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Actors lose VIP status at Indian temple

April 25, 2007 at 8:25 PM

TIRUPATHI, India, April 25 (UPI) -- The spectacle over a recent celebrity wedding so stung leaders one of India's most sacred Hindu temples they will no longer treat Bollywood stars as VIPs.

Speaking to the Press Trust of India news agency Wednesday, B. Karunakara Reddy, head of the trustee board of the Lord Venkateswara Temple in southern Andhra Pradesh state, apologized to the devotees, who throng the temple by the tens of millions every year. Reddy cited the inconvenience caused by the "over enthusiasm" of some temple officials for receiving Abishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai when the two visited the facility prior to their wedding.

Reddy said "stringent measures" would be taken to ensure no such treatment is given hereafter to visiting celebrities such as actors and business tycoons.

The temple, situated on high hills, is so sacred to Hindus around the world that a visit there is almost a must. Everyday starting about 3 a.m. in the morning, hundreds of thousands stand patiently in lines for hours to get a view of the idol, a form of the principal deity Vishnu, for gaining salvation.

Crowd management is so critical, even a slight change such as for a VIP visit can cause massive disruption.

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