Tirumala wows foreigners

published on October 30, 2012

“Nowhere in the world have I seen such a huge congregation of pilgrims on a daily basis to worship the god,” said Simona of Lazio in Italy. Simona is a chemist and danseuse. She gushes further, “I am also amazed by the ease with which free accommodation, food and darshan are provided at the hill temple.”


 While her words must be music to the ears of the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) mandarins who also face flak from common pilgrims visiting the temple, hundreds of foreigners, however, were all praise for the temple management for ensuing a hassle-free darshan during the nine-day Brahmotsavams that concluded on Tuesday.


 More than a dozen Russians visited the Srivari temple on Sunday and Monday alongside half a dozen Italians who waited in the regular queues of Sarva darshan and also Pratyeka darshan on Monday and Tuesday. “This was my ninth visit to the temple and I feel enlightened by the glory of Lord Venkateswara,” said Sabrina D’ Costa, who led the team of five Italians.


 Katherine, a teacher from Lazio, says the divinity of Lord Venkateswara has to be seen to be believed. Sebastian D’ Castello, an Italian leather merchant, said that faith is a great social changer. “I realise why there is such diversity (unity) in India though it is made up of varied cultures and people,” he said.

Simona and Katherine are among thousands of foreign devotees and believers in Hinduism who frequent Tirumala every year to worship the Lord. “We have been receiving devotees from countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Britain and Sri Lanka regularly,” said a senior Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) official. He said they allow the foreigners for darshan of the Lord after obtaining a due declaration from them about their faith in Hinduism.

 A 15-member Russian team which visited the temple included industrial workers, school teachers and dancers. “We have welcomed people from other faiths and beliefs to enter the temple of Lord Venkateswara if they express faith and devotion in the presiding deity,” B Shivaji, superintendent of the temple at Padi Kavali, said.

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