- Destination: Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India
- Visited on: 09th November 2014
- How To Reach:
- By Train – Number of trains from from Bangalore goes to Tirupati.
- By Bus – Many KSRTC buses of all class operates daily to Tirupati from Bangalore.
- Package Trip – One can a book a package trip also which includes “Darshan”, transfers breakfast and lunch.
About: Tirupati is a major pilgrimage and cultural city in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is located at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats, at a distance of 250 kilometres from Bangalore. It is one of the richest pilgrimage cities of any religious faith in the world.Tirupati is famous for Venkateswara Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, located about 20 kilometers north west of Tirupati in the Tirumala hills at an elevation of 853 metres (2,799 ft). One of the most important pilgrimage centers in the world, the temple draws millions of pilgrims and is the busiest pilgrimage center in the world. Photography is not allowed anywhere near the temple.Alcohol and smoking is banned in Tirumala.
Our Journey Starts: I suddenly called my friend Niloy Das on Thursday evening asking for a visit to Tirupati on saturday. He hardly say “No” when invited for a trip. On his confirmation, booked a package trip from http://www.greenlineholidays.in for Tirupati. The packaged trip cost was Rs. 1850 which includes journey to Tirupati from Bangalore. Tirupati to Tirumala hills in a different ASPRTC bus (Tirupati temple). Then back to Tirupati from Tirumala hills and finally back to Bangalore. A room was provided in between to freshen up. Veg breakfast and lunch was provided in their own guest house. Moreover, the bus was a multi-axle Mercedes Benz. They have number of buses to select. Depending on the bus, the cost varies. The bus starts from Koramangala. We boarded the bus from Tin Factory at 9.30PM. The bus was beautiful. Interior was comfortable too. We reached Tirupati at 2.00AM the next day. We were offered a small room with attached bath and given 30 minutes to freshen up. After that, had an early breakfast. The breakfast consisted of typical south Indian food. Then boarded another non-ac APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) bus which was arranged by the service provider to reach Tirumala Hills. The Tirupati temple lies at the Tirumala hill top. After a journey of 90 minutes, we reached near the temple.
The place looks like a town and not like a hill. We kept our shoes in a small shop. And started our journey towards the temple at 4.30 AM. The temple compound is huge. Here is a special ritual called “Mundan” which means giving hair to the lord. Many people participate in this ritual and deliberately shave off their head. To take a darshan, one can join a line which doesn’t charge at all. One can get a special entry darshan ticket too for Rs. 300 from the temple website www.ttdsevaonline.com . These tickets are limited and sold on first cum first serve basis. Pilgrims are allowed to book tickets online only 60 days in advance. If someone fail to book tickets online, then he has to get into the free queue for darshan. Special entry darshan definitely takes lesser time in compare to free darshan. However, the time difference doesn’t varies much. I feel, the difference should not be more than 30 minutes. One can book cheap and good accommodations too through their online portal.
We came to a chamber within a building and found number of people are waiting to get their turn to see the God. We also got into a chamber. Once the chamber got full, it was locked from outside. No one can get out of that. Washrooms are built inside the huge chambers only. Had to wait for a long time. Some people slept on the floor. They offered breakfast for the pilgrims around 7AM. After waiting for 5 hours within the chamber, it was finally opened. Had to walk quite a distance within the building from where the chamber was created. It was like a maze. Sometime going upstairs, sometime coming back to the ground floor… The queue continued to move. In between, they will provide 2 laddoos (Prasad) for Rs. 20 . Extra set of 4 laddoos are charged at Rs. 100. The coupon for extra laddoos is sold outside the building. Finally approached near the main temple. In between, people will cry saying “Govinda”, and other people standing in the queue will join in a prolonged tune “Govindaaaa…” The temple was made of gold. Got a long distant view of the lord “Balaji” after entering into the temple. The view was magnificent. All tiredness went off in a flash after seeing the gold statue of Lord Balaji illuminated by number of natural lamps. It is shinning bright in a pitch black background. The glimpse was maximum for 20seconds and then had to come out. Once you come out, you will find a temple of Lord Narasimha. This is quite a small temple in compare to the other, but one should not miss out on viewing this. Just near to the Narasimha temple, there is “Hundi” (donation pot). A heavy white cloth is hanging. People put their offerings as money or gold coins inside it. The offerings goes directly into the basement where there are number of people allotted to count the total collection. The hundi collections go as high as 22.5 million INR a day.Devotees offer gold as a token of their love for God. Temple sources said that in April 2010 the temple deposited 3,000 kg of gold with State Bank of India as gold offerings in the temple hundi by devotees, which had accumulated for the last several years. This is why Lord Balaji is renowned as one of the richest god of the world. There is a pool called “Pushkarini” where people take bath. This pool is considered to be holy. Then we took coupons for extra set of laddoos. After taking laddoos from the counter, we walked back to the bus. Then we came back to the guest house for lunch by the ASPRTC bus. After finishing lunch there, boarded the Mercedes Benz bus and came back to Bangalore at 8.00PM after a journey of 4 hours. “Govindaaaa…..” Note: Pictures are taken from internet.