In his address CMD of Vizag Port and former TTD EO, Sri Ajeya Kallam said, TTD has been making strenuous efforts to over come the hurdles in front of it in terms of space and time to provide hassle free darshan to pilgrims from time to time.


The former EO has made some though provoking suggestions to overcome the challenges before TTD in order to provide hassle free darshan to pilgrims. He felt that the Vedic scholars and Agama pundits should also consider the rising pilgrim demand and allow the temple administration to make some amendments in the temple structure, without disturbing or violating the roots of Agama shastras.


“Along with time and space restrictions, we have the Agama restrictions also as we cannot violate the shastras. But the meaning of “Sampradaya” implies bringing changes as per our convenience without disturbing the custom. Unless Sri Ramanujacharya had not brought amendments in temple traditions and customs in the 10th century, today we will be void of all those temple rituals. Then the people also accepted and welcomed those changes. I reiterate that there is need to change Sampradayams according to changing time and requirements without disturbing its roots. Many may fear or believe that by doing this will anger the Lord and may lead to some evil incidents. But never forget that Lord is an embodiment of love and affection and he will never get angry when we are doing it for the good cause”, he maintained.


Mr.Kallam felt, Today there is need to think in a broader way in this perspective whether we can go for additional entrances (Netra Dwarams) in side the temple to avoid pilgrim congestion inside sanctum sanctorum or to shift arjitha sevas and perform them in the Kalyanamantapam outside the sanctum or perform them in Ekantha or to install electronic devices like a conveyor belt or a moving plat form, or to restrict the pilgrim number per day to 60-70thousands alone to have a better darshan. If we are restricting the pilgrims, then Tirupati should be necessarily made a pilgrim hub, as we cannot make holy hills a concrete jungle with further constructions and pollute the ecology”, he expressed.


Addressing the session, the chairman of Management committee of Sri Chilakur Balaji Venkateswara Swamy temple Sri MV Soundarrajan said, it is a welcoming gesture by TTD to convene the seminar on darshan modalities and how best the same facilities could be improved for the sake of common devotees and to disseminate to them the inherent tradeoffs involved for a good darshan and time taken for a good darshan. “TTD under the Specified Authority has brought revolutionary pro-pilgrim changes including reduction in VIP darshan time slot, commencing spiritual programmes like Nitya Veda Parayanam and Nada Neerajanam and telecasting them on SVBC channel.


He emphasized that Darshan means “Not the Pilgrim looking at Lord but Lord looking at Pilgrim”. If TTD could able to penetrate or propagate this slogan in the public, then the issue of crowd management or hassle free darshan could be minimised. Sri Soundarrajan expressed that modifications in temple structures will not solve the problem and suggested TTD to take initiative in developing or assisting Venkateswara temples across the state rather than going for the construction of Kalyana Mantapams. “Since many temples are in dilapidated condition, it has increased pilgrim influx to Tirumala in the last few decades. If TTD could fund for renovating other temples, it will relatively reduce the pilgrim crowd to hill temple”, he added.


The Chilakur temple Management committee chairman also felt that inculcating Dharmic values among the waiting pilgrims in compartments by making them to chant the Govinda Namas with the help of pundits, so that the frustration levels of the pilgrims in spite of long waiting hours for darshan could be controlled. He felt the mutts in Tirumala should play a vital role in the propagation of dharma and the Archakas of Tirumala should be trained to attain proficiency in vedic interpretations, Agamas, Puranams etc.


In his address IDES secretary, AP information commission and former special officer of TTD Sri AV Dharma Reddy said TTD has been sincere efforts from time to time to provide hassle free darshan to devotees. “The pilgrim crowd has enormously increased in the last five years and today on an average nearly 68,000 pilgrims are having darshan of Lord. About 50days during September last to 2010 September has recorded a maximum of over 90-1lakh pilgrims with the highest being 1.28lakhs on a single which was a record so far in the temple history. During that time, it becomes a difficult task for the officials and staff of TTD to manage the pilgrim who have already reached intolerable level due to long waiting hours in queue lines if it exceeds over five hours. This has forced us to impose Maha Laghu Darshan”, he maintained.


Mr.Reddy also supported former EO Ajeya Kallam’s opinion of bringing modifications in the temple structure to enable hassle free darshan and requested the Agama scholars to think in to the issue. He also suggested for a conveyor belt inside the temple.


TTD EO Sri IYR Krishna Rao who chaired the session in his address said that pristine glory of the temple need to be preserved as they are the identity of our rich heritage and culture. “Tomorrow the pilgrim rush may increase from one lakh to two lakhs and even five lakhs in the next five year. We cannot go on modifying the temple structure to accommodate pilgrims. If some structural changes can accommodate additional pilgrims now and if the pilgrims rush further increases tomorrow are we going to modify the structures at a later date? The issues of the temples structures are as important as Agamas. But we could think of renovating Sri Venkateswara temples at different places and perform pujas on the lines of Tirumala temple even at Appalayagunta and Srinivasa Mangapuram temples also so that the pilgrims prefer to go to these shrines also”, he added.