Tirupati: With the central government issuing new guidelines for the opening of places of worship from the June 8, lakhs of devotees of Lord Balaji are waiting for the Tirumala temple to reopen. However, the temple authorities said that only 10,000 pilgrims will be allowed per day to enter the Tirumala temple initially, from June 8. The number will be increased to a maximum of 30,000 in the next 2-3 months. The authorities also said gathering at Vaikuntham Complex will also be avoided, in accordance with the physical distance norm.

All bookings will be done online, including darshans. For those who do not have online access, a separate counter has been opened for registration. Accommodation facilities have also been arranged for people who come for offline registration.

The authorities said health screening for all devotees will be done twice. “Tirupati is currently a green zone area. All devotees will be screened before and after climbing the hill. Also, every queue will have a five-feet gap between the devotees. Kalyanakatta will also operate following the prescribed guidelines.”

Tirumala Tirupati Devsathanams (TTD) information centre at Himayat Nagar had witnessed a long queue of devotees waiting for the famous Tirupati laddu on May 31. The Tirupati laddu, which is usually sold at Lord Balaji temple in Tirumala, has been made available at subsidised rate in Hyderabad since May 31, amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

According to a TTD official, the temple board had sent several trucks, with around 60,000 laddus to Hyderabad for sale, after receiving permission from the Telangana state government. “The laddu, which usually costs Rs 50, would be sold at Rs 25 as a gift to the devotees during the Covid-19 lockdown period.”

Earlier, the TTD had planned to sell the laddus at subsidised rate in cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. On a trial basis, this subsidised sale was carried out in Andhra Pradesh on May 25, and by the end of the day, a total of about 12 lakh laddus were sold, the TTD official confirmed.

In Andhra Pradesh, the TTD is selling the laddus in its marriage halls and at the information centres at the headquarters of all districts in the state. Meanwhile, the temple board is awaiting permission from the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu state governments to sell the laddus in Bengaluru and Chennai.

The 2,000-year-old Tirumala temple was closed for devotees since March 25, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic

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