Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall in line, Please

or  Queue please....... that's what I was yelling  when I went  around the labyrinth to see the world's most visited and second richest god in the world......... but........ who's to listen?......... It fell on deaf ears.

With a free ticket, i thought i had direct darshan to see the god and so after refreshing ourselves we went in search of the Vaikuntam -2 gate through which we 'Divya darshan' ticket holders had to get into the labyrinth.
We went around the temple in search of the gate and easily passed a few metres after depositing our cell phones and chappals and finally reached the queue  only to be seated in an enclosure. We were allowed to rest in this place till the previous entrants  had their darshan.

 Suddenly when the enclosure was opened, like a broken dam  the fitter and impatient devotees started rushing out of the door like  water gushing out of a broken dam using all the heptathlon events. From then on it was a nightmare, they  were crushing or elbowing elders/children  whoever came in their path, while some were jostling for space. It was a tough time for senior citizens and devotees with children. Some had placed their kids  over their shoulders and some on their waist, while some children were sandwiched between elders and gasping for breath.

All cries for help and some patience only fell on deaf ears. The irony was when the security guards and policemen stood like statues or 'Golu bommais'.  When I told one of the security guards to control the crowd, he was totally expressionless and standing  motionless. It was disastrous. Thankfully there was no stampede since there was no space for anybody to fall.

This continued inside the temple until the sanctum and finally we had a peek of the god, again a huge rush to come out of the temple.

After the darshan it was another ordeal to find your cellphone counter and  your chappal counter and  the laddu counter. All these places, you are to stand in a queue where some smart people think it is their privilege to jump the queue and those who are standing in the q are jobless.

It is painful to recollect these things when you go to have a peaceful darshan of god.

On the flipside the same fortnight I had a chance to stand in the US consulate queue,where the queue was streaming out like a well oiled machine.

The elders and those with children had a separate  queue and great care was taken by the security guards to screen the people.  With a smile on their face, they were so helpful and courteous. After the whole exercise, when we were on our way back home , we suddenly received a call from the consulate telling that my daughter had not given her thumb expression( she was 14  going to be 15, hence the confusion). When she and my husband went back her name was called from one entry point  to the other entry point  till she reached inside without any difficulty.

Both the places were manned by Indians and the crowd in both the places were Indians, then where was the difference?

I wish they used the riches to educate( with flyers on behaviour and conduct code) and organise the crowd, then it would be a pleasure for all senior citizens, kids and their parents to visit Tirumala.


  1. I guess the sizes of both the queues cant be compared. and people are normally well behaved when they want a visa :-)But yeah, the temple queue is maddening- a disaster waiting to happen.

  2. The security personnel and volunteers match the size of the queue, infact due to t-bandh there were'nt many pilgrims but yes you are right about the people regarding their behaviour :)

    If the pilgrims show some patience and the volunteers and security showed some responsibility the darshan would be a pleasant experience for all.

  3. Hey, I know what you mean. The thing is, people are more intelligent than we give them credit for.

    In places of worship, some people who think they are too smart for their own boots make it a point to get ahead of others no matter what. They can fool others but they cant fool that one person they are seeking to impress - God.

    The other thing is, temple administrators will not bother to 'educate' people because they think that a rush to a temple gives a greater impression of the temple deity's power, which is not really the case.

    That is one of the things that I love about the Shirdi temples. The queues are like really really long but people from all walks of life behave with integrity and don't make these over smarket, toppling and stamping over others kind of conduct. However, in the real temple in Shirdi, there are stampedes because no one really monitors the huge crowds that assemble.

  4. I got stuck like this thrice before once in srisailam when my whole family including my 6 year old niece got lost, once at kapali koil when my son got lost and another instance was at coorg talacauvery during tulasankramana time. This was the worst.

    What i meant to say during all these times, it is difficult to connect with god, when you have such a bad experience, all that stays in your memory is the queue than the god:) which can be best avoided by the authorities since they have the required power and infrastructure.

  5. We don't visit temples at all. When you are in such a crowd you can hardly remember what you have come there for, and God is there right within us why go to places to visit him. Now a days all temples have such a crowd, with waiting period anywhere between 2- 6 hours, it is definitely not worth the effort.
    However, there are still people wanting to have a darshan at any cost. When i was very young I used to have this feeling that i must visit some temple, but for the last 25 years or so, I never make it a point to visit temples, crowded or not crowded.