Is the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD), which is yet to tide over the crisis generated by former priest Ramana Dikshitulu, heading towards another controversy?
The answer is ‘Yes’ if one were to go by its recent proposal to explore the feasibility of dispensing with the darshan of the deity for five days in a row on the occasion of the Astabandhana-Balalayam ritual slated between August 12th to 16th. A slew of religious activities would be performed during the five-day Maha Samprokshanam performed once in 12 years.
Only priests would be allowed beyond the Jaya Vijaya idols during the period. Repair work if any to the pedestal on which the main idol rests or inside the ‘Garbha Gruha’ (inner sanctum) would be carried out by them. Work relating to purification would also be carried out atop the three-tier golden canopy above the sanctum sanctorum.
In view of these hectic activities, the darshan lines are bound to get interrupted for long hours every day.
Senior officials in private say the proposal is devoid of any merit.
Pilgrims were allowed for darshan even in 2006 when the festival was last observed.
On the pretext of paucity in the darshan hours, it may not be proper on the part of the management to suspend the darshan in toto.Moreover the ritual is slated in the second week of August that usually witnesses huge crowds.
Thousands of pilgrims might have already chalked out their plans.
Above all the devotees are allowed darshan from at the Jaya-Vijaya point even on regular days.
Instead of subjecting the pilgrims to difficulties, the management can as well embark on a publicity blitz.
The authorities opine that darshan can be provided only to a restricted number, between 20,000 to 30,000, daily during the five days.
As a precautionary measure, the TTD has cancelled all the arjitha sevas and blocked the online Rs. 300 darshan tickets on all the days.
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