Hyderabad, Aug 19 (IANS) — The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the temple, plans to launch the service to enable devotees from any part of the country to book their place in the queue for a darshan, or glimpse, of Lord Venkateswara.
TTD authorities are hopeful that online booking would be available for the Brahmotsavams, the annual rituals beginning next month.
The project has been developed by Reliance at a cost of Rs.100 million. The software for the proposed online booking system has already been developed and the work to lay cables is in full swing.
The first phase would cover important towns in Andhra Pradesh and southern cities like Chennai and Bangalore. It would then be extended to other major cities in the country.
The facility is expected to help the 50,000 odd pilgrims who visit the temple on Tirumala Hills every day.
It would not only save the devotees from the ordeal of a long wait but would also prevent unnecessary crowding. Thousands of devotees arrive in the temple town but have to wait for hours and even days for a darshan.
Once the booking goes online, devotees would be able to plan their trip according to the date and time allotted to them.
TTD authorities are also hopeful that the move would reduce the burden on its systems and preserve the serenity of the temple and its environs.
Online booking would also be available for accommodation and other pilgrim services.
The system would encompass integrated information system and biometrics. Each devotee making an online booking would have his or her photograph and fingerprint digitally transmitted to the entry point of the complex.
If the particulars don’t tally, the ticket holder would not be allowed to enter.
These days, the temple is witnessing an unprecedented rush. Thousands of pilgrims, who participated in a 12-day ritual in the Godavari river have thronged the temple.
Moreover, people have also started gathering for the Brahmotsavam ritual beginning on September 27.
The temple, one of the country’s richest, netted a record offering of Rs.12.5 million on Friday and Saturday last. It earns Rs.5 billion annually through the daily offerings.
The temple, whose annual plan allocation for the current financial year has been fixed at Rs.6.17 billion, is also famous for its largest kitchen and the huge income generated from the auction of human hair. Every devotee has to get his head shaved for the rituals.
The ancient temple is located at Tirumala, which has seven hills and is one of the important pilgrim centres in India.
© Copyright 2003 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi. Posted on Religioscope with permission.