Friday, September 27, 2013

Tirupati - Tirumala Devasthanam: An Introduction (How to reach, Darshan Ticket Booking)

After 3 days of exploration, finally it was time to bid Kannur goodbye. And thereon, we headed to one of the holiest towns of India, the spiritual mecca of the south – Tirupati.

Situated in the extreme south east of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati takes pride in being one of the busiest pilgrimage centres in the world by housing numerous temples dating many centuries back. Among these, the most prominent and claimed to eclipse even Jeruselem, Rome or Mecca in the sheer number of pilgrims is Shree Venkateshwara Temple located atop the holy hills of Tirumala (a divine mountain similar to an enormous, coiled serpent), about 20 kms. and at an elevation of approximately 3000 ft. from the town of Tirupati.


Sacred Hindu Texts like the Skanda Purana, Varah Purana, Brahma Purana, etc. and many religious historical accounts are rich with beautiful references and puranic stories on how the Venkatachala / Tirumala hill became the celestial abode of the destroyer of sins and wish granting God – Venkateshwara Balaji. This ancient temple, standing on the pillars of emotional sentiments, is a place where wishes come alive, where faith is not only a religion but a strong force connecting the divine and the human. People from diverse walks of life, different strata of society and varied cultural backgrounds converge with their unwavering belief and devotion the year round to make it what today is one of the most powerful of holiest towns across the world since times immemorial.

Scores of devotees throng the temple premises the year round, each equipped with their own set of prayers and feelings; some are here for offering their gratitude as the Lord has now granted their desires, others will now be placing their requests while some others simply find joy by soaking in His kindness and seeking His benevolence. It is a long line of devotees, a mad rush and why not? After all, a visit here is equated to visiting the heavenly house of Lord Vishnu Himself - Vaikuntha. These and many other such beliefs is what makes Tirumala crowded - so very very crowded. And, highly noisy too.

But the question here is, does it really matter?


Answers lay scattered all over the place. There is no dearth of pilgrims who wouldn't stop gushing about their opportune darshan lasting for a few seconds or so with their beloved Tirupati Balaji while there are so many others who are excitedly waiting for the same. Long far-reaching queues do not matter to any of these folks as long as they get to offer their prayers, sins nullified and wishes fulfilled. Quiz them as to what brings them here and they all underline one single point in common unison: Lord Balaji is alive. We feel His presence. It’s a place of absolute happiness, an inexplicable moment of peace. He answers our prayers.

... However technologically advanced our society may become... some concepts always remain an enigma. This is definitely one. You can question commercialization, you can bicker about crowds and corruption but when it comes to faith and belief, all these arguments somehow tend to fail and the mystery... continues to grow.

With so much mysticism on offer for the spiritualist seeker, it is no wonder that Tirupati Balaji as a spiritual destination today is one of the most sought after in a country blessed with countless pilgrimages. And we being yatris, this is one place we would like to see and experience, right? So, let’s go!

How to reach, Distances and Where to stay in Tirupati - Tirumala:

Air: Tirupati airport is located at Renigunta, which is about 15 km away from the city. Regular flights are available from Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Train travel: is by far the most convenient way to get to the holy town of Tirupati. Tirupati Main Railway Station is well connected by rail to all major cities in India. Some of the prominent trains that can be considered are: Delhi (Kerala Exp.), Mumbai (Kanyakumari Exp.), Bangalore (Sheshadari Exp.) and Chennai (Sapthagiri Exp.). Renigunta is another major rail head nearby.

Important Distances from Tirupati To - Chennai (130 kms.), Bangalore (240 kms.), Hyderabad (572 kms.)

Where to stay: Tirupati and Tirumala are packed with hotels and guest houses catering to all kinds of budgets and travelers. Search the net and plan and book your stay well in advance especially during festivals. We stayed in ISKCON Temple in Tirupati which I'd highly recommend for anyone and everyone looking out for cleanliness and peace. However, more details on that in the next post.

Tips for your Tirupati travel

1. Book your hotel well in advance: This is a must. Tirupati remains well packed and crowded at almost all times in the year. It is always good to plan and reserve your place of accommodation well in advance. You don't really want to spend your night in the car and then get up weary and cranky for the darshan the next day, do you?

