Russian woman stranded in Tirupati reunited with mother

Published: Jul 31, 2020, 09:55 IST | IANS | Tirumala

Esther had an emotional re-union with Olivia as the latter landed at the Tirupati Airport from New Delhi.

Tirupati Balaji temple in Tirumala. Picture/AFP
Tirupati Balaji temple in Tirumala. Picture/AFP

A 32-year-old Russian woman, stranded in this temple town since last month, was on Thursday re-united with her mother who was stuck in Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.

Esther had an emotional re-union with Olivia as the latter landed at the Tirupati Airport from New Delhi.

Moved by the story of mother-daughter duo, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), along with other organisations, came forward to help them.

They arranged for 70-year-old Olivia's travel from Vrindavan to Delhi by road and from there, arranged her air ticket to Tirupati.

Earlier in the day, Esther had had darshan at Sri Venkateswara temple. The TTD, which manages the affairs of the country's richest temple, facilitated the darshan.

TTD Chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy, while assuring her all support, had promised to arrange another darshan after the arrival of her mother.

Subba Reddy assured to provide accommodation and food for the mother-daughter duo and offered to organise their return journey in consultation with the Russian Embassy.

Esther thanked the TTD Chairman and all those who extended help during the last three days. "It was a stressful situation. Now I am feeling relieved. I want to thank all those who helped us," she said. "I love Indian people," said her mother.

They had landed in India on February 6 with a plan to visit all ISKCON temples across the country. They eventually wanted to settle down in India by offering physiotherapy services to people.

However, the Covid-19 induced lockdown left them stranded in the country with no job and little money in hand. After relaxation of lockdown norms, the duo reached Tirupati from West Bengal on June 17.

They wanted to visit Tirumala temple but could not do so due to the TTD's decision not to allow foreigners to have 'darshan' in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Olivia last month asked her daughter to stay back in Tirupati and left for Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh. Since more Russians visit Vrindavan, she was hoping to get some help, but she did not get due to the COVID situation and got stuck there.

Separated from mother and with no money in hand, Ester was facing severe hardships in Tirupati. She was not even able to communicate her problems to others because of language problems. A guest house owner provided her with shelter.

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