We climbed up from tirupati to tirumala using alipiri gate. There are two routes to climb up: from Alipiri and from Srivari mettu. We had heard Srivari mettu is smaller and takes lesser time but is more steep and difficult. We were 3 families with 2 kids. Hence, we planned to take Alipiri route.
Starting 6 AM from Whitefiled, Bengaluru, we first reached Kapil teertham temple by around 10:30AM. Temple is really good. It has a pond where people were taking bath too. It has minor parking challenges as cars are park on road. Given the less rush, we could manage. We were expecting a waterfall in the temple however, it was fully dried up, even in the month of july. In the search of waterfall, from there, we drove to Ramapuram falls. To our surprise, there is no waterfall there. Someone told us if we trek for 2 km, there is a small stream of water. We avoided the trek as we had to trek next day for temple. However, the place as still quite scenic with lot of natural beauty. Hence, we spent 30-40 min there before heading to our home stay in Tirupati.
We woke up early to reach Alipiri Gata parking by 4:30 AM. There is big space for free parking. However, there are no sign boards. We asked the people around to guide us to park. It is a little chaos to find right stop to park our vehicle in the absence of any sign board or any one guiding to show way to the vehicle. We walked to bhudevi complex for tickets following google map (remember no signboards or supporting staff). There was minor rush to get the tickets. Only Sarvadarshan tickets were issued to us. No one replied on how and where to get divya darshan tickets of even if it is possible to get divya darshan tickets. We were told to get the ticket stamped mid way. We got the tickets at 5:30AM with reporting time as 4PM.
We started climbing right away from Alipiri gate. It was allowed to wear flipflops, however there are too many temples on the way. You can visit those temples keeping your flipflops outside. However, people put turmeric on the steps and many of them will not like you wearing flipflops. Every now and them someone will ask you to remove flipflops and I would recommend to not wear them.
There are enough shops on the way selling food items, glucose, drinks etc. Everything is well managed. One difference i noticed as different from climbing up in vaishno devi and tirupati is everyone chants "jai mata di" and other energising slogans which keep motivating you all the way long. In tirupati, it was a quite silent trek with some songs being played at few places, but people were mostly silently climbing, barring one or two instances of "govinda govinda". Also, as usual no ground staff from temple to guide you and people around you being ignorant of your presence (barring calling the flipflops out).
Half way, we got the tickets scanned and then stamped (few people missed stamping as it was done separately). We need to carry original of adhaar., No photo copy is needed and adhaar is mandatory (no other document work). We again tried to get info on divya darshan. This time the person as window told there is one only more ticket, costing 10K which can give us direct entry to temple.
We were a large group with kids and took lot of haults. Hence, we could finish the trek in 6 hours but in general you can expect 4-5 hours. Overall, trekking was a nice experience. It is mix of steps and walk. During the last 600 steps we could see people climbing steps on knees. Whole trek provides you very nice experience.
After the trek, as usual no clear sign boards and ground staff to help, we kept walking straight and taking help from near by shop keepers. to reach a place where we could two conflicting signboards of "sarvdarshan" tickets. One was asking to go down on stairs and other was asking to take left. We asked people around and no one was clear. After spending 15 mins, we could figure out we can take bus from left or go down stairs to walk to the place from where Sarvdarshan queue starts. Some of us got head shaved near the same place, which was free of cost and people can pay at their own will. Then we reached queue starting point at 2:30PM after having lunch and some shopping too.
As expected there was lot of rush in the queue. All the bags and mobiles were deposited with good safety and management amidst crazy rush. Only thing missing again was sign boards and ground staff to help. Because of which only when we reached inside, we came to know even smart watch is not allowed. The staff was quite rude and didnt even tell us from where to collect it. Amidst this much rush, going through cells and queues, we had great experience of darshan at 6PM. On the way, few queue merged with ours. One person told he had booked virtual seva of 500/- and joined us directly midway saving his 1-2 hrs as compared to us.
After the darshan, it was hassle free to get the laddoo prasand. One laddoo per ticket and we could get more laddoo at 50/- each. From there we went to luggage room and got all the mobile and smart watch at same place and bags from another queues. It was all well managed and hassle free.
People told us we could take free bus to go down to tirupati, but it was very crowded to booked a jeep instead. There were other buses too charging ~100/- per person. We reached back to parking by around 8PM.
Overall it was a great experience. Thousands of people visiting the temple daily and everything is well defined and structured to handle it without much mess. Only challenge is missing info over internet or even at the temple with no sing boards, ground staff help counters etc.