Thursday, 16 August 2012
More About Tirupati - Lots of Bouquets, few humble suggestions and One brick bat for the TTD board
At the outset, I want to make it clear that I returned home a happier person after the visit to Tirumala which could not have been possible without the excellent efforts of the TTD. Whatever humble suggestions I have are only to marginally improve the facilities which they may consider as I am posting them as letter to TTD also. Firstly the Bouquets:-
1. Accommodation. There was absolutely no corruption whatsoever in room allotment when booked online. The use of simple but efficient & effective technology to achieve the same is praise worthy.
2. Special entries. The various special entries provided shows that the devasthanam cares for its people and is sensitive to their different needs, with they specifically being:-
(a) Supadham entry. This entry is for children less than one year old (along with mother n father
only they dont permit two gents or two ladies in lieu), Defence personnel, TTD employees, NRI's and
Newly Weds. Like I mentioned earlier, it was nice of TTD board to extend this facility to these categories
especially the Defence as they are guarding our country's borders and therefore may have limited time.
(b) Senior Citizens. As already mentioned there is a fair amount of pushing and pulling in the crowd which may be unsafe for senior citizens to undergo for about 6 hours in the line. Therefore, Senior citizens have a seperate entry directly into the temple which may take them upto 30 -60 minutes for Darshan.
(c) Handycapped. They have an entry similar to Senior citizens.
(d) Pedestrian Entry. A particularly thoughtful entry for people who climb up the steps to reach Tirumala. Again Technology is used here where a token is issued mid way to the pedestrians bearing their photograph which is used as a pass for entry into through this special gate.
3. Free/Subsidised accommodation. Fully free change/rest rooms are provided at Tirupati and Free waiting areas are provided at Tirumala. Subsidised accommodation starting from Rs/-50 per day are available for the economically weaker to make use of.
4. Free Food. Food is provided free of cost as 'Anna Danam' to all the devotees. It is reported that an average of 30-40,000 people are fed daily.
5. Free 'Mundan'. For those who cant afford to pay, free 'Mundan' service is also provided which ofcourse takes a longer time.
6. Free Bus service. Continuous bus service upto midnight is available free of cost from locations to/from the temple.
7. Rates of food served in the private restaurants. They are well regulated to remain in economical limits.
8. Greenery and upkeep. The Greenery and upkeep of the roads enroute the temple was praise worthy.
FEW HUMBLE SUGGESTIONS
1. Restaurants. A few more restaurants could be opened to deal with the heavy rush during peak hours. One/Two restaurants similar to the one run by APTDC in srinivasa complex at Tirupati could be planned as the quality and the price were good.
2. The Start point of Queue's. I have seen several people searching for the start point of the various Queue's VIZ Dharma darsanam, Rs/- 50 ticket and the Rs/-300 tickets. TTD may consider a few sign boards.
LASTLY ONE BRICK BAT
There is only one but it needs to be mentioned as it is a very important one i.e Sanitation. The cleanliness of the Toilets leaves much to be desired. This is one aspect on which TTD should spend a lot of money (without wanting any returns) in employing staff and equipment to make sure that devotees especially women have access to clean and hygienic toilets both in the long queue's as well ouside in Tirumala.
All in all, I could see that the TTD is doing its best to uphold the Hindu values and instill the same in all the visiting devotees. In addition they are trying to sustain the poor people making this pilgrimage by providing subsidised accommodation and free food which is a noble gesture. They also as I understand provide subsidised education in the various universities/colleges established by them. I hope and pray to Lord Balaji that the focus at the TTD remains on these aspects only in the years to come and not give rise to any controversies.
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