Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tirupati Travelogue

After a long gap of twelve years, got an opportunity to plan and go to Tirupathi full family in May end, with parents, siblings...

Booked my train tickets 90 days in advance from Mumbai to Renigunta, while parents and brother together planned their onward train journey from mannargudi to Tirupathi from Tanjore  in Rameshwaram exp, ensured timings are nearly matching on arrival at Tirupathi.

Next advance plan activity is room booking for Tirumala and Tirupati stay, this booking starts 60 days in advance in Tirumala Tirupathi devastanam website http://www.ttdsevaonline.com, booking is done fo two rooms with two different log in id due to devastanam procedures, booking shall be done only by pilgrim visitor along with photo and proof document like pan number or Aadhar card number for identity verification during check in (Third person who is not travelling cannot do this bookings), there are A/c and non a/c accommodations available ranging from 100 rs per room to 3000 rs per room, I booked non a/c  600 rupee room that is the highest in non a/c category for tirumala stay, for thirupathi it was decided to book upon arrival.

Room booking online is fast occupied comparing to 300 Rs Seeagra darshan or special entry darshan online booking, so I booked this special darshan tickets 45 days prior to journey, here we have to input all the adult pilgrim name with photo id details, need to finalise darshan entry time too.

On the D day we started our comfortable train journey from Mumbai (Lokmanya Terminus on time) reached Renigunta junction by 30 min delay, outside april end climate was hot to hotter, negotiated for a taxi for 1200 to go to Tirumala, with hand full of luggage it’s a bit difficult in check point but taxi driver helped in unloading, loading, reached Tirumala in an hour, got dropped near arp counter of cro office, where my parents and brothers family too waiting for us.

Day 1
I and my younger brother Joined the queue to get cottage allotment, every one was curious to know which cottage for 600 INR, after giving finger impression and photography with 600 rent +600 INR per room security deposit, two rooms allotted in the Nandakam guest house, immediately hired a 50 per head taxi, reached Nandakam guest house, further queue for book entry, key is finally given for two ground floor  rooms , clean rooms with twin bed with mattress and clean pillows, having attached bathroom with western and Indian style toilets, geysers with 24 hour water supply, good ventilation, enough natural lightings, everything for a minimal rental charges, one room is enough for four adults with kids provided two people willing to sleep in the floor.

Upon arrival immediately reached near by tonsuring centre by walk, once tonsuring done returned to room, had bath, lunch, everyone chatting, kids running from one room to another, elders taking rest, by evening every one getting ready for darshan, reservation is done for 6.oo pm entry, so reached temple entrance by 5.45 in an 50 rs per head taxi, again verification of booking receipt, photography, you have to be in traditional dress, waiting in the (long and crowded at times) queue for around two hours, finally mesmerizing Balaji darshan for  few serene moments. in between many touts roaming around, searching right people and collecting money for shorter walking routes or for few more second darshan in the darshan hall, better to avoid paying any money to this touts. After darshan again joined prasadham queue- we got variety rice in our queue as prasadam, then one more laddu queue (laddu prasadham booked , paid along with special entry tickets)

After long awaited darshan every one now hungry, time is 9.00 pm, walked across and reached a bazaar where full of south Indian street food shops for  Doda, idli or poori bajji or vegetable  fried rice or noodles , everything per plate 40 rs, filled our stomach, walked back to room for rest.

Day 2 and Day 3 will continue...

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