendation letters will be entertained,” the Board explained, adding that “keeping in view the safety of pilgrims, the Alipiri walkers’ path will remain open from 6 am till 4 pm while Srivari Mettu will remain closed till further notice.”
The TTD has mentioned that every devotee that enters Tirumala needs to first undergo thermal screening, vehicle scanning and hand sanitisation at the toll gate. “Devotees willing to avail accommodation facility at Tirumala can book their rooms online,” a statement elaborated. 

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