The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has decided to rope in the services of 852 barbers during the nine-day annual Brahmotsavams of Lord Venkatesdwara, scheduled to begin from September 27.
The barbers will be engaged, in addition to a team of 337 hair dressers. With this, the total strength of barbers, who will work round-the-clock, will go up to 1,189, of which 214 are women.
Of the 852 additional barbers, who will be engaged on piece-rate pay basis, 639 are men. The barbers will work at the main Kalyanakatta opposite the main temple and ten mini-kalyankattas at the select cottage allotment counters, guest houses and Pilgrim Amenities Complexes (PAC).
Around 25,000 to 30,000 pilgrims get their heads tonsured at the main Kalyanakatta daily, depending on the pilgrim turnout. The number goes beyond 40,000 on festive occasions such as New Year’s Day, Peratasi Saturdays – widely known as Tirumala Sanivaralu, Vaikunta Ekadasi and Garuda Seva days.
With the TTD anticipating a heavy crowd during the Brahmotsavams, the barbers will work in three shifts a day. They will be assisted by 20 regular maistries, three assistants and 46 supporting staff.
The barbers deployed at the main Kalyanakatta, PAC– I, II, III, SV rest house and Padmavati rest house will work round-the-clock, while those at Nandakam, Kowsthubam, Sapthagiri rest houses, GNC and HVC will work from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In an attempt to maintain sanitation, the TTD will supply quality disposable blades, aprons, hand gloves, uniforms, PPE kits and anti-septic lotions to all barbers. Adequate sanitary staff will be engaged for maintenance of hygiene at tonsuring centres.
The tonsuring centres are also equipped with solar and hot water geysers, besides adequate bathrooms enabling the devotees to take a bath after tonsuring.