Temple officials have taken back the decision to completely shut Tirumala Temple in Tirupati for six days in August in the face of pressure against the move. Now, pilgrims visting the temple between August 11 and August 12 would be allowed in small batches.
The decision to completely shut the temple for Maha Samproksham - a religious ceremony to clean the entire temple complex - had been taken at an emergency meeting of the trust board of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). It was to be the first time a complete closure of the complex. Reports suggest though that there were voices raised against the decision with even Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu urging TTD to have a re-think.
Feedback taken from various sections eventually resulted in officials opting to permit entry to devotees in small batches instead of not at all. Earlier, they had said that because the number of devotees have risen in last several years, managing them as well as conducting Maha Samproksham - which happens once every 12 years - won't be easy. "This is for the first time in the history of the TTD that the temple will be shut for pilgrims for six days for taking up the temple cleansing," a member of the trust board had said. "On the previous occasion, when a similar ceremony was held 12 years ago, the temple remained open for restricted hours because there was not so much rush those days. Now, the average daily footfall has crossed one lakh."