Amaravati\Tirupati: 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.
Airport Director S Suresh said two passenger flights scheduled to land in Tirupati from Hyderabad and Bengaluru were asked to return. A scheduled flight from New Delhi has been cancelled due to the prevailing weather condition, he added.
The TTD Additional Executive Officer’s office in Tirumala remained marooned, as were many guest houses.
A landslide damaged three rooms at the Narayanagiri guest house complex but nothing untoward has been reported as the rooms were unoccupied, official sources said.
Pilgrims staying in other rooms in Narayanagiri and nearby S V guest house were shifted to other accommodation.
In Srinivasa Mangapuram near Tirupati, two autos were washed away as the Swarnamukhi rivulet remained in spate.
A bridge on the Renigunta-Kadapa highway remained in a precarious position at Anjaneyapuram. A truck was stranded on the bridge, causing a traffic jam on either side, even as police reached the spot for a rescue operation.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy spoke to Chittoor district Collector M Hari Narayanan and reviewed the situation.
Jagan asked the Collector to closely monitor the water levels and take required steps accordingly, a CMO release said.
Relief camps should be opened wherever necessary and people from vulnerable areas shifted on need.
Deploy NDRF and SDRF teams and carry out rescue and relief operations. All the line departments should remain on alert and take required action as per the situation, the Chief Minister said.