Tirumala temple shut for lunar eclipse

June 16th, 2011 - 12:06 am ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 15 (IANS) India’s most famous Tirumala temple and all other major temples in Andhra Pradesh were closed early in view of the century’s longest lunar eclipse Wednesday night.

Sri Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala Hills at Tirupati was closed by temple authorities at 4 p.m. to protect it from “ill-effects” of the lunar eclipse.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of India’s richest temple, closed the doors, bringing halt to ‘darshan’ by devotees.

A TTD official said devotees would be allowed in only at 8 a.m. Thursday after purification rituals. The sprawling temple premises, where thousands of people throng every day, wore a deserted look. Other temples under the management of TTD were also shut for the night.

Temples in Kurnool, Khammam, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and other places were also shut in view of the eclipse.

The darkest and the longest lunar eclipse of the century will take place from 10.30 p.m. Wednesday to 4.30 a.m. Thursday.

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