Pilgrim rush reached its peak at the famous hill shrine of Tirumala on Saturday. Generally, the pilgrimage see an influx during weekends, but people have been thronging the shrine since last Thursday due to summer vacations across the state.
According to the temple sources, about 55,000 pilgrims had darshan of Lord Venkateshwara by 6 pm on Saturday, and many were waiting in the compartments and queue. Those, reaching the hill through pedestrian pathway, were found to be waiting for Divya Darshan, making a spiralling queue of around one kilometre till Narayanagiri Gardens. For the special entry Darshan, pilgrims were waiting in 6 compartments stretched outside the premise.
Also, pilgrims with Rs 50 tickets, and those seeking free Darshan, had a tough time to wait for the darshan. Kalyana Katta, the centre where tonsuring is done, and all the other 14 sub centres also witness a serpentine queue where people had to wait for at least 4 hours to get their turn. Increasing mercury level added to the woes of waiting pilgrims.
Tirumala joint executive officer KS Srinivasa Raju monitored the arrangements. The temple staff also distributed butter milk and water for waiting pilgrims.
The temple authorities also had to increase the timing of Parakamani staff, those who count donated money.