Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams makes Covid vaccine certificate, test mandatory for devotees
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which is in charge of managing the Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, has made Covid-19 vaccination certificates or negative RT-PCR test results mandatory for all pilgrims, TTD chairperson YV Subba Reddy has said in a statement. The vaccination certificates will only be admissible if the individual has been doubly vaccinated, and RT-PCR tests cannot be more than three days old, he cautioned.
“Devotees coming with online special entry tickets or slotted sarva darshan (SSD) tokens (issued to pilgrims to have free darshan of Lord) should possess either 2-dose vaccination certificate or come with Covid-19 negative test report, which they have taken three days before reporting on the allotted day of the darshan,” Reddy said.
The Tirumala temple remained open throughout the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic but entry was restricted to only those who purchased tickets worth ₹300 for darshan and for VIPs. The SSD, or free darshans, was re-started from September 9, allowing only 2,000 devotees from the Chittoor district.
Tickets for free darshan were being issued from the token counter at Alipiri, the foothills of Tirumala, but the administration pivoted to an online ticketing system fearing crowds near the counter might lead to a spread of Covid-19.
Andhra Pradesh reported 1,171 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the total tally of cases to 2,043,244. To date, 14,108 fatalities have been recorded in the state, with 11 deaths being reported in the last 24 hours.