VISITING TIRUPATI & TIRUMALA

VISITING TIRUPATI & TIRUMALA.

Blog by llchennai: regularly updated when possible.

TIPS for March/April 2014: The recommendations from politicians have come down drastically, by 70%, and hence more time is allotted for Lagu Darshan or Dharma Darshan. Visit Tirumala now if you are in this category but before the end of April’14! Avoid March 13-17 since Float Festival (Teppotsavam) is taking place and there will be considerable crowd.

Change is the only constant thing in this world, especially in Tirupati. Practices can change overnight with no notice!

Most of the materials have been taken from the TTD official websites, their official Diary 2012 and other authentic websites. Hence you have the option to read directly from them. Only My Experiences and Tips are mine. What I have attempted here is to look at the whole gamut from the Pilgrim’s perspective and spoon-feed accordingly to save your time. However check all details, timings, booking periods and costs again at their Call Centre before you actually undertake this trip since my information might be outdated or sometimes wrong.

To use this blog effectively, decide what you actually want and read only those paragraphs relevant to you out of the  Paragraphs below.

I just want to know the basics about Tirupati temple, Dress Code for pilgrims and Non-Hindus and Abbreviations used commonly in Tirupati.  Read Para (1) alone.

I want all authentic details about Darshan and accommodation. Whom do I contact? Read Para (2) alone.

I want to have Darshan alone (just see Him for a few seconds). Read Para (3) alone.

I want to participate in Arjitha Seva such as Thomala Seva, Kalyanam etc. Read Para (4) alone.

I want to know the concessions for NRIs for Darshan. Read Para (5) alone.

I want to know the concessions for the physically handicapped people, aged people and persons with Infants. Read Para (6) alone.

I want to walk up the hills. Read Para (7) alone.

I want to drive up the hills in my vehicle. Read Para (8) alone.

I want to go by train for Tirupati Darshan. Read Para (9) alone.

I want to go by Air for Tirupati Darshan. Read Para (10) alone.

I do not have the energy and enthu to read all these; I  just want to use a Package Tour to have Tirupati Darshan. Read Para (11) alone.

I want to have Mottai/ Mundan/ Head Tonsure/ Hair offering at Tirumala. Read Para (12) alone.

I want to do Anga Pradhakshan inside the temple. Read Para (13) alone.

I want to offer Thulabharam equivalent to my weight. Read Para (14) alone.

I want to donate for TTD charities. Read Para (15) alone.

I want to offer Annadhanam one time. Read Para (16) alone.

I want to know what can be done at TTD Centres all over India. Read Para (17) alone.

I want to book accommodation at Tirumala Hills. Read Para (18) alone.

I want to book accommodation at Tirupati (foothills). Read Para (19) alone.

I want to buy Tirupati Laddus. Read Para (20) alone.

I want to volunteer at Tirumala without receiving any payment. Read Para (21) alone.

I want to know what are the other infrastructure facilities in Tirumala. Read Para (22) alone.

I want to celebrate my Marriage or Ear-boring or Upanayanam or Annaprasanna or Naamakarana or Sashtiapthapoorthy at Tirupati (foothills) or Tirumala (Hills).  Read Para (23) alone.

I am a Budget Pilgrim and want to have Dharshan with least expense. Read Para (24) alone.

Hope you have chosen what you want to read. Now go straight to the Paragraphs relevant to you.

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Para (1): I just want to know the basics about Tirupati temple, Dress Code  for pilgrims and Non-Hindus and Abbreviations used commonly in Tirupati.

One of the toughest jobs in the world is to visit Lord Balaji, considered to be the richest God in the world!

We need tremendous information and updation of information since the rules keep on changing without any notice. The crowd is so much that the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) authorities are a law unto them and they find it extremely difficult to manage this huge general crowd of almost one lakh pilgrims per day. VIPs also keep exerting pressure on them and the aam-aadmi is left to himself though the systems and procedures are pucca. They sometimes stop darshan abruptly, form a new queue and allow them to join the existing one, open various gates at various times to let in various groups of people known to various hierarchies within the TTD administration! This is one place where we cannot plan our trip properly and it is always advisable to keep at least half-a-day extra for the darshan! I am trying to find a pattern in this chaos. Let me try.

Tirupati and Tirumala are different; TIRUPATI is the town in the foothills in Chittoor District of southern Andhra Pradesh; airport is situated about 15 km away. Tirupati has a railway station (Railway code: TPTY) but the nearest Junction RENIGUNTA railway station (Railway code: RU), about 15 km from Tirupati, has more train connections. The name Tirupati / Thirupathi, means the ‘Thiru’s Pathi or the Lord of Lakshmi’.

TIRUMALA: is the top of the seven hills where Lord Venkateshwara Temple is situated. It is 23 km (15 miles) from Tirupati bus stand. The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft (1000 metres) above mean sea level, and is about 10 square miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven  hoods of Adisesha, the snake, thus earning the name, Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.

Sthala Vriksham: Tamarind tree (puliyamaram in Tamil, Huli in Kannada)

DEITIES TO BE WORSHIPPED in sequence:

First, worship at Sri Varahaswamy Temple (Sri Maha Vishnu in Varaha avatar, as Wild Boar); first and ancient shrine; situated at the north west corner of Pushkarini Tank north of the Main Temple.

Next, worship at the Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala’s main temple.

Finally visit Alamelu Mangapuram to worship Alamelu Thayar or Goddess Padmavathi Ammagaru, wife of Lord Venkateswara; temple is at Thiruchanur or Alamelu Mangapuram, 5 km from Tirupati Rly. Station. Do not stay in Thiruchanoor; better to stay in Tirupati and visit Thiruchanur; hence I am not giving any details about Cottages at Thiruchanoor.  [Our experience on 1.8.12: Alamelu Mangapuram or Thiruchanoor visit:  Free darshan was quite crowded; Rs.20 ticket line was ok; but the Rs.100 ticket/head (or kumkuma archana at Rs.200 for 2) was very fast, moreover, we could go very close to the Alamelu deity, could stand there for 5 full minutes, had nice darshan, 2 laddus free; Tips: for those coming from long distances, Rs.100/head is worth it].

If time permits visit other Vishnu temples nearby: Sri Govindaraja Perumal in Tirupati, Sri Kalyanavenkatesa Perumal at Srinivasa Mangapuram (10 km away) etc. Those visiting Tirupati might visit Sri Kalahasthi temple also (40 km), an ancient Shiva Temple where the Raghu-Kethu combine is believed to solve many astrological problems such as Kalasarpa Dosha, Infertility etc.

