Tirupati temple will start using a facial recognition system for darshan on March 1.

An independent trust called Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) runs the temple. TTD posted a notice on the temple’s official website saying that the new system is being put in place to make sure that darshan and rooms are given out in a fair way. It hopes that the technology will help it serve the thousands of pilgrims who come to the shrine better.

The system is likely to be put into place as a pilot project.

“Starting on March 1, TTD plans to test facial recognition technology in the Vaikuntham 2 and AMS systems. The goal is to make the tokenless darshan and accommodation allotment systems more open and fair so that the many pilgrims who come can get better service “the site’s text.

TTD also said that facial recognition will be used to stop devotees from getting more tokens at “Sarva Darshan Complex and caution deposit refund counters.” Tirumala is said to have about 7,000 places to stay, but only 1,000 of them are reserved. The rest will be given to regular visitors.

TTD is the richest temple in the world. In November 2022, for the first time since 1933, it told the world how much money it had. Its net worth of over 2.5 lakh crore (about USD 30 billion) is more than the market capitalization of IT services company Wipro, food and beverage company Nestle, and state-owned oil giants ONGC and IOC.

A temple official said that the trust is getting richer because people are giving more cash and gold to the hill temple and because fixed deposits in banks are making more money now that interest rates are going up.

In its about 3,100 crore annual budget for 2022–2023, which was presented in February, the TTD planned to get more than 668 crore in interest from cash deposits in banks. Also, the hundi of the hill temple was expected to bring in 1,000 crore just from the cash offerings of about 2.5 crore devotees.

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