Ahead of allowing devotees' entry from June 11 after a nearly 80 day long COVID-19 lockdown ban, a three day trial run of darshan began at Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala here on Monday with staff and others attached to it following strict protective measures.
About 6,000 employees were permitted into the over 2000- year-old hill temple complex shrine with time slot free darshan, a temple official said. Before making the offerings at the hundi, all devotees cleaned their hands with sanitizers, he said.
On Monday, visitors had to offer worship to the presiding deity of Lord Venkateswara from the 'Dwarapalakas Mandapam' itself, located over 100 feet away from the inner sanctum at the shrine, he said. The employees involved in regulating the crowd wore Personal Protectiive Equipment (PPE) suits, he said.
After the rehearsals, general devotees in limited numbers would be allowed entry, he said. Only 6,000 devotees per day as against the normal rush of over 60,000 would be permitted with COVID-19 precautionary procedures, including six feet distance between each other and wearing of face masks to the holy hills, he said, adding that online ticket sales commenced from Monday.
Of this total, about 3,000 special entry darshan tickets, each priced at Rs 300, would be made available online daily.
The remaining 3,000 would be set apart for off-line allotment for devotees who opt for time-slot free darshan tickets at designated places here, he said. Those above 65 years of age and children below 10 years would not be allowed entry, he said.