Who built this temple and when? The sanctum sanctorum or the basic temple is at least 1200 years old since the Pallava Kings of Kancheepuram had been worshipping and patronizing this in the 9th century AD. Thereafter the Chola and Pandya kings of Tamilnadu, Vijayanagaram emperors (14th Century AD), King Sri Krishna Deva Raya (his statue can be still seen inside the temple even today), Maratha General Raghoji Bhonsle, rulers of Mysore and Gadwal patronized this temple, gifted multi-crore donations and built its various facilities over the last 12 centuries; it escaped the Mughal attacks probably because of its hard terrain.

The Britishers kept away from it (and all other Hindu temples) and allowed the Hathiramji Mutt to manage these temples for 90 years from 1843 till TTD was formed in 1933 to manage this temple. The British did not interfere and respected the sentiments of the Indian people; many of them had also visited the temple and did whatever they could. Till about 1874, no Britisher climbed these seven hills and they prevented the missionaries from planting crosses in any part of these hills (even today this is followed).

Dress code: (Dress Restrictions) Ladies shall not wear flowers of any kind; all the flowers in the hills are only for the deity; no batteries/cells are allowed inside the temple and so DEFINITELY leave your cellphones, cameras, computers, and all other items with batteries in the car or in the room; there are cloak rooms to deposit these just outside the VQC but if you still want to take these inside you are at risk because they might find it out during x-ray and metal detection and put these items in the God’s Hundi since there is no provision to deposit these anywhere in the queue! Do not forget to take dhothi (white or coloured) or pants or plain pyjamas (not night dress) with shirt (no T-shirt please) for men; for Arjitha sevas, even pants and shirt are not allowed; saree and blouse or salwar kameez is allowed for women; pants and shirt for boys above 8 years; salwar for girl children above 8 years; shorts and skirts above knee level are not allowed for adults; but dhothi can be bought in shops in the hills for Rs.80-100 in case you have forgotten; hence go in traditional shirts/kurtas/jibbas.

Within the main temple complex, many security cameras have been installed to prevent corruption amongst temple workers!

Non-Hindus, wanting to have Darshan, need to sign a Declaration Form in triplicate affirming their faith in the Hindu gods wef 13.8.12; these forms are available at Vaikuntam Queue Complex (VQC) and in all TTD Enquiry offices; one copy will be returned to them.

Abbreviations used commonly in Tirupati (use only for reference, do not waste time reading these)

AAD: Archana Ananthara Darshan.

AEO : Asst. Executive officer.

ANC : A.N.Cottages.

CRO : Central Reservation Office.

GH: Guest House.

HVC : Hill View Cottages.

MBC : Mangal Bavi Cottages.

N.C : New Choultry.

N.G.G.H : Narayana Giri GH

PAC: Pilgrims Amenities Complex.

RBGH : Ram Bagicha Guest House

SNGH: Seshadri Nagar GH.

SPGH : Sri Padmavathi Guest House.

SPTC : Special Type Cottages.

SV University: Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.

SVGH: Sri Venkateswara Guest House

TBC :  Travellers Bungalow Cottages.

VQC: Vaikuntam Queue Complex.

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Para (2): I want all authentic details about Darshan and accommodation. Whom do I contact?

ADMINISTRATION AT TIRUPATI/TIRUMALA:

Call Centre: 24 hours/7 days: (0877) 22-33-333; 22-77-777, Toll free: 1-800-425-4141; they give correct info & are courteous; Call them first, confirm all details before taking further actions like sending DD for booking sevas and accommodation as some Sevas are not there on a few days.

For Sevas, call (0877) 226-3277, 226-3679.

For accommodation, call (0877) 226-3281,

Online booking Enquiry: (0877) 226-3883.

Their official Online booking website: http://www.ttdsevaonline.com (donations, accommodation up to Rs.2000/day, sudarshan Rs.50 tickets, Kalyanotsavam, suprabatham can be booked online; just 10 tickets per day is released online for Thomala seva and Archana).

Their official website: www. tirumala.org or www. tirupati.org.

Their official email: webmaster@tirumala.org

PRO Tirumala Tel= 0877- 227-9693 (10-5 pm).

PRO, Tirupati Tel= 0877- 223-2813 (10-5 pm).

The Executive Officer, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, TTD Administrative Building, K.T.Road, Tirupati 517 507.

Ph:0877-2231777, 0877-2232813 at TTD Public Relations Office, Tirupati. 0877-2277777

Guide at Tirumala:

Touts are discouraged by the temple administration. There are no official guides but I received a mail from someone who offered this service; tirupatibalaji.guide@gmail.com;  Also one Suresh (98850-25593) might be useful in taking care of your visit locally. I spoke to him once and he said tickets can be booked 60-90 days in advance with 99% certainty for kalyanam and Sahasra Deepa Alankara darshan seva or even for Suprabatham but add his service charge too. I have no idea if either is useful or genuine; if anyone has used his services, please share with others in this forum.

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Para (3): I want to have Darshan alone (just see Him for a few seconds).

Vaikuntam Queue Complex  (VQC):  is a series of inter-connected halls that leads to the main temple. This efficient queue system ensures that pilgrims move in an orderly fashion through the Queue Complex, which is clean, spacious and airy.  There are two VQCs, VQC-I is for paid darshans and VQC-II for free darshans. In VQC-II, food and beverages are provided for the waiting pilgrims free of cost periodically. Toilet and drinking water facilities are available in all halls; free Cloak rooms and free Chappal storage are available at the entrance of both Vaikuntam Queue Complexes; 31 huge waiting halls are there in each complex; each complex can accommodate 20,000 pilgrims at a time and can hence handle 90,000 devotees per day without any stampede; peak rush is when about a lakh converge for New Year, Brahmotsavam, Garuda Seva etc; but the average visitors per day is only 63,000; 9500 use Rs.50 tickets, 17500 use Seegra Darshan Rs.300 tickets, about 2500 use daily seva tickets; TTD also looks after the civic needs of another 20,000 permanant residents of Tirumala.

One day has only 86,400 seconds and hence one pilgrim will get only one second to have darshan even on a lean week day!

