FAQ: Tirupati to Open for Pilgrims – What Are the New Rules?
So, here’s all you need to know about visiting Tirupati during the coronavirus pandemic.
After being closed for almost three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the famous Sri Venkateswara temple atop the Tirumala hills in Andhra Pradesh is all set to open to the public on Thursday, 11 June.
The shrine will now operate with a new set of rules and SOPs that are required to be followed by the devotees. Here’s all you need to know about visiting Tirupati during the pandemic.
Who will be allowed to enter the Tirupati temple during Unlock 1.0?
- All devotees will have to undergo thermal screening at Alipiri – where the path to the hill temple starts.
- All vehicles will be sanitised at the Alipiri checkpoint.
- Only asymptomatic people will be allowed to proceed.
- Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay home.
- Pilgrims from containment zones will not be allowed to enter.
Is there a restriction on the number of devotees who will be allowed in?
- Only 6,000 devotees will be allowed per day, 500 devotees can do darshan in an hour.
- While 3,000 tickets will be sold online on the TTD website, another 3,000 will be sold over the counter.
What are the timings of the temple?
- Darshan will be allowed from 6:30 am and will end at 7:30 pm during the course of this period.
- VIP darshan will be allowed from 6:30 am to 7:30 am.
I live in another state but want to visit Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. Can I undertake inter-state travel?
The Andhra Pradesh government has not relaxed restrictions on inter-state travel yet. Therefore, you will not be able to enter the state without an e-pass.
Should I undergo quarantine if I get a travel pass to visit Andhra Pradesh?
People coming from high-risk areas in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Chennai will have to undergo a seven-day institutional quarantine, followed by seven days of home quarantine.
Others will have to undergo a 14-day home quarantine.
Can I visit the other shrines in the Tirupati temple complex?
No, you will not be allowed to visit the other shrines within the temple complex.
What are the general precautions that should be taken while visiting the temple?
- It is mandatory for all pilgrims to wear masks at all times.
- No theertham or satari will be provided, in order to avoid contact.
- Devotees will have to sanitise their hands before making an offering in the 'offering box' or 'hundi'.
- Maintain physical distancing of a minimum of six feet at all times when queuing up for entry.
- People should wash their hands and feet with soap and water before entering the premises.
- Seating arrangements to be made in such a way that adequate physical distancing is maintained.
- Devotees are not allowed to touch statues, idols or holy books etc.
What about Tirupati prasadam? Will the temple still give laddu?
While the Centre’s guidelines has said that places of worship should not provide prasadam, there has been no clarity from the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. However, the temple will be selling prasadam at counters inside the temple.
Also, if you are a resident of Andhra Pradesh, you can order the laddu online and collect it from the nearest TTD Centre in the state.
What precautions should be taken by religious places amid the pandemic?
- Devotees have to be provided with hand sanitiser and thermal screening provisions
- Staggering of visitors to be done, whenever possible.
- Any shops, stalls, cafeteria, etc, outside and within the premises shall follow physical distancing norms at all times.
- Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises.
- Preferably separate entry and exits for visitors shall be organised.
- In view of the potential threat of the spread of infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music/songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed.
- Community kitchens/langars/Ann-daan, etc at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.
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