A devotee prays outside the main temple area of the Tirupati's iconic Venkateswara Temple | Manisha Mondal
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Tirupati: The Venkateswara temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh opened to the public this week after almost 80 days. The temple was shut in late March because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

Since the number of Covid cases in India is on the rise, strict social distancing rules have been put in place, along with temperature checks.

Fewer staff members are currently on the temple premises and there is a cap on the number of visitors being allowed. While the temple earlier saw anything between 75,000 and 90,000 devotees daily, there are only about 6,000 now.

Government guidelines to ease the lockdown allowed reopening of religious places from 8 June. The Tirupati temple was opened for employees on 8 June and local devotees on 10 June.

ThePrint’s photojournalist Manisha Mondal visited Tirupati Thursday to see how devotees and temple authorities were adjusting to the new norms.

Barbers in PPE overalls wait for devotees who wish to offer their hair to the deity. Shaving one’s head at the temple is a common practice | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A devotee breaks a coconut at the main aarti area inside the temple. Wearing of masks is mandatory for all visitors | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
While the male barbers were in protective gear, female staff simply wore gloves, face masks and a face shield | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Before Covid struck, the temple employed around 1,300 barbers. Now, only 500 work here. The temple annually collects huge amounts of hair from devotees, up to around 600 tonnes | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Devotees line up to enter the temple, maintaining strict social distancing at all times. A temperature check is conducted before they walk up the road leading to the temple | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Usually teeming with people, the temple looked deserted during the lockdown. It still looks quite deserted though people have returned | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
The first darshan began at 6.30 am and the last was at 7 pm. Each hour can have not more than 500 visitors | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Masks and gloves are mandatory for all staff members of the temple | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
To ensure hygiene, sanitation workers constantly disinfect the interiors of the temple complex | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A devotee takes aarti inside the temple complex | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

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