With the Covid-19 situation subsiding in the city, the Andhra Pradesh Endowments Department, in Vizag, has decided to restart free darshan at temples for the public. Due to the Covid-19 second wave, the temples in the city were closed, in the months of May and June, when a number of temple staff tested positive. Afterwards, restrictions were put in place, allowing darshan to only a limited number of devotees. People had to get tickets online in order to take darshan or had to perform Arjita darshan online. Last month, the annual Giri Pradakshina at the Simhachalam Temple had to be cancelled.
This month, temples in Visakhapatnam, especially the Simhachalam Temple, have witnessed a heavy rush with Sravana Masam happening. Also, TTD’s Venkateswara Temple is expected to open to the public sometime this month. Due to this, the Endowments Department reviewed the temple darshan timings and services and also got an update from the Health Department about the Covid-19 situation. Then, they decided to permit free darshan again for all temples in the state, including Vizag.
However, the number of devotees at each temple will still be limited. Devotees will be provided with tokens when they come for free darshan. The Endowments Department is also thinking of giving tokens for free darshan online to devotees.
Andhra Pradesh Endowments Minister, Vellampalli Srinivas, revealed to TOI that the department has received a lot of requests from devotees to allow free darshan at temples. Then, he observed that the Covid-19 positivity rate is under 2 percent and hence, took the decision to allow free darshan. The Endowments Minister further mentioned that the queue lines at the temples will be sanitised every hour and visitors will have to strictly follow Covid-19 norms while taking darshan.