Tirupati: A six-day Vedic ritual, held once in 12 years, concluded at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at nearby Tirumala.
Around 40 high priests took part in the “Astabandhana Balalaya Maha Samprokshanam, during which they plugged minor cracks and holes inside the sanctum sanctorum of the 2000-year old shrine using a herbal paste harder than concrete mix, amid chanting of hymns, a temple official said.
The ritual began on the night of 11 August and as part of it priests also performed ‘homams‘ in 28 ‘homa gundams‘ (fire altars), each one dedicated to a deity, built inside the temple complex for the purpose.
During the six days of the ritual, the number of devotees allowed into the temple was drastically reduced, and only 1.6 lakh had darshan of the presiding deity during the period when priests took breaks.
Consequently, the collection in the ‘hundi‘ (offering box) also dipped considerably, the official told PTI. The hundi collections registered a record low of Rs 54 lakh on Wednesday, he said.