2. Book your Sudarsahan ticket online for darshan: This ideally should be your choice. I do it, so I would recommend you to do the same as well. Book your darshan tickets online well in advance. There are separate tickets available at various TTD centers (online and offline) like the Rs. 50 Sudarshan Token which is more general in nature or Rs. 300 VIP line which as the name suggests, comes with a promise to save your time. We always go for the Rs. 50 Sudarshan token ticket and book it via their e-services. Do note that in case their e-quota gets full, you will need to book it at one of their nearest centers by going there in person.

A Word on Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD):

TTD functions a highly efficient and responsive website for its devotees in a bid to facilitate their online bookings for e-darshan and e-accommodation.

Please check out these links for bookings:

http://www.tirumala.org/darshan.htm
http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/

Postal Address:

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams 
TTD Administrative Building
K.T. Road , Tirupati 517 501
Andhra Pradesh. India.

24*7 Helpdesk enquiry number: +91-877-227 7777 / 223 3333


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30 comments:

  1. Sounds wonderful Arti. I guess traveling there without prior booking is not a good idea -- sounds like a very popular destination.

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  2. Very nice post. We visited Tirupati last December. Everything in Tirumala is divine.

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    1. True that Chitra. 'Divinity' is the word in Tirumala.

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  3. Arti, Good morning. Read your new yatra post on Tirupati Tirumala . Beautiful descriptions. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Have a nice weekend.

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  4. good to be visit your blog after a long time... being in the southern part, I have visited Tirupati a few times. It remains a favorite pilgrimage for many people... there are certain times in the year when there would be less crowd, during the exam times of march - april, during July - August. if you can schedule during this part, then the journey would remain memorable.

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  5. I visited Tirupathi in 1999 and really liked the cleanliness and organization with which the trust runs it!!!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  6. Hi Arti

    Turupathi is indeed the most spiritual destination of the south, it is wonderfull to know you enjoyed it

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  7. Hoping to win the lottery and for my mobility to improve so that I can visit all these places taking you with me as my personal tour guide of course.

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  8. Hi Arti: What a begining of post on divine Yatra to Tirupati Balaji. We have been fortunate to visit there and you have captured the essence and belief of Lord Venakteswara in very apt words. Looking forward to read more..thanks

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  9. You must be a good tour guide whom I should look for if I shall travel to India one day.

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  10. So good to hear you visited Tirupati, Arti! Its one of my fav temples, in spite of all the crowds, the noise, and the chaos. have been there 11 times so far, and hoping i can go again soon. this is one of the few temples i have really spent time at.... i once spent 10 days there!! but will still enjoy reading your view of the place.

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  11. There must be something special about the place as so many people keep coming back.

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  12. I learn so much every time I visit you! I'm a bit phobic about huge noisy crowds, so I really respect all these people willing to put up with that confusion in order to experience their visit with the Holy Lord Venakteswara.

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  13. Been there more than once and am enticed to visit again, Arti:)

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  14. GOVINDA is the cry of devotees there... which means o lord protect our govus... govus means a lot... cows, rays, the sense organs, the water, etc. hence in TOTAL GOVINDA IS TO PROTECT ALL THESE... GOVINDA GOVINDA_/\_.

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  15. you have provided a wealth of information here for the traveler, Arti, such details you put into, really very helpful for those who would check this place someday, I wish I could

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  16. The building look like kanchipuram , it's not allow to take pic inside there?

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    1. Taking pictures is allowed in the temple complex, Mareta - it is huge - but not inside the main temple.

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  17. You's be the pefect guide Arti, if we ever came to visit Trupathi - so much information in this post! Hope you have a super week!

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  18. Very readable post with lovely pictures Arti...

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  19. Thanks for giving wonderful info...nice post..last year i have been there.really beautiful temple.

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  20. A very informative post indeed..

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  21. Informative and helpful. But sorry to disagree on one point that the official website of the Devaswom board is not all user friendly. It is rather confusing and time consuming. But their helpline is fine. Hope you will publish your ISKON experience and the formalities needed for booking lodging there. God bless you Arti.

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    1. I have indeed published my experience of staying in the ISKCON temple, you may read it here: Where to stay in Tirupati: ISKCON Temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

      Thank you for your blessings. :-)

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  22. Good post regarding the best place of the world

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  23. ASSISTANCE FOR TIRUMALA DARSHAN PLEASE CONTACT: 9441419029

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  24. Whenever i visit Tirupati, even after bone crushingly tired, i feel the positive energy inside me that makes me wanting to see the place again and again. there are so many places to visit in tirupati other than temples which are worth a glance.

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  25. Sounds brilliant Arti. I figure going there without earlier reserving is not a smart thought - sounds like an extremely famous goal..

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Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

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