Tirupati: A pilgrim Jayamma(67) from Bengaluru died while she was trekking to Tirumala on July 11 and another pilgrim Chinta Chinna Bhadraiah(45), a native of Sattenapalli in Guntur district died of cardiac arrest on August 4 this year, walking the Srivari Mettu trail. These two incidents reveal how pilgrims are risking their lives and coming to the Shrine for fulfilling their vows to the Lord, notwithstanding their health condition and physical limitations.
Both the walking trails leading to Tirumala, Alipiri and Srivari Mettu, have been witnessing such deaths and the number of deaths has been steadily increasing. After the TTD began providing ‘quick darshan facility’ to those arriving at the Shrine on foot through the Alipiri and Srivari Mettu pedestrian paths, there has been a tremendous increase in number of pilgrims using the walking trail. As a result, these paths have also begun witnessing a sharp increase in number of sudden deaths.
While between 10,000 to 20,000 pilgrims are said to be using the two paths during normal days, the number has been said to cross 30,000 during weekends and special occasions and even crossing 50,000 on Garudotsavam day and Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Either aspiring for a quick darshan of the Lord or to fulfil their vows to the Lord by trekking the Shrine, many of the pilgrims are making their journey on foot with utter disregard to their physical preparedness.
Expressing concern over the increasing number of deaths at the Lord’s footsteps, TTD joint executive officer (Tirumala) KS Srinivasa Raju, has appealed to pilgrims, suffering from blood pressure, heart and other ailments not to take such risks by trekking to the Shrine. He wanted pilgrims to be aware of their health conditions.
Meanwhile, speaking to Express, TTD chief medical officer Kumaraswamy said that the TTD were deploying medical staff on the footpath to attend any eventuality.