Sarva Dharshan : Sarva Darsanam is free darshan for ALL; no charges; but the line is long; waiting time can be over 24 hours on important days and just 2-3 hours on lean days; tips: line is usually short after 9 pm in case you are halting at Tirumala; on normal days, about 18 hours are allotted for Sarvadarsanam and on peak days, it is open for 20 hours. Now a biometric system has been introduced in this Free Darshan queue also so that you can get the available time, take rest or roam about and return at that time to reduce the fatigue of standing in queues for 18-24 hours. The timings for Sarvadarsanam are different on different days of the week. Please check the timings in http://www.tirumala.org/maintemple_programme.htm.his

Sudharshan Darshan  (Rs.50) Token System: Sudarsanam e-Darshan bar-coded biometric Token costs Rs.50 /head (Children below 12 years free); 2 small laddus worth Rs.20 free and so the effective ticket cost is only Rs.30/head; these are non-transferable since biometric (finger print) and photo are taken. Persons who buy these Sudarsanam tickets can go directly to VQC-I one hour before the time printed therein where they will verify the thumb impression and photo (sometimes). If you are already in Tirupati without buying the Sudarsanam ticket, there are three options available, either try in the internet (3 days earlier) or buy at Tirumala or better buy them from one of the following counters in Tirupati (foothills) on current booking basis: 1.Srinivasam Complex (0877-226-4745), 2. Alipiri Tollgate (0877-226-4576), 3.Alipiri Link Bus stand (0877-228-7785), 4.Renigunta near Railway Station (0877-226-4717), 5.2nd New Choultry behind Tirupati Railway Station (0877-226-4733), 6.Srivari Sannidhi in Alipiri Byepass Road,  7.  Bhudevi Complex at Tirupati; this is faster than the Sarva darshan (free) and slower than the Seeghra Darshan (Rs.300) but more importantly it is an appointment; the token is issued with date (of our choice) and entry time (at their choice in consultation with us); hence we can visit other places, have food, do shopping and finally turn up at the appointed time at the Vaikuntam Queue Complex-I; normally 5000 Sudarshan tokens are issued per day except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when only 2000 tokens are issued. But REMEMBER that only one token is issued per person and that the person has to be physically present at the counter since his/her photo and biometric finger prints are taken there. [Tips: if you want to go as a group, go to these ticket counters also as a group if you want the same date and same time]. [Tips: even if you are going for any other seva, it is advisable to invest in these Sudarshan tickets since you are sure of seeing Him even if there is some other last minute problem in the seva; or you get to see Him one more time at Rs.30/head].

(D)  AAD Darshan (Rs.200): 4am almost on all days:

Archana Ananthara Darshan is done soon after the 4 am Archana; long queue at VQC-I from 4 am onwards because 1000 AAD tickets (Rs.200/head) are issued per day; so better to reach at 4.00 am & leave chappals, cellphones, cameras and all electronic items in your room/car/cloak room at VQC-I (tips: sometimes the cloak room line also is pretty long, so leave at your room or car); carry only water, towels, keys, eatables, infant items, urgent medicines; AAD ticket barcode is scanned first in queue but photos and finger prints not usually verified; at 2nd point the staff counts the heads; at last point they take away half the ticket; takes 3 hours, we can come out at 7-8 am; greatest advantage of AAD is that we can see the Lord from 8-feet distance compared  to 25 feet distance for normal darshan; we get free laddus fast,  2 laddoos per head per AAD ticket at the Laddu Counter No.1; for Rs.50 e-dharshan ticket (2 laddus free), the laddu counter is separate; but all laddu counters are in one Laddu Complex near the exit. [FAQ: If I reach Tirumala by 6 pm, can I get the cellar darshan tickets for that day or next day or both? Answer: you have all options open; u can have darshan on that night itself or buy tickets for next day morning too]. [FAQ: Is there a real value for political recommendation letters? Answer: The recommendation letter from AP or Central Government politicians and ministers ARE useful in getting a faster entry thru cellar darshan AFTER it is approved by the official concerned in the cottage. In normal times, you can have darshan within a total time of 2-3 hours while the Rs.50 queue would take 4-7 hours. Rs.300 Seegra darshan ticket and the cellar darshan would take 2-4 hours, I think. Politician’s letters are more useful in getting Padmavathy Guest House accommodation which is not normally available to the common people. This is my personal experience and may not be fully true in everyone’s case].

Seegra Darshan (Rs.300) was introduced as Current booking tickets wef Sep2009; Rs.300 tickets are available ONLY at the 4 windows in the special counter in Vaikuntam Queue Complex-I at Tirumala and there is NO other means of booking it elsewhere or in the Internet or in advance; after taking the tickets, the pilgrims are directly allowed for Darshan. Seeghra Darshan tickets will be issued on all the Sarva Darshan timings as below; takes 1-3 hours normally to reach Balaji in off-peak season and double or triple the time during peak seasons; sometimes it can take 10 hours too! We took 1 hour exactly, on 5th Mar 2010, from VQC to Balaji darshan on a day when the free darshan took 8 hours and the free darshan for walkers took 2 hours (those who walk from the foothills are given special Divya darshan free coupons). My tips: many times it is advantageous to use the Rs.50 sudarshanam darshan rather than the Rs.300 Seegra darshan because of the time factor: I have seen long 1-3 hour queues in front of seegra darshan current booking counters, then stand in VQC for 2-4 hours, exit takes 1 hour and hence the total time needed is about 4-8 hours overall in seegra darshan whereas the ticket is pre-booked in various cities for Rs.50 tickets with time printed on it thus avoiding the first queue, join the queue at given time and spend 3-5 hours in queue thus taking about 4-6 hours only!  [FAQ: can we take 4 year old kid for darshan without taking darshan ticket for the kid? Answer: you need not buy Sudarsanam darshan ticket up to 12 year olds, for other darshans, please get confirmation from their call centre]. [FAQ: Can I buy Seegra Darshan tickets online in advance? Answer: No. It is sold only in the VQC-I queue counter on the date of the darshan]

Seeghra Darshan  (and Sarva Darshan) Timings:
Saturday,Sunday, Monday 4.00am to 5.00am , 7.00am to 6.00pm and 9.00pm up to Ekantha seva at 11pm.
Tuesday, Wednesday 09.00 am to 02.00pm .
Thursday 09.00am to 6.00 pm and 9.00pm to Ekanthaseva, 11pm.
Friday 10.00am to 6.00pm and 9.00pm to Ekanthaseva, 11pm.

Advisable to avoid festival times such as the Brahmotsavam in Sept and Teppotsavam in March every year.

Teppotsavam: Float Festival: This is a 5-day annual festival in Tirumala (March 13 to 17 in 2014); the processional deities of Lord Rama along with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman is taken in a grand procession to the Pushkarini Tank near the temple; these are mounted in a colourfully illuminated 2-tier Flotilla amidst vedic chants;  this float is dragged around the tank with temple musicains playing the traditional wind and percussion instruments; colourful cut-outs of Vishnu in various forms on the temple sides make for a grand visual treat. During these days, most of the Arjitha sevas are cancelled.

