Coronavirus outbreak: Big change in protocol announced by TirumalaTirupati Devasthanam! Pilgrims visiting for darshan at the iconic Lord Venkateswara swamy temple, take note of these changes! Notably, pilgrims will be allowed for darshan using time slot tokens instead of making them stand in serpentine queues in compartments which are commonly referred to as ‘Vaikuntam’ compartments. Given the COVID-19 outbreak across the world, this preventive measure will be enforced from March 17 onwards at the Lord Balaji shrine, which is known to receive the highest number of pilgrim footfalls in the country.
For pilgrims, this preventive measure is bound to offer some relief as it would avoid any kind of person to person contact while waiting for darshan.
Further, the number of pilgrims allowed for darshan using time slot tokens will also be limited to about three thousand to four thousand at one go as compared to more than five thousand, which was the norm earlier.
Specific compartments are to be set up to issue these tokens. Devotees are expected to co-operate with these new measures. In case pilgrims fail to turn up at the correct time, it is made clear that they will not be allowed for darshan later.
Earlier, with new coronavirus cases being reported across the country, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) had issued an advisory to inform NRIs, foreigners and others to not visit the hill shrine for 28 days after their arrival in the country.
Further, in the wake of fresh coronavirus cases, a statement by the TTD also indicated that the temple authorities are taking all measures to create awareness about the COVID-19 outbreak. The TTD reiterated that it is committed to protect all pilgrims who are visiting the Lord Balaji shrine at Tirupati.
The TTD had advised pilgrims to Tirupati temple to maintain at least a distance of three feet while standing in darshan queue and to bring sanitisers and masks while they are in the temple premises.
Given that Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is continuously filled with hundreds of pilgrims, the TTD is asking people to avoid coming to the shrine in case they have any symptoms such as cold, cough and fever.
The earlier TTD statement indicated that thermal screening of those with COVID-19 symptoms will be undertaken. Accordingly, they will be sent for treatment to the Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital for treatment.