I am living in Bangalore for many years now but I never visited Titupati untill my recent visit on 12/07/2009. I had the wish to visit Tirupati but I recognize now that wish was not strong enough to led me to Tirupati. Recently I made up my mind to visit Tirupati. There are various ways one can visit Tirupati like government ran Package tour like the ones run by KSTDC, APTDC and ITDC. One should book seat in advance to avoid hassles. I booked a seat in APTDC‘s Tirupati – Tirumala tour package for Rs 1400 which includes accomodation for bath and cellar darshan.
APTDC central booking couter is at Race Course road and from here the bus departs. My bus was scheduled to leave a 9 pm. It was a Volvo A/C bus but KSTDC Volvo A/C buses are better in comparison. Also, the drivers are slow and takes more time as one of my friend mentioned. It takes 5 – 6 hours to reach Tirupati. Around 10.30 pm the bus gave a dinner stop. I was fast asleep. Little later slowly unboarded the bus and splashed water on the face at the restaurant. Ordered for Nan and Alu Gobi – that made a stomachful. Back in the bus I was fast aslep again listenning to my iPod.
Around 3.15 am I woke up and found the bus in front of a big complex. Well, we had reached Tirupati and that was Srinivasa complex where all tourists stay. Here, all the passengers of the bus was provided accomodation. Since, I was a single I had to share the room with another guy. We were supposed to take bath and be ready by 4.30 am. I took bath early and took a quick nap. The first spot we were taken were to Padmavati Temple in Tiruchanoor village little away from Tirupati. The guide told visit to Tirumala Lord Venkateshwara temple is not complete without a visit to padmavati temple. Padmavati or Godded lakshmi is the wife of Lord Venkateswara. It is a nice temple with very detailed working system.
Note: No electronic items are allowed like camera, mobile phone etc
Then we were back to Sriniva complex and had breakfast. The restaurant is on the first floor. You can expect good juice, ice cream. Average Idly, vada, dosa, meals etc. Dont have high expectations. From we were taken in a local bus which make regular trips to Tirumala. Actually, it is from here buses for Tirumala leaves. Tirumla is 25 km from Srinivasa complex. Roads are good and looks like they are improving it. One has to pass a toll gate to get on the ghat road. It was scenic drive to climb up the hill. Unfortunately, I was not able to shot pictures.
Lord Venkateshwara temple is located on the 7th hill of the 7 Tirumla hills or Sapthagiri. There are multiple entrance to the temple complex. The bus stopped on the main road opposite Lord Venkateswara temple. Little later we all walked inside first walk past Anjenaya temple., then towards queue complex of Lord Venkateswara temple. We were for cellar darshan or in another words VIP darshan or paid darshan which takes less time. While in the queue people were chanting Govinda – Govinda. It this queue too it took us around 2 hours to get the darshan on a Monday. Think what it will be on a weekend or festival time and on a general queue. However, all the queue mingle at a particular point before reaching the gajastambha. From there pilgrims are let in, in batches for darshan (view lord Venkateswara). The main scantum sanatorium is completely gold plated and so is the gopura. One can hard stand in from of Lord venkateswara as 4 – 5 gaurd will be nearby to make sure people keep moving. There is no electric light inside the scantum sanatorium. Only oiled diyas (lamp) are lighted. The sight of Lord Venkateshwara is very powerful. I felt overhelmed and attracted to him.
After the darshan one can donate money or offerings in the Hundi or donation box. The Hundi here is a specially made one hanging from the top. Ouside of the scantum sanatorium one can see various achitectures. then on the way pilgrims are offeres prasad. Also, one is offered 2 laddus free. If you would like you can buy more at the cost of Rs 50/laddu. Tirupati laddu is very tasty and world famous. From there were back to Srinivasa Complex in Tirupati for lunch in another local bus. The ghat section is one way and on the way back saw many gardens and a deer park too. Hardly anything was left to eat. Sipped juce and ready for return journey to Bangalore. We left Tirupati around 2 – 3 pm and reached Bangalore around 8.30 pm.
Visit to check more pictures of Tirupati.