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With lockdown 4.0 imposed across India, several restrictions have been eased. While places of worship and religious centres continue to remain shut till May 31, the Tirumala Tirupati Temple in Andhra Pradesh has secured the government’s approval for reopening soon. By Upasana Singh
With precautionary measures in place, the Tirumala temple is all set to reopen soon. As per latest reports, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the trust that manages the temple has sought permission to reopen from the state government last week. Although according to the home ministry guidelines of lockdown 4.0 in India, all religious places are to remain shut and large gatherings are not permitted, an exception has been made for the Tirumala temple.
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As reported by The Print, “Tirumala has been in the green zone since the beginning of the pandemic. We closed down the temple as a precautionary measure. Lord Venkateshwara has always been our guide and will keep us safe with his blessings during this time,” said TTD chairman YV Subbareddy. An anonymous TTD official stated that the trust’s revenues have dipped by over INR 200 crore during the nationwide lockdown.
For the first time in history, the temple was shut down on March 20. Located in the Chittoor district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the Tirumala Temple usually witnesses a footfall of 80,000 to 1 lakh devotees daily. To welcome its devotees post-lockdown, the temple has started taking various safety measures. Circles have been marked on the premises where people usually stand in queues to maintain social distancing. Wearing masks has become mandatory and only a limited number of visitors will now be allowed to visit the temple per day.
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Subbareddy further announced that thermal scanners will be put in place and devotees will get darshan (a glimpse of the deity) one by one. About 25,000-35,000 people will be allowed per day to visit the temple post-lockdown. To ensure this phased manner of entry, timings of darshan will be scheduled and the temple will be sanitised each time a slot is finished. The temple also plans to conduct a mock drill to see if the movement of devotees can be managed in these circumstances.
The world-famous Tirupati laddoo that is given as prasad (food offerings) will continue. However, following strict sanitising protocols, the prasad may be given in a box, instead of handing it over to devotees.
In case of any emergency, a quarantine facility has been arranged near the temple.
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