I just had a wonderful Darshan of Tirupati Balaji. I had this in mind for some time and it happened Today. I want to share my experience with all. Hope some find it useful.
The last time I visited Tirupati was way back in 2006 along with a colleague. I do not remember the details but we had taken the tour package. This time I thought I will note down as much as possible.
It was last-minute decision and so got the last seat on the APTDC tour package to Tirupati on the 13th June 2010. I did not want to postpone it because of the last seat. With His grace everything will go fine, I thought. I booked the ticket at the APTDC reservation counter at the race course road on same day morning (It is next to Sanman Hotel, ph: 080-4113-6373).
The trip is scheduled to start at 7:30 pm with 7:00 pm as reporting time.
Bus (#5620) started on time and immediate next stop was ITDC, they have an arrangement with APTDC and some seats are reserved for them. Again journey started at 7:45 pm. Oh well!! I wanted front row seat, but bus was full and I got the last seat #45, but you know what, there was a family sitting along with me in the last row and they wanted one row for themselves as one of them was sitting in front row. They requested if I could exchange that front seat with them. I gladly accepted, both were happy. I thanked the Lord and thus started the wonderful journey to Tirupati.
Bus stopped for dinner at the Kamat Upachar in Hansapur, Kolar at 9:15 pm, seems like a better journey on Sunday on that route otherwise it takes longer on weekdays. I like food at Kamat Upachar than most other highway restaurants, very good food.
The dinner break was for half an hour and we started again on time, we reached TTD Srinivasam Complex (Near APSRTC Central Bus Station, Tirupati) at 1:50 am. This lodge will be our stop for getting some sleep and getting fresh. We were told the bus will start in the morning at 4:45 am for Shri Padmavati Temple Darshan. (Previously I guess they used to take first to Balaji temple for morning 5 O’clock Darshan and then rest of the places, not sure if same goes for some season/days perhaps, do share).
I got the room # 523 at the lodge, rooms decent for couple of hours stay. But could not sleep at all, so finally got fresh at 3:30 am and went downstairs.
A guide is assigned here who will accompany you for the duration of the Tirupati Darshan. The guide introduced himself as Mr. D. P. Reddy (or whichever Reddy he is). There was some delay to the Shri Padmavati Temple Darshan, bus left at 5:10 am, temple is around 10 minutes away from the lodge, took darshan of Shri Padmavati, they have Rs. 25 ticket for this at the temple premises, we had to buy this separately, also Bala Rama temple and Sundar Raja temples can be visited in the same premises, half an hour was given. After that we headed back to lodge and reached at 6:00 am.
People are given time to have breakfast at the restaurant which is on the 1st floor of the lodge. The guide told us to leave everything in the APTDC bus itself except things which are needed at the Darshan or any pooja material. I left my bag there with the mobile and camera. When we came back from breakfast, the APTDC bus was nowhere to be seen. Everyone wondering, everyone lost, I had thought I could get the mobile after the breakfast. Finally the guide showed up at 6:45 am and told us APTDC bus will be available only after we are back from Tirumala. So remember if one wants to have camera and mobile with them do not leave it in the bus at the instruction of the guide, carry it with you.
The guide was supposed to arrange for Tirumala bus immediately after breakfast but he could get hold of one only at 7:15 am. And thus began the amazing journey to Tirumala. I would just love to drive on those curvy roads similar hills with curves could be found back in my hometown; well it is dangerous in my hometown but much safer here as it is one way road up and another way to come down. Saw one jeep smashed itself on the sideways though, must have tried to overtake some Tirumala bus; they are expert there and better not take risk with them.
We reached on hill top at 8:45 am, the guide directed us to the shop #37 where we can leave the footwear and another shop opposite for mobile and camera. You could safely carry these items to the top if you plan to take in between photographs, of course electronic materials are not allowed in the temple. Finally we were in the Rs. 300 ticket queue at 9:00 am, which was late and was sign of the things to come. I guess they halted Darshan in around 9:30 am for pooja for some 30 minutes or so, it was going slow. I got the Darshan at Noon only, which was 2 hours delayed than the usual Darshan timing by this tour. Well the crowd goes crazy inside temple, I somehow managed to hold on and got a clear Darshan. Amazing simply amazing, I felt blessed by the image of Shri Balaji in front, you could just keep on looking but the security people literally drags you out, well they have to take care of another 50,000+ people for the rest of the day.
On way out you get the prasadam, you have also option to buy extra laddoos (Two laddoos are given as part of the package which guide collects and distributes). The guide will tell let him know if you need extra ladoos. But I guess you should buy these extra laddoos yourself if you intent to as you get good Tirupati marked bag. Otherwise later guide will ask you to buy plastic bag from one of his shops to carry those laddoos.
And now the people delay, one family took their own time to come back and made everyone wait until 1:15 pm. Once they were back suddenly another guy went missing seems like he remembered he needs more laddoos and made more delay.
The guide arranged for the bus back to Tirupati, we reached down at 1:55 pm; APTDC volvo had come there from the lodge so not to cause any more delay.
Now journey back to Bangalore began, 253 Km to be covered. So we should reach around 7:00 pm to Bangalore.
The bus halted for lunch at 2:50 pm at Nandi Garden Restaurant at Puthalapattu. They have good food there and meals for Rs 68. Most folks finished lunch by 3:30 pm. Now again the same families came into picture and made everyone else wait till 4:00 pm.
The bus reached Indiranagar BDA complex at 8:15 pm, my destination place back home. During return journey the bus can stop anywhere you want them to stop to get down.
Whatever may be the experience along the way to Darshan and back home, I feel very fortunate and blessed by Balaji Darshan. Thanks to APTDC and others to make this journey memorable. Please do share your own experiences of Darshan and anything people need to take care of during the journey or anything that will make the journey memorable.
Thanks for dropping by. May God bless you all!!!