In the last two weeks of reopening, Tirupati temple authorities have received cash donations of ₹6 crore. The shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala Hills re-opened its doors to devotees on June 11 after being shut due to the Covid-19 lockdown during which it incurred a loss of ₹500 crore.
The ‘hundi’ (offerings box) collection alone fetched about ₹6 crore in cash as offering while the online sale of ₹300 darshan tickets accounted for ₹1.5 crore during the last 14 days, a temple official told PTI.
Daily offerings made by devotees in ‘Hundi’ is the main source of income for the temple which used to attract 50,000 to one lakh pilgrims every day before the lockdown.
The value of gold, silver and other precious offerings from devotees in the hundi has not yet been ascertained, he said. The highest single-day cash offering in the hundi was ₹67 lakh on June 21 and the lowest ₹37 lakh on June 17, the official said. Observing the lockdown, the entry into the shrine was restricted to 6,000 devotees per day on June 11, he said. The daily footfall was increased from June 20, he said.
Now, about 9,000 devotees, including 6,000 devotees who had ₹300 tickets got online, were being allowed into the shrine daily, he said adding that about 25,000 devotees had got their heads tonsured in the last two weeks.
The temple was re-opened on June 8 but the temple authorities conducted a trial run by permitting only TTD employees and their family members on the first two days and local devotees on the third day. After identifying the loopholes during the trial run and plugging them, the TTD opened the doors of the temple for common devotees.