Tirumala: The devotees of Tirumala Lord Venkateshwara are in for a rude shock this August. The governing body, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board has decided to close the temple for devotees for nine days from August 9 to 17. A decision to this effect was taken today during the board's emergency meeting, wherein it was stated that on August 11 the temple would be performing Ankurarpana and from August 12-16 Astabandhana Balalaya Mahasamprokshanam will be observed.

According to the board members, around 30,000 devotees would be allowed to participate in the Samprokshanam. The Astabandhana Balalaya Mahasamprokshanam, the vedic ritual prescribed in Agamas, is observed once in 12 years. The shrine also observes Ankurarpanam on August 11. Due to this, the temple body has decided to cancel all darshans for the nine days.

It's a special religious fete since 1958 for the longevity of the presiding deity as well as the other parivara deities. Speaking to the media, TTD chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav said that in all these nine days, devotees will not be allowed to Tirumala hills. The decision of TTD has not gone down well with devotees. People have started expressing their anger over board members and TTD officials.

The recent controversies that have surrounded the temple, Lord's jewellery and Head Priest Ramana Deekshitulu have actually turned today's emergency meeting of the board into a very crucial one. Critics smell a rat in the board's decision of closing the temple for nine days and say that the entire exercise was a cover up attempt.

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