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For the first time in history, Venkateswara Temple, located in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, will remain closed for a period of six days. From 6 pm on August 10 to 6 am on August 17 the temple gates will remain closed to the devotees. It is being done because of the sacred ritual, known as Maha Samprokshanam, performed once in every twelve years.
Only the priests who will perform the ritual will be in the temple. The temple being closed for six days at a stretch has never been reported earlier. The reason is that every year a ritual has to be performed in the temple.
A World-famous Site
Venkateswara Temple is a world-famous pilgrimage site, especially for the Hindus. Every year, around 35 million people visit the temple. Because of the large donations, it is one of the richest temples in the world. Sources say that the annual budget quantifies to more than 2530 crores per year.
Over one lakh devotees visit the temple per day. This temple is believed to be one of the eight Swayambhu Kshetras where the deity Lord Vishnu is believed to have manifested on his own. Many great legends describe the manifestation of Lord Venkatesh at Tirumala.
The benefits derived by a pilgrimage to this place have been mentioned in the Rig Veda too. Devotees donate their hair when their wishes are fulfilled by Lord Venkateswara.
The Temple To Be Closed For The First Time
Though this ritual is performed every twelve years, the temple has never been closed to the devotees, especially for such a long time. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam officials have said that in the earlier years when the ritual was performed, the number of visitors was never too high, accounting to around 20,000 -30,000 persons.
However, since now over one lakh people visit the temple, closing the temple seemed vital. It would become very difficult to perform the ritual amidst such a large number of devotees.
Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam Trust
The temple was initially managed by five people but the number of members has increased now to eighteen. This group, known as Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam Trust, is the responsibility of an executive officer appointed by the government of Andhra Pradesh.
So if you were planning a visit around these dates of the month, you will have to postpone the visit. The decision was made by the temple authorities keeping in mind the Vedic rituals that need to be given priority over the devotees' visit as well as to avoid the hardship of the pilgrims.
The Most Visited Pilgrimage Site
The temple is believed to be constructed over a period of time, around 300 AD. Not just the richest, Tirumala Temple is also known as the temple of six hills and is the most visited holy place in the world. While the number of visitors accounts to around 50,000 to 1,00,000 per day, it reaches 5,00,000 during special occasions and annual festivals such as the Brahmotsavam.
The Temple To Close On Lunar Eclipse Day As Well
Other than this, the temple will remain closed on the day of the lunar eclipse as well, which is going to be observed on July 27. While the timings for the eclipse will be 11.54 pm on July 27 to 3.49 am on July 28, the temple gates will remain closed from 5 pm and until 4.14 am the next day.