With a little searching, you can find cheap flights to Tirupati, India just about any time of year. Tirupati has its own international airport, and although it's called "international", most Tirupati flights go through Hyderabad, India. The government is in the process of upgrading the airport to make it a legitimate international destination so that passengers can more easily get cheap flights to Tirupati by travelling direct, instead of stopping at Hyderabad. If your Tirupati flight disembarks in Hyderabad, you can travel to Tirupati by bus or train. Hyderabad has a large bus station and a large train station that both have tonnes of trips around the country.
From the train station, APSRTC (the official state road corporation) runs free buses every 30 minutes to several locations, which is perfect for tourists and the many pilgrims who travel to the area alike. Once in Tirupati, you can take advantage of the taxis or cars for hire with drivers to get around the city hassle free. If you prefer to be the one behind the wheel, you can rent a car and try your hand at navigating the city on your own. However, even though your own rental car may be cheaper than a taxi or a car for hire with a driver, it may not be as convenient because navigating the streets of Tirupati can be difficult to those unfamiliar with the area.
The biggest attraction to Tirupati is its temples, especially the Sri Venkateswara Swamy Vaari Temple, which sits atop the seventh of the seven peaks of Adisesha's hood. Here you are given the famous laddu for Prasad, a popular Indian sweet, which should not be missed. Just beware of the insanely long lines, especially during religious festivals. There are several other temples within Tirupati and nearby Tirumala as well.
Other attractions in this scenic area include the Sahaja Sila Thoranam Rock Garden, which is one of the oldest, natural geological arches in the world, with the rocks supposedly dating back 1.5 billion years. In good weather, make sure to visit the tallest waterfall in the region, Talakona, which is breathtaking. To see some majestic animals and plants, visit the Sri Venkateshwara Zoological Park.
Many of the temples in Tirupati have shops set up around the complexes, but you can also head into the heart of town for a little shopping. Popular items to buy include wooden toys and pictures of the Lord. Nearby villages also sell hand-weaved cotton dresses and clay bangles.
Tirupati caters to the many pilgrims who visit. There are free accommodations for those who wish to pray but cannot afford to do so. After visiting the Sri Venkateswara temple, you receive a free meal voucher for the Canteen Complex, which offers vegetarian meals and serves about 20,000 people per day.
For the best, quick vegetarian food in the area, check out the restaurant at the Hotel Mayura. What the Hotel Mayura lacks in ambiance, it makes up for with delicious cuisine. This area has many vegetarian eateries, but note that there is very little availability of alcohol due to the religiousness of the area. The nightlife is practically non-existent.
13 December 2017