Last week, the temple had – for the first time ever – announced that they were shutting their doors to devotees in order to perform a vedic ritual.

After uproar Tirupati Tirumala temple reconsiders decision to shut doors for 6 daysImage:PTI
news Controversy Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 19:00

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) in Andhra Pradesh had announced last week that they will be shutting their doors to devotees for six days in August. The announcement – a first in the temple’s history – was met with shock and criticism from some quarters. And in the face of a brewing controversy, the temple on Tuesday reconsidered this decision.

TTD officials had announced on Sunday that they will be performing the six-day 'Ashta Bandhana Balalaya Maha Samprokshanam' ritual from August 11 to 16 this year. The decision was announced after the officials held an emergency meeting on Saturday; they claimed that the ritual will mean devotees will not have enough time for darshans.

But on Tuesday, reconsideringthis decision, TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal, along with Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav told the media that CM Chandrababu Naidu has asked them to review the decision, so as to avoid hurting the sentiments of devotees.

“As per that direction, TTD will take opinion from devotees. We also have a trustees meeting on July 24, where we will take a decision on how to accommodate the darshans in the little time that is available during the ritual,” Anil Kumar said.

He explained that during the days of the ritual – that is, between August 11 and 16 – the temple can allow darshans for only 30 hours; which means, that they can accommodate around 15,000 devotees per day for the six days – which is less than 1 lakh devotees during this period.

Earlier, TTD Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav had said, “Our past history speaks that during the second week of August last, over 5.5 lakh pilgrims visited the hill temple.”

The officials added that the decision to shut the temple was taken only in order to not inconvenience devotees.

The decision comes in the wake of criticism from YSRCP MLA RK Roja, who questioned the TTD’s decision to not record the ritual. She asked the TTD to reveal who the decision came from – CM Chandrababu Naidu or TTD Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav.

This follows an earlier claim by YSRCP MP V Vijayasai Reddy that the ornaments missing from the temple were stored at the residences of CM Chandrababu Naidu.

The Ashta Bandhana ritual is said to have been performed in 2006 as well but without any restriction on the entry of the devotees; they were allowed for limited hours.

On July 24 TTD is likely to announce the revised darshan schedule for ritual-bound six days.

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