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Para (4): I want to participate in Arjitha Sevas such as Thomala Seva, Kalyanam etc.

SEVAS:

Seva meansService/Worship unto the Lord.

ARJITHA SEVA: These are participatory sevas where devotees who PAY are allowed in.

EKANTHA SEVA: These are non-participatory sevas where devotees are generally NOT allowed. This is done in private by the priests. However at 10.30 pm every night, the Lord is put to sleep by singing lullabies and this can be watched by devotees who pay Rs.120/ticket under Current Booking on the previous day (no advance booking for Ekantha Seva).

Refer http://www.tirumala.org/sevas_daily_start.htm for current and exact details such as timing, cost of ticket, prasadham given to devotees, days on which each seva is done and restrictions on children.

Arjitha Seva Counter No: 0877-226-3277, 227-7777 Extn:3679 to know if seva times have changed or any seva has been cancelled.

Generally there are 4 Ways of booking for Arjitha Seva and Accommodation:

(1) Internet, 90 days in advance.

(2) Advance Booking, 3 to 90 days in advance,

(3) Booking at TTD Information Centres 3-60 days in advance, and

(4) Current Booking (at Vijaya Bank, Tirumala) from 8 am on the previous day.

(1) Internet booking for seva and accommodation: http://www.ttdsevaonline.com; [Tips: online booking is a lot tougher than online train booking, so be prepared for the grind]; first register yourselves one time; user name and password are provided; only one seva ticket (one ticket can include many persons but everyone’s ID and photo would be needed) is allotted per registered user within 90 days from the date of the seva; for those sevas where only one person per ticket is allowed, one registered user can book a maximum of 2 persons per seva per day; there is an internet quota for most of the sevas; for thomala seva and archana, only 10 tickets are issued on internet per day and hence difficult to get; only Citicard is accepted as of now; ID is needed (acceptable IDs are the DL, Voter ID, PP or PAN); take print out; submit the print out at the 24-hours Internet Allotment Counter at the Sri Padmavathi GH (SPGH), in the last 24 hours for Seva; show the same ID which was used for Internet booking otherwise the Original Seva ticket will not be issued; submit Original Receipt for seva at VQC-I for darshan.

Only 7 sevas can be booked online:

Archana & Thomalaseva (perfomed only on Tue, Wed, Thu),

Kalyanam, Suprabatham and Vasanthotsavam (performed on all 7 days),

Nijapadha darshan (only on Fridays) and

Visesha Pooja (only on Mondays)

Internet procedure is the same as above for accommodation but we can book only Rs.100, Rs.150, Rs.500, Rs.750, Rs.1000 & Rs.2000 rooms through internet; particular number of rooms have been allocated for internet booking as below; book one accommodation and submit the print out at the 24-hours Internet Allotment Counter at the Sri Padmavathi GH (SPGH), in the last 24 hours for accommodation; show the same ID which was used for Internet booking; date advancement or postponement is possible if vacancy is there, but 25% penalty needs to be paid; no cancellation is allowed; this amount is added to the hundi collection automatically. http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/Home.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2feseva%2feSevaHome.aspx

{Sreedhar  says on 22.6.12: I have tried a few weeks back to book seva tickets online but it allowed me to book only one ticket for suprabatham seva! While trying to book another ticket, it gave me a message like ‘ticket already booked from this network please try after 90 days’. It is not allowing to book more than one ticket. But the instructions shows we can book 2 tickets maximum. How come the online reservation for seva ticket allows only one ticket? llchennai’s reply: TTD online booking is one of the most unreliable since they allot only 10 or so tickets per day for morning Sevas such as suprabatham, thomala and archana. Hence better to send DD 90 days in advance and book these Sevas}.

(2) Advance Booking by sending DD:  Pilgrims can reserve Arjitha sevas 90 days in advance and paid accommodation (only for the Rs. 100/- & Rs.50/- per day category) in Tirumala 60 days in advance of their visit; [tips: send DD 60 days in advance; you can send DD later also but the chance of getting the accommodation reduces drastically, so check availability of date with their call centre first and then send DD] .

For Sevas: ONLY eight Sevas given below can be booked by sending DDs; DDs can be sent 90 days in advance but at least 25 days before the desired seva date;  DDs are to be drawn in favour of the “Executive Officer, TTD, Tirupati” payable at Tirupati or Tirumala on any nationalized bank but the DDs should be sent to “AEO, Arjitham Office, Tirumala – 517 504, Andhra Pradesh”; (Ph: 91-0877-226-3589, 226-3679 for seva Ticket enquiry).  Other documents needed with DD are (1) Request letter (covering letter) regarding the seva are you opting for (provide 3 or 4 alternative dates also) (2) Xerox of Photo ID such as Pan Card, Ration Card, Driving Licence, Voter ID, Aadhar Card etc and we must compulsorily take the original ID cards when we go for Darshan since they might want to verify this at Vaikuntam entrance; please note that separate Request letter with Photo ID + separate DD are needed for EACH pilgrim for each seva; I learnt it the hard way by sending one DD for Rs.480 for 4 of my family members in Dec 2012 which was returned to me after 15 days in Jan 2013 asking for 4 separate DDs;  TTD should include this clause in all their communications regarding Seva booking by DD instead of writing to us later; within 20 days of their receipt of DD, we get a Seva Ticket provided you give the correct address and your telephone number; the Demand Draft for Advance Booking of sevas are accepted ONLY for the following sevas: Suprabhatam (3am, Rs.120), Kalyanothsavam (12 noon, Rs.1000 for a couple, kid less than 5 years are normally allowed with the couple), Dolothsavam Unjal (1pm, Rs.200), Arjitha Brahmothsavam (2pm, Rs.200), Visesha Pooja (6am, Rs.600, only on Mondays), Vasanthothsavam (3pm, Rs.300), Sahasra Deepalankarana seva (5.30pm, Rs.200), Nijapada darshanam (5am, Rs.200, only on Fridays). To postpone/advance: check availability over phone and send original Ticket with a fresh DD towards 25% penalty to the Peishkar with 3 new date choices. Such DD booking is NOT available for the popular Thomalaseva and Archana sevas. No advance booking for Ekantha Seva; for full details see <http://www.tirumala.org/Advance%20Booking.htm&gt;.

