Animals take to Tirupati streets as Covid keeps pilgrims away

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With the coronavirus outbreak forcing billions of people to stay at home, the animals and birds have taken to the streets, literally. All across the world, from New Delhi and New York to London and Los Angeles, varieties of animals including deer, Jackals and wild boar, are seen wandering in places which would not long ago be crowded with people. The same story is being repeated in the areas surrounding Tirupati, one of the richest temples of Hindus.

Located on top of the holy seven hills of Seshachalam forest, the temple is generally bereft of wild animals when it is open due to the rush of pilgrims. Poisonous snakes and wild animals have taken over the streets of the holy Tirumala Ghats and the adobe of Lord Balaji. They can be seen on the walk ways and road ways leading to the temple. A large group of deer has hit the streets, bears have taken shelter in guesthouses meant for devotees, and snakes can be seen hissing on the ghat roads. A few days ago, a large herd of spotted deer was seen strolling on the roads of Tirumala, a video of which went viral. At the same place, two black cobras were also spotted, which were later rescued by forest officers. The next day, two black bears were seen entering the main temple entrance.

If these were not enough, a leopard too was spotted sitting in the middle of the road leading to the temple. This is the first time, after 128 years, the temple of Lord Venkakateswara has had to close its doors to devotees. One of the crowded temples, about 50,000 to 1 lakh people used to visit this temple each day, till the deadly virus locked the temple down.

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