Mahasamprokshanam of Lord Venkateswara temple on

File photo of Thirumala temple

Chennai: The maha samprokshanam (consecration) of the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala is in progress right now.

The ritual is being conducted after 12 years in the temple.

According to reports, yaga salai poojas were completed today and the samprokshanam ritual  began at 10.16 this morning. It will conclude by 12 noon.

The Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams had imposed a ban on free darshan and special darshan for people who climb up the seven hills. Devotees’ entry into the temple has been severely restricted.

This had led to an outcry from the public and the temple gave in a little. But as entry is strictly controlled, hundi collection has dipped. In fact, the news is hitting headlines for the past couple of days.

Today, daily hundi collections hit a record low of Rs 54 lakh against the usual Rs 3 crore  due to curbs on devotees’ entry for the six-day ritual, a report quoting a temple official, said.

“The hundi (offering box) daily gets cash offerings of Rs 3 crore or more, besides gold and other offerings. The income saw an unprecedented dip due to restrictions on entry of devotees on account of the ritual,” the official of Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams, told PTI.

Earlier, on 12 August, the second day of the ritual, the hundi had netted a low of Rs 73 lakh, he said.

The ‘astabandhana balalaya maha samprokshanam‘ ceremony is conducted by the high priests by undertaking minor structural repairs with herbal paste harder than concrete mix, amid chanting of vedic hymns.

In view of this, TTD had resolved to allow less than 30,000 devotees daily during the ritual, to be regulated during the few hours when the priests temporarily halt their work, he said.

During the mid-August period, usually about one lakh pilgrims visit the temple which usuallyattracts devotees from across the country all through the year.