For accommodation: for better rooms, from Rs.200 to Rs.2000, use online accommodation booking; only Rs.50 and Rs.100 rooms can be booked through the DD system as follows; write to the Assistant Executive Officer (Reception-I), TTD, Tirumala – 517504 at least 2 months in advance; if you do not have 2 months’ time, speak to them first at 0877-226-3281 and then send DD. The letter will have to be accompanied by a demand draft favouring  “The Executive Officer, TTD”, payable at Tirupati, and drawn on any nationalized bank; preferably give 3 alternative dates or tell them that your seva ticket has been booked for a particular date end enclose a xerox; keep DD xerox with you; will get Confirmation slip by post; after reaching Tirumala, show the Confirmation Slip at ARP Counter, CRO (Central Reception Office), TTD, Tirumala. If the devotees have not received acknowledgement or confirmation letters from the AEO (RO-I) TTD, Tirumala, they may dial 0877-2277777, 2233333 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. except on holidays or 0877 – 2277777, 2233333 at any time and get information by giving DD/MO particulars. particular number of rooms have been allocated for advance booking by DD as below.

Separate DDs should be sent for each room.

(3) Booking at TTD Centres all over India: see Para (17) below for booking of seva and accommodation through these centres; but only a few sevas and two category of rooms (Rs.50 and Rs.100 rooms) can be booked through these e-Darshan counters.

(4) Current Booking: Current Booking is the facility to book Arjitha sevas one day in advance or for the same day if tickets are still available. Available from 8 am on all days for the sevas on the next day at Vijaya Bank counter just opposite to the VQC-I; we need to go in person because biometric is needed; no cancellation/postponement is allowed [tips: many people go and stand in the queue at 5-6 am itself for the 8 am opening of the counter and hence limited ticket sevas get sold out early].

Laddu Padi Seva: is another option for devotees with no bookings if you can pay more; no advance bookings and only current bookings at the Arjitham Seva Counter (Vijaya Bank counter) opp.to the VQC-I on a Daily basis but to a limited extent; sometimes cancelled without notice; ticket sale starts at 8 am; we are allowed through Cellar darshan (1-4 hours) and are given a few Big Laddus weighing more than ½ kg each as Bahumanam/gift as follows: 3 different tickets for 2, 3, 5 persons;  Rs.1000 ticket allows 2 persons and we get 5 big laddus; Rs.1500 ticket allows 3 persons and we get 8 big laddus;Rs.2500 ticket allows 5 persons and we get 15 big laddus; even NRIs can try this if they are at Tirumala before 8 am; if you are lucky to have a lesser crowd, you can use this darshan.

Advance booking Quota of accommodation allotted for each category:

Rs.50 accommodation: 150 rooms by DD & 330 rooms by e-darshan. No tickets through Internet.

Rs.100 accommodation: 150 rooms by DD, 405 rooms by e-darshan & 170 rooms through Internet.

Rs.150, Rs.750, Rs.1000 & Rs.2000 accommodation: None by DD & e-darshan. 10 tickets each through Internet.

100-150 rooms are earmarked for persons carrying recommendation letters from MLAs, MPs, Ministers et.al. and such persons have to approach TBC Allotment Counter. VIPs and Padmavathi Nagar GH Donors are allotted 492 rooms in SPGH (Sri Padmavathi GH) area through Allotment SPGH Counter.

SEVA: the following sevas are to be booked 2 to 3 months in advance:

DAILY SEVAS:

03.00 am: Suprabhatam for Main Deity: all 7days; Rs.120/head; 200 tickets/day; can be booked in Internet; 2 small laddus free. ‘Suprabhatam’ is the first and foremost seva at Tirumala, Suprabhatam signifies the ritual performed at Sayana Mandapam to wake up the Lord from His celestial sleep, amidst chanting of the hymns. Soon after this singing, the devotees can have darshan of the Lord which is also called the Viswarupa Darsanam.

03.30 am: Thomala Seva for Main Deity: 3 days a week from Tue to Thu; this is performed in Ekantham from Friday to Monday and hence we cannot partake; no Thomala Seva in May, June, July; Rs.220/head; 2 small laddus free. The presiding deity of Lord Srinivasa is exquisitely decorated with floral and tulasi garlands during this seva which takes about 30 minutes. ‘Thomala’, short form of the Tamil expression ‘Thodutha Mala’, denotes the decoration of the deities with garlands. This is in great demand and there are only 3 ways to get the Thomalaseva tickets: either try online booking 90 days before at 12 midnight as soon as the date opens (only 2 tickets per IP Address); OR stand in queue from 5 am and buy from Vijaya Bank Current Booking counter at Tirumala at 8 am for the next morning seva; OR use VIP influence and buy it through backdoor. Please note that this seva has NO advance booking and that 99% of the touts would cheat you since they cannot get the tickets normally.

04.30 am: Archana for Main Deity: 3 days a week from Tue to Thu; this is performed in Ekantham from Friday to Monday and hence we cannot partake; no Archana in May, June, July; Rs.220/head; 200 tickets/day; only 10/day can be booked in Internet; 2 small laddus free. This is Sahasranama Archana to the main deity Lord Venkateswara performed amidst chanting of one thousand name of the Lord. This occurs immediately after ‘Suprabhatam’ and Thomala seva. This is in great demand and there are only 3 ways to get the Archana tickets: either try online booking 90 days before at 12 midnight as soon as the date opens (only 2 tickets per IP Address); OR stand in queue from 5 am and buy from Vijaya Bank Current Booking counter at Tirumala at 8 am for the next morning seva; OR use VIP influence and buy it through backdoor. Please note that this seva has NO advance booking and that 99% of the touts would cheat you since they cannot get the tickets normally.

05.00 am: Archana Anantara Darshanam (AAD) is not a seva but darshan time for Main Deity: 1000 persons are allowed to have darshan soon after Sahasranama Archana; except Fridays (when u can choose Nija Pada Dharshanam); Rs.200/head; 2 small laddus free; 1000 tickets/day; can be booked at all TTD Centres.

05.00 am: Nija Pada Dharshanam is not a seva but darshan time for Main Deity: Fridays only (no AAD on Fridays). Rs.200 for 1 person. Similar to AAD as above.

10.30 am: Kalyanotsavam: Srivari Kalyanotsavam is performed to the utsava murti (not the Main Deity) called Lord Sri Malayappa swami and his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi in the marriage hall in the Sampangi  Pradakshinam near the sanctum sanctorum on all 7 days of the week; Rs.1000 for 2 persons [not necessarily a couple]; will get one silk dupatta, blouse piece, 2 big laddu, 5 small laddu, 2 large vadai per Rs.1000 kalyanam ticket  free as bahumanam/gift;  See our experience below.

01.00 pm: Dolotsavam daily; Rs.200 for 1 person.

02.00 pm: Arjitha Brahmotsavam daily; Rs.200 for 1 person. (Rs.1000 for 5)

03.00 pm: Vasantotsavam  daily; Rs.300 for 1 person.

