Heavy crowd for 'Vaikunta Ekadasi' at Tirumala

There was heavy rush of devotees at Tirumala, the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara, to offer worship on the most auspicious 'Vaikunta Ekadasi' tomorrow, temple sources said today.

About three lakh devotees are expected to congregate on the hills on the occasion, the sources told PTI today.

Of them, half are expected to climb the hills through the 11 km long steep stairway, leading to the ancient shrine from Alipiri on the foothills.

After performing special pujas, devotees would be allowed into the temple from the small hours to beyond midnight on Sunday.

At least eight thousand VIP darshan tickets are expected to be issued by midnight tonight, they said.

The entire hill abode, including the temple complex, has been bedecked with several tonnes of flowers besides illuminated decorations.

A temple priest told PTI that the idol of Lord Venkateswara would be adorned with precious ornaments, including golden 'Peethambaram', on the occasion.

The doors of the celestial 'Vaikuntam passageway', encircling the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, would be opened immediately after midnight.

Devotees after offering their prayers to the presiding deity would come out through the sacred passageway, sources said.

The doors are opened once a year only on 'Vainkunta Ekadasi' day, the priest said, adding, the Vaikuntam Passageway remains open on 'Dwadasi' day on Monday too for benefit of devotees.

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