A Roadtrip : Bangalore -> Tirupathi Tirumala -> Bangalore
I have just completed the Roadtrip from Bangalore to Tirupathi Tirumala and back to Bangalore.
I have written a travelogue and here is the web url Travelogue: Bangalore -Tirumala (Tirupathi) - Bangalore -> 2 Days x 615 kms x loads of fun
The text version is as below but I would recommend you to view the blog for details and pictures. Preface
This has been pending from past 5 years at least and we have not been able to decide or had the courage to go to Tirumala (Tirupathi) as were scared of the long queues as described by fellow friends etc. But this time we decided, lets do it and we did it :) Route taken
Took Bangalore-K.R.Puram Bridge-Hoskote-Kolar-Chittor-Palamner-Tirupathi-Tirumala. (Thanks to Mukesh)
Did all the research on the route and downloaded the same on the iPod Touch so we can follow the guidelines. Had Google Maps connection all the way but did not really use it much as the route was pretty much simple and straight.
Packed some clothes for a changeover at Tirumala and carried some food stuff etc for Kids as we were not very sure on what we will get on the way. But as fellow TAI
'ns suggested we were expecting to get some south indian snacks on the way at-least.
Started from Bangalore at 6:30 AM from south Bangalore via Bannerghatta Road -> Koramangala -> Indranagar -> Old Madras Road -> K.R.Puram Bridge -> Hoskote -> Kolar -> Chittor ->Palamner -> Tirupathi -> Tirumala.
First stop was somewhere before Hoskote and it was a forced halt. I had a small fight with one of the local bus drivers as while I was trying to overtake him from his right lane, he immediately blocked me and I had to push the brakes so Hard that all of us nearly fell down from our seats. Since we were wearing seat belts, got saved. But really this was the first test for the beast for a hard brake from 90 - 0 in 3~4 secs and believe me after this incident I have much more faith on Scorpios braking capability than what I expected it to be. The beast stopped in straight line with no dragging etc. So thanks to Mahindra and GOD to save us for a unfortunate event. I really blasted this guy later on, but since he was too rude I did not feel necessary to quarrel with him too much as I had family with me and he was absolutely non apologetic. anyway so we moved on and stopped a little later for a photo break. Here are some pictures on the way to Tirupathi.
Here are some more pictures en-route and then we stopped at Woody's for the breakfast. The food was good if not very good. So we had good breakfast and then moved on further.
After about 2 hrs of driving, took another break and then moved on. Once we reached Tirupathi, got the Diesel topped up at the fuel station, and then started towards Tirumala.
We were stopped at the scanning center and we were asked to get down, get all the luggage scanned and then take the entry ticket of 50Rs and move towards Tirumala Temple. So after taking the ticket, we started towards Tirumala. Believe me folks, the drive was amazing and Scorpio's real power was tested here on the Ghat roads. I mean I have done nearly 50+ looong drives on my Santro on various terrains, and every time I was on a hill, it used to stress up and with AC on hills or overtaking was always a challenge. But now on Scorpio, it was a breeze. It handled all the elevations so lightly that I did not feel any difference or stress on the engine. Loved the drive with AC on almost full time.
So then around 2:30 we reached at the booking office and got the room allotted to us at Lalitha Nilayam. We paid around 6000Rs for a room with 3 beds and it was pretty good and well maintained. I loved the overall surroundings of the place. It was very clean and well maintained. Beds were comfortable and bathrooms were clean. Only problem was to get some decent food out there. no option for tea/coffee either. So we went to the room, freshened up and headed towards the restaurant for the lunch. After w had the lunch, we headed towards the Vari temple and learned that the 300Rs ticket counter is closed and we will have to wait until next morning.
So as the rush was not too much, we headed towards the free darshan queue. We parked the beast at the car parking at the free darshan queue centre, kept all our belongings in the car (as suggested by many) included the cell phones, ipods etc and joined the queue. The rush wasn't looking too bad from there but as we entered the main hall, we were shocked to see ocean of people marching toward the queue and the hall. But we still carried on and decided to give it a shot as were not sure to wait until next morning for SeegraDarshan. So we entered the queue complex, and waited patiently in the hall. The estimated time of darshan that time was about 12midnight and we reached there at 5:15PM. So it looked like a herculean task but we still kept sitting and waiting. After about an hours wait, we realised that the queue is not even moving and took a decision to quit and go back to the room so we can relax, re-charge ourselves and do the SeegraDarshan next morning. So we came out of the hall and went to the room straight away.
We relaxed there for a while and then headed for Dinner. Since the family was very tired, I decided to get something packed for them and headed for the food hunt and take a drive around the place and click some pictures. After a short drive, I found one small fast food place which had some Gobi Manchurian and Noodles and some tid bits. So I decided to take some snack for family. The snacks were good. We had the snacks and crashed for the night.
Woke up next morning at 5AM to join the SeegraDarshan queue, got ready, checked out and headed for breakfast. Had some sumptious breakfast and then drove towards the parking. That is when we realised that the rush on this day was atleast 10 times more that last day. The queues were longer than we ever expected but that was the only choice. So we joined the queue after parking the car and kept all the shoes etc in it. This is when the long wait started. The experience in the queue was mixed bag of anxiety, tiredness, frustration from the crowd (pushing.. pushing) and loooong wait between the queue movement. Surprising was the halt of queues for VIP Darshan and some special pooja etc. Some people kept joining the queue from some gates in-between which I felt was very un-ethical. There was a huge cry from the crowd in the queue every time someone joined the queues in between but the authorities there did not budge. I guess this is pretty normal at Tirupathi, but since we went there for the first time we were not expecting this. Anyway so it took us 6hours for the darshan and we cam out around 11:30 or so. We were delighted with the darshan but the overall experience was a mixed bag.
One thing I would like to mention for the people who go there is DO NOT wear shorts as I was in the shorts and was stopped to enter just before the main temple hall. It was a moment I regretted as after waiting for darshan for almost 5hrs, I didn't wanted to get thrown out. So I had borrowed my mom's shawl and wore it like a dhoti :) and after negotiating, I was let in. Another thing is that most of the priests there inside the temple are after money, I was asked to shell out money to spend more time in front of the diety but I refused. In-fact the priest.helpers inside almost were snatching the money from my hand. But kep holding it and put it in the Hundi outside. This is something which kills the whole mood and makes you feel bad. Anyway this is just my experience and I don't want to generalise this for everyone.
So after the darshan, We came out and relaxed a bit outside the temple. We (specially kids) were so dead tired that my son literally fell down on his knees and was very angry at me. So I made them sit over there and went to collect the prasad laddoo. There was a huge queue for that but took only about 10mins. So we collected the laddoos and moved back towards the car park. We all then got ready, put on our shoes and headed straight for the lunch as we were dead hungry. We could see hotel Woodside Restaurant and decided to have the lunch there itself. So had lunch which was not so great but since we were hungry, anything worked :)
After the lunch, we didn't waste any time and quickly moved towards Bangalore. On the way, we took some pictures and then took about 2 halts and reached home at around 11pm after a great dinner at Anands, Koramangala. Summary
Tirupathi Tirumala is a heavenly place and the drive from Bangalore is very good except few stretches of not more than 10kms which is little broken/patched. You should plan well in advance for Darshan and should always have reservation for accommodation if you plan to stay overnight. Be ready to spend good time in the queues and DO NOT wear shorts. Be nice to all devotees and never jump the queues.