Tirupati: As part of a preventive measure to check the spread of COVID-19 in the temple premises, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), on 17 March, introduced time slot tokens.
Devotees who visit the hill shrine with the special tokens will be allocated specific timings for darshan. However, there was no rush on the first day after the introduction of the new system due to lack of awareness among the devotees.
Counters have been arranged at Srinivasam Complex, 1 and 2 Choultries behind the railway station, and at Bhudevi Complex near the Alipiri bus stand. Counters have also been opened at Galigopuram close to Alipiri and Srivari Mettu footway routes for the convenience of the pilgrims. Meanwhile, other temples in Tirupati are crowded with devotees waiting for their turn as per the slot.
The Srikalahasti temple administration also imposed restrictions on darshan at the ancient Lord Shiva temple. The executive officer of the temple, C. Chandrasekhar Reddy, said the temple administration has suspended the entry of devotees to the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Kalahasteeswara Swamy and Gnana Prasoonambika Devi. They cannot witness even Abhisheka Sevas at the Srikalahasti temple. He said the Abhisheka Seva will be performed only by the priests of the temple. However, the temple’s famous Rahu-Ketu puja, that fetches huge revenue for the temple, will continue unchanged.