Just like many other Hindu devotees, I also am a huge devotee of Lord Vishnu. All devotees make it a point to visit the Tirupati Tirumala Temple at least once or twice a year. However, everything was shut down due to the raging coronavirus pandemic, which was like a bolt from the blue. Just like everyone else, I also could not visit Tirumala due to the lockdown. However, pilgrims who are booking their tickets online are now being allowed to worship, with a crowd limit of just 6000 people every day. I had been to Tirumala a few days ago, so this article will shed some light on what my experience was like during the coronavirus pandemic.
Importance of the Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple
Before diving into what my experience was like, here is some information on the famous temple. This Hindu temple is of great religious significance, with about 50000 to 60000 pilgrims visiting every day. This temple is situated in Andhra Pradesh, on the hill town of Tirumala. It is dedicated to a form of Vishnu – Venkateswara. Venkateswara is believed to have appeared here, in Tirumala, to save mankind from the so-called dark age, Kali Yuga. This Tirupati Devasthanam is one of the most revered shrines of India. Apart from the commonly known trivia, there are many other-worldly facts that many people do not know. Like, the fact that the idol of the deity tends to sweat! Or that the idol of Lord Balaji wears real hair. How about this one – one can hear the sound of sea waves near the deity’s image housed in the shrine. This temple is one of the major tourist sights of South India, and the kind of belief and faith that people have for Lord Vishnu is an unimaginable sight.
Measures taken by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to avoid the spread of COVID-19 during darshans
It has been months since this pandemic absorbed everyone into its belly, but nothing seems to change? From recovering to dying of the infectious disease, people are now getting used to the ‘new normal’ and learning to coexist. However, that does not mean that we have won the battle against it. So, what are the measures being taken by TTD to avoid the spread of coronavirus?
- Nobody is allowed to visit the temple without masks and gloves; everyone must wear a mask.
- Children below the age of 10 years and senior citizens above the age of 65 years are not allowed to visit the hill shrine.
- Pregnant women and pilgrims suffering from heart or respiratory diseases have been advised to skip the trip for now.
- A temperature check is conducted before the pilgrims are headed to the shrine.
- Masks and gloves are compulsory for the temple staff.
- Devotees can directly walk into the queue lines and finish their darshans.
- The pilgrims must maintain distance during their darshans.
- A tri-ozone spraying system has been set up at the temple.
Apart from the above points, I realized that my darshan was much more blissful and calm compared to the earlier ones, thanks to the new crowd limit set by TTD. Initially, I was skeptical about my visit to Tirumala, but I can now say without the shadow of a doubt that my visit was safe.
Dos and don’ts if you are going to Tirumala Tirupati during the pandemic
We all learn from our mistakes, but in this case, you can learn from mine and evade making some mistakes that I made. I hope this helps you in one way or another.
- Do not forget to carry a veil with you if you are planning on wearing a kurti salwar suit. I was stopped for not wearing one; I then had to buy it and enter the temple.
- Do not wear jeans or pants; it does not matter if you are male or female.
- Do not forget to carry your identity proof inside the temple.
- Book your accommodation in advance.
- Do not speed up when you are traveling up the hill as it may attract a hefty fine.
- It is not mandatory to wear gloves, but you would rather wear them to ensure safety.
So, these were some tips from my experience. I hope it helps you plan your trip to TTD amid the pandemic!