05.30 pm: Sahasra Deepa alankara seva:  daily; Rs.200 for 1 person.(Rs.1000 for 5)

10.30 pm: Ekantha seva: daily at 10.30 pm; Rs.120 for 1 person; Ekanta Seva is the last ritual among the daily sevas. Sarvadarsanam comes to a close with Ekanta Seva. Sri Bhoga Srinivasa Murthi, the silver image of the main deity is seated in the Sayana Mantapam in a golden cot. During Ekanta seva, a descendant on Annamacharya sings lullabies to put the Lord to sleep. Thereafter the Lord is awakened only at 3 am with Suprabatham.

Kalyanotsavam: our experience on 1.8.2012: we joined the Kalyanotsavam seva; went to VQC at 9.30 am and stood for 2 hours in line; actually we wasted 1 hour in the line; tips: it is enough if we go to VQC at 10.30 am for the kalyanam since last entry allowed is at 11.15am; nearly 300 people sit in the kalyanam hall from 12 to 1 pm; they gave 2 big laddus, 2 big vadas, 5 small laddus free per kalyanam ticket (2 persons; kids free); rear entrance of the kalayanam hall was opened to let out people; tips: if main deity is more important for you, better strategy would be to sit in the rear, do not go forward for prasadam or vastram, exit as soon as the rear doors are opened, and be the first to have darshan; dharshan 1pm-2pm; exited at 2.30pm.

Kalyanotsavam: our experience in 2010: Reporting time 10.30 am, kalyanam for Lord and Alamelumangal at 12 noon; Remember: Pants and shirts NOT allowed for Kalyanam;  Dhothi (Pancha) and Towel (Kaksha) are compulsory; sarees for ladies and no chudidhars; generally entry allowed only for couple but we could see unmarried girls/boys also; they give pattu thundu (silk towel) and blouse piece, one silver coin at entrance, then sangalpam, keep two Rs.10 notes ready for the priests, then get seats in kalyanotsavam enclosure; seating is 20 to 200 feet from the stage/god, hall has CCTV and enough fans, takes 2 hours for kalyanam most of which was not worth the time, could have been shorter; then move forward to get theertham and sadari, keep two Rs.10 notes ready, they distribute prasadam in exit queue (2 big laddu, 5 small laddu, 2 large vadai per Rs.1000 kalyanam ticket), then join short queue near kodimaram for darshan of main deity, takes 20 minutes, then theertham, vimana venkateswarar darshan, hundial, prasadam, exit at 3pm. [FAQ: Can we buy kalyanotsavam tickets and see the deity directly without partaking in kalyanotsavam? Answer: No; it is compulsory; after the kalyanotsavam is over, the entire group is led to the inner queue for a fast darshan]. [FAQ: We want to participate in lord balaji’s kalyanam… but I have a 7 months old baby….. can he sit with us while doing the kalyanam? Answer: as fas as I know taking a 7-m old baby for kalyanotsavam is absolutely no problem; take enough milk, water, diaper etc; if u still want confirmation talk to their Call Centre at Hyderabad].

WEEKLY SEVAS AND ABHISHEKAM: To be booked 1-15 years in advance:

Mondays: Visesha Pooja: 06.30 am; Rs.600 for 1;

Tuesdays: Astadala pada Padmardhanam: 05.30 am; Rs.1250 for 1;

Wednesdays: Sahasra Kalasabhishekam: 05.30 am; Rs.850 for 1;

Thursdays: Thiruppavada Seva: 05.30 am; Rs.850 for 1;

Fridays: Vastra alankara seva: 04.00 am; Rs.12,250 for 2; Vastram is worn only on Fridays; 21 yards of specially woven pure silk cloth weighing about 6 kg; pay for this seva and wait for about 6-7 years.

Fridays: Poora abhishekam: 04.00 am; Rs.750 for 1;

Fridays: Civet vessel/Punugu Ginne: 04.00 am; Rs.300 for 1;

Fridays: Musk Vessel/Kasturi Ginne: 04.00 am; Rs.150 for 1;

Thiru Manjanam Abishekam every Fri Rs.750/head book 5 years in adv. Check with call centre. Abishegam would cost about a Lakh of rupees for the temple and we need to wait for 5-6 years; most ingredients are imported from Spain (saffron), France & China (perfumes), Nepal (kasthuri) and added to sandalwood; performed from 4.30 to 5.30 am; abishega water flows into nearby Pushkarani tank through pipes and so people take bath in it.

RESCHEDULING: of all sevas is allowed ONCE but 5 days in advance subject to availability and on payment of 25% extra cost and on production of original receipt. Can be done in Internet if tickets were bought in Internet originally.

The devotees who have booked any of these Arjitha sevas should report before 8 pm on the previous day of their prescribed seva option at the MBC-34 (Arjita Seva  ticket  counter) at Tirumala without fail. If not, they will be treated as absentees and such slots will be allotted to devotees under the current booking through randomised numbering system wef March 2012 (as per the TTD Press Release). This means that we must plan to be in Tirumala at least by 7 pm the previous day.

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Para (5): I want to know the concessions for NRIs for Darshan.

NRIs can book whatever a local resident can book in the Internet; if they are on an urgent visit without booking, they can get AAD darshan tickets for the next day morning 5 am, if they reach Tirumala before 12 noon (preferably at 10 am) and meet JEE in Padmavathi Guest House to get tickets for Sevas for the next day. NRIs cannot join the AAD tickets of local residents who have registered earlier.

If they just want a darshan, they can meet the official (Deputy EE or Joint EE) at ATC-115 (old Cottage near the Vaikuntam Queue Complex near the banks (Vijaya / BOI / Andhra bank) from 10 am to 10 pm for a normal break darshan (this short queue takes 1 – 4 hours) along with many others who also wait there carrying some recommendation letter from their MPs/MLAs);  NRIs should produce Passports and their Visas and get permission slip; passport must have either a valid visa or foreign address though they may or may not check; only the passport holder is allowed /passport;  if Indian residents accompany NRIs even they can produce their passports and get entry along with NRIs; do not forget to exchange this permission slip into darshan tickets by paying Rs.100 at the MCB-34 cottage.  [Our experience: we assumed that the permission slip is THE ticket; we got the permission slip at 9.50 pm, took 30 minutes to put our luggage in the cloak room, returned to Cellar at 10.20 pm only to find that the Cellar darshan was still open but we had not converted our permission slip to Ticket in the bank counter before 10 pm; so we missed it; but tried sarva darshan in VQC-II where the crowd was very less at 10.30pm and had darshan within an hour just before Ekantha seva].

