On 28th may 2010, we went for tirupati darshan. On arrival to Tirupati railway station, we first reduced the luggage by keeping the excess bags in cloak room. Though they said that the cloak room is open for 24 hrs, but we found it closed after 1.00am.. Charge is just Rs 15/bag/24hrs. One can reach to tirumala (the temple of lord balaji ), 22 km from tirupati either by bus/jeep/prepaid taxi. To reach central bus stand (1 km from railway station), one can hire a auto for 20 Rs. After every 15 min, there are buses for tirumala, fare 30Rs & takes around 1 hr. Jeep services are available, outside the station, takes 10 passengers at a time, fare Rs 50/person. U can also hire a prepaid taxi(Non-AC Ambassador) for Rs 350. There is SBI Atm just outside the station. One the way to tirumala, there is check post, where every individual person/ their luggage/vehicle is scanned, takes 20-30 min.
One can hire a room down in tirupati or in tirumala, up the hill(>3000 feet) near to temple. No private rooms are available uphill. One can have room via internet booking through www.ttdsevaonline.com atleast 45 days before. Very cheap and good quality rooms are available, from Rs 100 to 500(non ac) & 750 to 2000Rs (ac). The room are strictly for 24 hrs only and not alloted for a single person. On reaching uphill, one have to move to internet counter, where on showing the receipt of e-accomodation and paying refundable deposit money, the rooms are alloted in their guest houses (such as Kaustab where we stayed), within 1 km. So, don’t leave your taxi until u finally reach ur room. Also during internet booking, one have to download his/her photo of less than 10 KB(normally, our photo from digicam are of 2-3MB), for which u better take help of some software from google search. It is always advisable to book room in tirumala so that one can fresh himself before going for darshan(as journey from tirupati to tirumala is 22km). Within tirumala, jeep service is available to reach from guest house to temple for Rs 50. Free bus service is also available to see different temples & sites (but very rush present). One can have food at very subsidised rates(eg. dosa Rs5) from TTD prasadalam, near to CRO office/ return bus stand. Open air restaurant are available adjacent to bus stand where one can enjoy tasty veg biryani/ chinese at 30-40Rs/plate. Great bargaining occurs at shops for gift articles of lord balaji statues, around 200-300%.
For darshan, available tkts are free tickets(10-12hrs), 50Rs tkt sudarshan(6-8hrs), 300 Rs tkt shegra darshan(3-4hrs), 500Rs tkt (1-2hrs)e. Little advertisement/hoardings is done for 500 Rs tkt, so best option, less rush. Also specific hours are allotted, during a day, different for different days a week, for having sheegra darshan. Don’t forget to go through the timings to avoid unnessessary delay. Different queue are for parents with children<1yr and for old age devotees. After a point, all queues mix up, thousands of devotees are there, minimal security guards, everybody tries to push ahead, no discipline is maintained. Take care of ur childrens, as it is very difficult to find someone if lost in such a huge crowd. Language problem is another big problem, as majority peoples don’t understand Hindi/ English. They say but actually no sitting arrangement are made alongside queues(as in shirdi), so one have to stand throughout. No foods are available inside the queues, only few outside vendors sell frooti, water at high rates from outside the windows. One can carry own food articles inside the temple premises or while in queues. No electronic items are allowed, such as camera, mobile phones. Better to leave them in guest house only. Leather good, purse is allowed. During final darshan of lord balaji, one gets 10-15 seconds, so concentrate on the lord’s statue, as suddenly everyone enters in darkness inside the main temple from outside, also, security personal & devotees keeps on continuously pushing u forward. There is Shri hari hundi, where u can give your offerings. Prasad in the form of Ladoo is available outside the temple premise, 2 free ladoo (very tasty, of ghee and dry fruits) are given per sheegra darshan tkt. Each extra ladoo cost Rs 25. Carry bag is available for Rs 3. there is free food service(high calorie thali) also, but we were so tired that we couldnot had it. Lots of rush, pushing ahead peoples, makes the darshan tiresome, but, after having glimpse of the lord balaji’s statue,one achieves an internal fulfilment. Everyone should try to have darshan of Lord balaji.
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