Tirumala: More than a lakh devotees thronged the holy hill shrine of Tirumala on Saturday to have the ‘Uttara Dwara Darshan’ of Lord Venkateswara on the occasion of auspicious Vaikunta Ekadasi.
Devotees had queued up for darshan since Friday night. By the end of the day around 72,000 devotees had Uttara Dwara Darshan of Lord Venkateswara and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) will be facilitating Uttara Dwara Darshan for another nine days.
VIPs and VVIPS, who had darshan of the Lord were around 4,800 including 18 ministers from Andhra Pradesh and seven ministers from Telangana. MLAs, MLCs, MPs, and prominent leaders from political parties including YSRC, TDP, BRS, BJP and others had darshan, besides 62 judges, and former Chief Justice of India NV Ramana.
According to TTD officials, Uttara Dwaram in the temple was opened at around 1 a.m. and VIPs and VVIPs were facilitated darshan before the commencement of special and sarva darshanams from 5:15 a.m.
TTD Chairman Bhumana Karunakara Reddy said in connection with the auspicious Vaikunta Ekadasi festive day, devotees had a satisfactory Vaikuntadwara Darshan for which TTD had made elaborate arrangements.
Speaking to the media in front of Srivari temple, the Chairman greeted devotees and said devotees had comfortable Vaikuntadwara Darshan and blessings of Sri Venkateswara without any hassle on the holy day.
TTD EO AV Dharma Reddy said the Vaikuntadwara Sarva Darshan began 45 minutes ahead of schedule at 5.15 am and as per time slots the special Darshan and Sarva Darshan devotees were allowed for Srivari Darshan.
He said Anna Prasadam, coffee and tea were provided to devotees.
In all 8 lakh devotees are expected to be given Darshan including the special entry Darshan, Sarva Darshan and others during these ten days of Vaikuntadwara Darshan festivities at Tirumala.
TTD had also released 2.25 lakh special darshan and another 20,000 SRIVANI Tickets.
During these 10 days privileged darshan has been cancelled, besides all Arjita Sevas lke Kalyanotava, Unjali Sava and Arjita Brhamotvas. They will be performed in Ekantam to Lord Venkateswara.
In the afternoon, processional deity Sri Malayappa Swamy along with His Consorts was taken out on Swarna Ratham in procession along the Four Mada Streets. Lord and His Consorts riding Swarna Ratham blessed the sea of devotees who thronged Tirumala.