One good option for NRIs is to reach Tirumala by 9 am, go to ATC-115, get permission slip at 10 am, exchange it for a Rs.100 ticket in the bank counter nearby and join cellar darshan at 10.30 am and come out at 1 pm. 2 laddus free for this ticket. OR just go to VQC, buy Rs.300 Seeghra Darshan ticket and finish darshan in 2-3 hours on a normal day. [FAQ: I am an NRI. Will NRI cellar darshan be better or the Seegra Darshan ? Answer: NRI cellar darshan is time-dependent; allowed only at breaks; seegra darshan, also called pratyega pravesa, has larger time window; former costs Rs.100 while the latter costs Rs.300; may be try both depending on the crowd on that day and see Him twice].

{Jaideep on 8.6.12: If you are an NRI, you should take advantage of the special Q at Sampadam gate that is near the VQC-I area; NRIs, defence personnel, Donors, TTD personnel & their families, parents with infants (i.e. children under age 1) can use this which is probably the fastest Q for darshan (unless you are a VVIP). I entered this Q at 2:30 on 8.6.12 and I joined the Seegra darshan batch of 11:00am which is a saving of 3-1/2 hours}.

If you happen to be halting at Tirumala overnight, you can also try for Laddu Padi Seva (see Para-4 above) since it has no advance booking and has only current booking which opens at 8 am at Vijaya Bank counter opp.to VQC-I. [Tips: be there in the line by 6 am]. {Jaideep on 8.6.12:  There is a lottery system now available for some early morning sevas. i.e TTD now offers a few slots for Thomala seva, Archana etc that is offered to the general public via a daily lottery system for next morning’s sevas. To try your luck with this lottery system, go to the Vijaya Bank counter opposite to the C.R.O and register anytime between 11 am & 5 pm. The draw happens at 5 pm and the lucky few for the 5-10 slots are chosen on a daily basis; they have 3 hours to pay the seva fee (8 pm) and go for the seva next morning}

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Para (6): I want to know the concessions for the physically handicapped people, the aged people, the persons with Infants for Darshan.

[The Hindu dated 10th Nov 2012 reports: TTD Board trustee N. Kannaiah said "Though the TTD had a scheme where senior citizens (aged above 65 years) and the differently abled could have quick darshan, many are not aware of the facility and stood in long queues. Such pilgrims should send a requisition by ordinary or registered post three days in advance addressed to the Joint Executive Officer of TTD (see address above). On arrival, they could get an attestation from his office on the letter and they can directly enter the temple through the main entrance for quick darshan”].

This special darshan is arranged for the physically disabled and the aged through a separate gate called the P.H.Gate (or Physically Handicapped Gate) at the Maha Dwaram i.e. the main temple entrance, in three time slots every day i.e. 10 A.M., 3 P.M. and 10 P.M. If needed, such pilgrims can be normally accompanied by one attendant. There is an age limit for senior citizens (65 years and above), the staff at the Maha Dwaram might ask for age proof (so carry an ID with Date of Birth); for those who need wheel chairs, get it from the nearby Ram Bagicha GH opposite to the temple; wheel chairs are allowed up to the Maha Dwaram; thereafter the Scouts and Guides will guide them into the sanctum sanctorum;  they are asked to wait inside the temple in a special waiting hall exclusively constructed for them till their darshan time; Infants along with parents are given a shorter line through Supadham entry on the left side of the temple. [Swami's comments on 29.8.12:  Joined supadam queue with my infant daughter; took 1 hr for darshan]. 

Physically challenged persons and senior citizens (age not specified by TTD, safe to assume it to be 75 or 80 years) can have direct entry in a separate queue through Mahadwaram (Main entrance) wef 1.8.2012 at 10 am, 3 pm and 10 pm.

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Para (7): I want to walk up the hills.

About 15,000 walk up the hill daily on an average and this peaks to 54,000 for Garuda Seva; these devotees take only 3-4 hours on normal days to see Him thanks to the Divya Darshan tickets issued to them on the way. The ‘walkers’ also get a ‘free’ laddu besides the existing two subsidized laddus at Rs.10 apiece wef 1.10.13.

There are two well-laid stone walkways leading to Tirumala. These paths are called sopana margas.

The more popular of the two sopana margas  which starts from Alipiri at the foot of the hills, is about 9 km in length, and is the regular route. Walking from foothills takes 3- 4 hours for normal persons and 6-8 hours for persons with poorer health; best time to walk: leave Alipiri (Garuda statue at the beginning of the Ghat Road) at 4 to 6 am and reach temple at 8 to 9.30am; APSRTC runs free buses from the Tirupati Railway station to Alipiri, with a frequency of 30 minutes. Pilgrims who intend to walk up the hills to Tirumala can use these buses. If you go in your car, you can park it in Alipiri and then walk. If driver is available you can ask him to go up and wait in Tirumala.  Deposit your luggage [compulsory to lock these bags; modified in Nov 2012 as below] in the cloak room counter just before climbing; transportation of luggage is done free of cost by TTD staff, to Tirumala. Pilgrims will be given a token when they deposit their luggage at any of the choultries  in Tirupati or at the Toll Gate in Alipiri. You can take delivery of your luggage at the Central Reception Office Counter at Tirumala; but keep your wallet, camera and other valuables with you while walking.

[The Hindu dated 10th Nov 2012 reports: TTD Board trustee N. Kannaiah said "Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) will soon procure baggage strap machines to secure and accept unlocked luggage of devotees undertaking ‘padayatra’ to reach the hilltop  Tirumala. On an average, about 26,000 pilgrims undertake ‘padayatra’ on a normal day. TTD has cloak facilities only for locked baggage of the devotees for free transportation to Tirumala. A large number of devotees come from rural areas and they are not aware of the rules and hence do not bring locks. Hence baggage strap machines like those in the airports will be installed soon"]

