Tirumala, 21 September 2015 : The devotees came like bees. They came in hordes by walk, by buses and also private vehicles. They came responding to the divine calling of Lord Venkateswara. They were not seeking rooms,or any other privileges but just Lords darshan on the Mada Streets.Their chanting of Govinda Namam resounded in the hillocks.

They were not deterred by the thunder showers that rocked the Tirumala hill shrine two hours before the commencement of the mega devotional show of Garuda Seva. The TTD authorities were not surprised that the devotees did not run away from the open galleries when rains struck,but devotees remained in their seats even pouring showers. ‘Devotees would not stir an inch till they had darshan”said the TTD EO Dr.D.Sambashiv Rao who made a surprise inspection and ordered hot beverages and snacks to be supplied to the semi drenched devotees on the Mada streets.

As the Garuda vahanam carrying utsava deities the Lord Malayappa was lifted from Vahanam mantapam at sharp eight PM last night, hysteric crescendo of Govinda, Govinda rented the air. The most pious and elderly devotees almost fainted at the sight of the dazzling and jwelery decked vahanam made presence on huge LED screens across the Mada streets.’ I will never forget this sight for rest of my life’ said a 70 year old Parvatamma who had come all the way from Nellore and stayed put at North mada street corner for Lords arrival.

They were not bothered by the pushing and hustle bustle of the VIP movements or the restrictions of the police on the day. They strode on relentlessly for a long wait till night hours when they could have darshan of Lord Venkateswara on the Mada street,which was colorfully and brightly lit and decorated up as a open air amphitheater of spiritualism to imbibe devotional quotient among the devotees at Tirumala.

Speaking to TTD. News at the vahana mandapam minutes before the commencement of the vahanam the chief priest of TTD Dr.AV Ramana Dikshitulu said ‘witnessing the tastefully decorated Lord on Garuda Vahanam is life time achievement and all the sins will be redeemed with that vision of Lord Venkateswara’. Perhaps in belief of this sentiment that lakhs come to Tirumala on the Garuda seva day and seek the blessings of Lord.

On the Garuda seva day, there was not a single inch of land empty on the hill shrine of Tirumala spread over three sq.kms. Not a single parking lot, was free, not a single chair available in shopping malls, hotels, tea stalls, eateries and even in the tonsuring halls- Kalyana Katta. From morning on wards the devotees were swarming over to Tirumala.

The TTD had made massive arrangements to ensure that the common devotees were not put to any hardships.The drive of the authorities to not leave any backlogs in days darshan crowds had paid dividends.’ Crowds that enter the queue complex in a day should be given darshan same day at any cost,and should not be kept for next day’, the TTD EO had ruled.

In a special treat for the long waiting devotees at Four mada streets on Garuda Seva day the Hindu Dharma Prachara Parishad organized large number of cultural activities with dancers, folk artists, bhajan teams and also expert commentators. ‘This time the commentators physically walked around the four mada streets and spoke eloquently on what they saw and their commentaries were closer to the devotees in both language and content ‘says Sri. Prayaga Ramakrishna, Secretary of HDPP.