With the auspicious Vaikuntha Ekadasi falling on the New Year’s day, more than 1.5 lakh devotees have converged on Tirumala Tirupati temple for the darshan of Lord Venkateswara.
About 50,000 have been waiting in the 32 compartments inside the temple complex, while the rest are in the open.
TTD estimates about 75,000 devotees and 3,000 VIPs could have a chance to walk through the Uttara Dwara in the midnight of Vaikuntha Ekadasi, while the remaining devotees will have the darshan of the Lord on Dwadasi day on January 2.
“We can accommodate 4,000 devotees by adding a few more queues, but will not be able to have them if the numbers go beyond 70,000. I request devotees to stay at the temporary shelters,” said TTD Executive Officer D Sambasiva Rao, who himself oversees the queues.
“We allow 70,000 people a day for darshan, but are clearing 75,000 a day for the past two days in orders to ensure there is no rush. Those who have reached the compartments will be provided coffee/tea and refreshments. Sarvadarshanam will start before 5 am on Thursday. It is a promise to the common man,” Sambasiva Rao said.
The crowd began to swell after lunch time Wednesday and the unprecedented rush has prompted TTD to stipulate VIP darshan to just 3,000 to give priority to common devotees.
The common devotee will have a greater chance of having the darshan on Dwadasi day since there will not be any VIP breaks and only 10,000 special darshan internet ticket holders will be allowed, TTD Joint Executive Officer K S Srinivasa Raju said speaking to reporters in Tirumala.