Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy on Wednesday directed the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to stop the practice of ‘VIP darshan´ and ensure smooth darshan of Lord Venkateswara for common pilgrims.
In a brief review of TTD affairs at the Secretariat in Hyderabad on Wednesday, the Chief Minister asked the TTD Board to take decisions in such a way that it would not affect the religious sentiments of the people.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Endowments Minister Gade Venkata Reddy and TTD chairman D A Adikesavulu Naidu said, “The Chief Minister wanted us to ensure that more pilgrims get a smooth darshan of the Lord in a shorter duration. For this, he wanted the ‘VIP darshan´ strictly restricted.”
Tirumala, abode of Lord Venkateswara, receives on an average 50,000 pilgrims per day and the rush peaks to over one lakh pilgrims during special festivals. With many people opting for VIP darshan, as a shortcut to avoid long hours of waiting, ordinary pilgrims were facing untold hardship in having a smooth darshan of the Lord.
This has invited lot of criticism from various quarters and recently steps have been taken to strictly enforce rules to curb the practice of ‘VIP darshan´.