Record turnout at Tirumala
Tirumala , June 12:
Yet in a sort of another record, the footpath leading to the sacred abode of Lord Venkateswara witnessed an unprecedented turnout in the pilgrim crowd during the past two days.
According to rough estimates about 1 lakh pilgrims are learnt to have trekked up the footpath from Alipiri and Sri Vari Mettu and reached the hill town for the darshan of the presiding deity.
Statistics reveal that around 10,000 to 12,000 pilgrims trek the Tirumala footpath on normal days while the number swells up to near ‘double’ during the weekends.
But a staggering number of over 1 lakh pilgrims taking to the footpath in just two days is unheard in the annals of the temple history.
The footpath which buzzed with the pilgrim activity reminded one that of the ‘human stream’ which moved up constantly all round-the-clock.
The fact that over 99,500 pilgrims had the darshan of the presiding deity on Saturday alone besides a staggering number of over 51,500 devotees getting their heads tonsured vividly suggests the ‘intensity’ in the visiting crowd.
The management roped in around 700 barbers including women barbers who worked round-the- clock.
According to the available information, the temple management had facilitated darshan for over 45,000 devotees by 12 noon on Sunday and by the end of the day the number is likely to cross the 1 lakh mark.
In a hurriedly arranged press conference the Tirumala-based TTD Joint Executive Officer K. Srinivasa Raju dwelt at length regarding the arrangements being made by the temple administration to meet the heavy rush.
Mr. Raju also said that the administration has geared itself to meet the rush, which is likely to continue till the re-opening of educational institutions.