The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which governs affairs at the Lord Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, has now done away with List 1, List 2 and List 3 VIP darshans.
The announcement was made by TTD Trust Board chairman YV Subba Reddy on Tuesday, who said that the three category darshans would be abolished and be replaced with another system soon. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is presently being heard on the same issue.
"In the coming days, we will ensure that every devotee who comes here, will be able to get a 'darshan' of the diety. I have already spoken to the EO and JEO. When the matter has reached the court, it means that people want this and we will listen to them. In the next two to three days, we will announce the new protocol system for VIPs," Subba Reddy told reporters.
The system of giving ticketed entry to some VIPs so that they can skip the queues and the crowd has led to long-standing accusations from the devotees of discrimination.
The L1 list is for VVIP officials like judges, higher cadre officials in government organisations and sitting ministers. The L2 is for TTD employees, their family members and lower level of officials and government representatives. Those applying to the L3 layer can gain VIP access through recommendation letters obtained from sitting MPs, legislators, higher cadre officials and TTD employees.
The TTD chairman said there would still be a provision for visiting dignitaries but the practice of segregating devotees based on lists will be stopped.
Believed to have been constructed over a period starting 300 AD, the temple attracts 50,000 to one lakh pilgrims every day. The number on special occasions like the annual Brahmotsavam and festivals goes up to 4-5 lakh.
During 2019-20, the TTD expects an overall revenue of about Rs 3,116 crore including Rs 1,231 crore from offerings and Rs 846 crore from interest on deposits in nationalized and private banks.