After widespread criticism over its decision to stop darshan during the 6 days of ‘Ashtabandhana Maha Samprokshanam,’ the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) management has finally agreed to allow darshan during the ritual from August 11 to 16. According to reports, the TTD management board has resolved to permit darshan to devotees in a small number and for a limited time.
Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal has reportedly informed that the TTD management has decided to keep aside 31 hours for devotees to have darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. According to approximate calculations, on August 11, the TTD board will have 9 hours for the ritual and 4 to 5 hours on the rest of the days. Singhal also appealed to all for cooperation and understanding.
According to reports, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu had intervened and spoke to TTD officials after its decision to stop darshan during the six-day period drew wide criticism on social media and from devotees all over the world. Even Vedic scholars and former chief priest Ramana Deekshitalu had criticised the move.
On July 14, TTD officials had announced after a meeting that the temple management will stop darshan for devotees from August 11 to 16 for the ritualistic performance of the ‘Ashta Bandhana Maha Samprokshanam’. The ritual is reportedly performed once in every 12 years and it was performed last in 2006. The ritual is scheduled to begin on August 11 with the ‘Ankurarpanam’. During the period, the temple priests hold sacrament rituals along with Shanti Homams.
Singhal has stated that the temple can provide darshan to 15,000 devotees per day during the six-day period. He has also stated that the temple board is open to suggestions from devotees. According to the TTD management, during the same week last year, 5.5 lakh devotees had visited the temple.
The announcement was severely criticised by devotees from all over. The Maha Samprokshanam is a purification ritual performed at the temple once in 12 years and darshan of the Lord Venkateshwara is not allowed during the commencement of the ritual.
After the decision not to close the temple for devotees and allow darshan in a limited capacity, the move has been welcomed by many.