(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, was caught in a massive flood of unprecedented scale on Thursday, leaving hundreds of pilgrims stranded even as a heavy downpour under the influence of a depression in Bay of Bengal battered the temple-town Tirupati and many parts of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh.
The four ‘maada streets’ adjoining the main temple on Tirumala Hills, remained flooded, as was the Vaikuntham queue complex (cellar). Darshan of the God was virtually stalled as pilgrims could not venture out because of the inundation.
The Japali Anjaneya Swamy temple on Tirumala was inundated and idol of the God submerged.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams officials made arrangement for free food and accommodation for the pilgrims stranded on the holy hills.
TTD Executive Officer K S Jawahar Reddy declared a holiday on Friday for the office staff in view of the situation.
The two ghat roads leading to the Tirumala Hills were closed for traffic following the flood and landslides, official sources said. The pedestrian stairway leading to the temple from Alipiri was also closed down, they said.
The Tirupati International Airport at Renigunta also remained inundated, forcing the authorities to stop landing of incoming aircraft.