The famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala will reopen for devotees from June 11 with all COVID-19 safety measures in place, top temple officials said, adding that only a fixed number of people would be allowed per day per hour and tickets can be bought online.
Online sale of tickets would start from June 8.
However, entry of children below the age of 10, and senior citizens has been disallowed for the time being.
Only 6,000 devotees will be allowed to enter the ancient temple, where normal rush before the global pandemic meant an average of 60,000 people in the premises.
Officials of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which administers the ancient shrine, said some 3,000 daily darshan spots can be reserved online for a price of Rs. 300 per person. For free darshan, devotees can register to get a time slot at designated places, said officials of the cash-rich temple, which reported a loss of over Rs. 500 crore in the 80 days it shut to check the spread of the coronavirus disease.
"Less than 500 people per hour would be permitted entry for 13 hours from dawn to dusk every day," Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Chairman YV Subba Reddy, Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal and Additional Executive Officer AV Dharma Reddy told members of the press.
The Tirupati temple trust has said it would test all safety systems with its own staff and some members of the local public on June 8, ahead of the regular darshan.
Before permitting devotees, the trust also would study devotees' travel history and randomly conduct COVID-19 screening. Those with symptoms such as fever would be quarantined, officials said, adding that everyone will have to wear face mask at all times and maintain a distance of six feet between each other.
All temple trust employees involved in regulating devotees would be wearing full-body personal protection equipment.
As per the new rules under Unlock 1.0, all places of worship, barring those in containment zones, have been allowed to open.
(With inputs from PTI)