Vishakhapatnam: On the occasion of Chandanotsavam, expecting a footfall of around 2 lakh devotees at the Simhachalam Temple (Sri Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy Vari Devasthanam), authorities have deployed around 2,500 police personnel, including Octopus, in the Andhra Pradesh’s Vishakhapatnam on Tuesday for ensuring easy ‘darshan’ of the deity to the devotees.
Chandanotsavam is the only day when the devotees can have a real ‘darshan’ of the lord, as, throughout the year, he remains covered with Sandalwood. Hence devotees from neighbouring places like Odisha and Chhattisgarh also throng the temple.
According to the District Collector A Mallikarjuna, around 2 lakh (2,00,000) devotees are expected to visit the temple for its biggest annual festival- Chandanotsavam.
To ensure smooth darshan, all the departments have collectively made arrangements in coordination for the festival.
Speaking about the elaborate arrangements made by the government Mallikarjuna told ANI that the administration has made arrangements with separate queues for the devotees, each having ‘darshan’ tickets worth Rs 1,000, 1,200, and 1,500.
The ticket price is Rs 1,500 only for the VVIPs including MLAs, MLCs, and MPs, while the tickets costing Rs 300 have also been issued for the general devotees.
All the queues of devotees will be merged in the later hours.
“Steps have been taken to enable 4,800 devotees (including VVIP, VIP and General Devotees) to have darshan of the deity in an hour,” Mallikarjuna told ANI.
“Around 2,500 police personnel, including Octopus, have been deployed for security arrangements, law and order, crime and traffic maintenance,” said Srikanth, Commissioner of Police, Visakhapatnam.
There has been allotted a special parking place for the traffic.
“Devasthanam and Road Transport Corporation (RTC) buses have been arranged for ferrying devotees from the foothills to the hilltop and adequate parking has been provided for vehicles. Vehicle passes have been issued by the temple authorities to designated VIPs because of the limited (parking) space available at the uphill,” the commissioner added.
The Andhra Pradesh Public Transport Department of Visakhapatnam district will operate special buses for Chandanotsavam from different parts of the city, including the neighbouring Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Anakapalli.
“The VIPs will be arriving as close as the downhills, from where they can be carried to the temple via AC buses. Each AC bus can carry 30-40 devotees and take around 30 minutes to commute,” he said.