Wisdom dawned upon Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu at last on unprecedented decision of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to close down the famed temple of Lord Venkateshwara on Tirumala for six days in the second week of August in the name of cleansing the temple complex.
The TTD took the decision on Saturday at its board meeting to close the temple from August 11 to 16 to take up “Ashta Bandhana Balalaya Maha Samprokshanam,” a once-in-12 year religious ceremony of cleansing of the temple complex.
The board resolved that during this period there would be no darshan of the Lord and pilgrims would not be allowed to climb up the hills either by foot or by road from August 9 itself to avoid heavy rush on the hills due to consecutive holiday.
The trust board, which mostly comprises the TDP leaders, would not have taken the decision without the consent of Naidu.
Even the devotees would have understood it, had it been conveyed to them convincingly but what kicked up the suspicion among them was the announcement that even CCTV cameras would be closed during the cleansing process.
Since such a practice was never witnessed in the past, it naturally evoked strong criticism from seers and opposition parties.
Swamy Swaroopanandendra Saraswati of Sri Sarada Peetham suspected that there was a big conspiracy behind the closure of the temple for six days.
“As per the Agama rules, devotees can witness the temple cleansing process and have the darshan of the presiding deity. Why didn’t the TTD authorities consult heads of various Hindu mutts and peethams,” he asked.
Known for her sharp tongue, YSR Congress party MLA R K Roja pointed out that the entire exercise was meant for looting the invaluable treasure hidden under the temple complex, as was alleged by retired head priest A V Ramana Deekshitulu.
“Otherwise, why should they switch off CCTV cameras?” she asked.
Naidu came to know that the BJP is trying to make it a big issue at the national level and there would be massive uproar among the Hindus.
So, he had to backtrack and instruct the TTD authorities to allow limited number of devotees during this period without causing any disturbance to the religious ritual, as was done on the previous occasions.