Normally we are supposed to walk barefoot since the whole mountain is considered sacred and your feet get an acupuncture treatment; but none would object if you wear your footwear; normally 50-60% walk with their chappals on; hence diabetics, with soft heels, must carry their footwear or socks and use them if they need it after some distance; people with knee arthritis, heart problems, asthma and very old people must consult their doctors beforehand, though many in these categories often complete their walk successfully, merely out of their willpower to see Him; walk on empty or light stomach; eat just enough for 2 hours and carry light refreshments like bread, biscuits, fruits and water. Walk in group or join a group; first one hour up to ‘Gali’ Gopuram (Empty Gopuram) is steep and tough, has about 2080 steps and you may need to rest often; potable water and toilets are available at optimal distances; walkers get a fast FREE darshan pass, called DIVYA DARSHAN token, to see Him early, in 1-2 hours on lean days; this is issued at a place called ‘Namala Konda’ just after crossing the Gali Gopuram on the left side, in a counter that can be easily missed and so look for it deliberately; . Photos are taken in this counter, to facilitate free darshan, free accommodation (P.A.C) and free food facilities at Tirumala. Soon after this, there are many shopkeepers who sell refreshments including snacks and light tiffin (such as Dosa, Idli, Pongal, poori) at a nominal cost. Take a break for some time here and then proceed. From this point onwards the walk would be easier for the next 6 km since the path is flat but for the last stretch of about 1500 steep steps, referred to as ‘Muzhangaal Mudichu’ in Tamil (‘Knee Knot’); we are forced to walk on the bus road for about 2 km. After walking a couple of kilometers from the Hanuman statue, another ticket checkpoint has been set up (easily visible) where you need to get the Divya darshan tickets ‘stamped’ by these Vigilance officials; without these stamps, you will not be allowed for the special darshan being offered to such pedestrians. Please remember that this Divya Darshan ticket is valid for 24 hours from the likely time of your arrival and hence there is no need to have darshan on the same day. You would have climbed 3350 steps in all. [Tips for elders above 50 years: do not walk fast, you will gasp for breath, walk slowly without straining yourselves; you will be happy to see many on the way who are older than you!]. [FAQ: When is the best time to walk up the hills? Answer: Best time to walk is when there is no sun. 4am-10am and 3pm-9pm are ideal. AVOID 10 pm to 4 am since wild animals are active some times. The pedestrian path is open 24 hours though. Avoid sweating in the hot sun too, between 11am and 2pm even though most of the pathway has a concrete roof to protect you from rain and sun. Constant patrolling is done by security forces to prevent pilgrims from being cheated or robbed by unscrupulous elements].  [FAQ: If I go by walk, how difficult is the climb for an average 45 yr old man? I had some back issues so am wondering if I can endure the walk. Answer: climb for an average 45 year old normal person is no problem at all; but if you have back pain and if you cannot walk/climb for 4 hours, better to drop the idea or join your group for the last 1 hour; after the walk you have to stand upright for 4 hours at least in the darshan queue; can u stand continuously for 8 hours is what you need to consider]

The new sopana marga (Srivari mettu)  from Chandragiri, is only about 5 km in length but is less popular. However healthy people who walk up regularly by the old route are now choosing the Srivari Mettu route and swear by it as a better, well-planned, shorter route. Srivari Mettu pathway starts at a place 1 km away from Srinivasa Mangapuram which is 11 km away from Tirupati; APSRTC runs free buses to this place too; this route is fully made up of steps, no trekking, a bit steep, but short, taking only 2 hours or so; carry own food because food is not available there; always go in groups;  in this route also, biometric Divya Darshan tickets are issued at around 1500th step to get fast darshan; but vigilance will check it again on the way and their stamp on this ticket is a must to make it valid; however if you prefer trekking instead of climbing steps, prefer the old Alipiri route. [Tips: there are many interesting and detailed blogs on Walking to Tirumala, read them if you plan to walk for the first tme].[Swami's comments on 29.8.12: We left Tirupathi hotel in the early morning for Srivaari mettu for walking up to tirumala, this place is somewhere 35 to 40 KMs away from railway station; it took two and a half hrs for our whole family members to climb up the foot steps].

[R.Sethuraman's experience on 27.11.13:  Step No.250 Mysore GopuramDist to Tirumala 8.6 Km. Step No. 300 Rajavalu ( I hope my spelling is right.) Gopuram 8.3 Km to Tirumala.Next Yelakkuyala Mandapam Step No2083 gali Gopuram Time 1020 Hrs. Got Divya Dharshan Ticket , had breakfast ,rested a while.and continued from Gali Gopuram by 1050 Hrs. Step No. 2104 Chittekkudu (beginning) (Link road) Chinnamedu begins. 7.3 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2300 Chittekkudu (ending) 6.9 Kms to Tirumala.(Milestone says 7 Kms) Step No. 2530 Poorilla Mandapam.6.5 Kms to Tirumala.Time 1125Hrs.  Step No. 2567 Deer Park 6.2 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2680 . 7th Mile. Shri Prasanna Anjaneya Swamy Temple is here. 5.8 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2760 Dorsani Mandapam 5.4 Kms to Tirumala.Step No. 2830 Kotha Mandapam 4.4 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2840 Muggubavi Mandapam 3.9 Kms to Tirumala. At Pathanjali Vana Resting, TTD had arranged a very hot fantastic Sambar Rice . Time 1300 Hrs. Step No. 2852 Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple 3.8 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2910 Mokalimitta Gopuram 2.4 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 3260 Bashyakaryaly Sannadhi 2 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 3550 Tirumala 1425 Hrs] Read his full account below in Comments.

Another interesting blog which I like (on walking up the hills):

http://praveenjangira.blogspot.in/2011/09/tirupati-to-tirumala-by-footpath.html

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Para (8): I want to drive up the hills in my vehicle.

From Chennai: Car travel takes about three hours from Chennai to Tirupati, about 180 km, via. Poonamallee, Tiruvallur, Tiruttani, Puttur, Tirupati.

From Bengaluru: Take NH69 and NH75 thru Hoskote, Kolar, Palamaner and Chittoor;  250km approx; 4-5 hours of driving; Chittor has many restaurants.

Fill in the fuel near Tirupati Bus Stand itself since there is no petrol bunk after the bye-pass Road to Tirumala or at Alipiri; however there is a petrol bunk in Tirumala hills; Rs.15 ghat road ticket for own car (Rs.25 for taxies); Rs.30 for own SUVs (Rs.50 for hired SUVs); own vehicles are allowed up to 12 seats (people tell me that sometimes they do not permit Tempo Traveller though Tata Winger is allowed); beyond that we should park our vehicles in Alipiri Parking Lot and board the APSRTC buses; the Ghat Road is generally open for 24 hours for private cars; but it is open only from 3 am to 12 midnight for two-wheelers; it is open for all traffic for 24 hours during Brahmotsavam and New Year days; takes 35-45 mts uphill; security check is done for own vehicles and package tour buses at Alipiri just before the Ghat Road entry ticket counters; they look for not only bombs, ammunition and explosives but also for meat products, tobacco, cigarettes, liquor and other banned substances; after reaching Tirumala, go to TTD Information complex and exchange the slip for accommodation vouchers, if accommodation was booked earlier in TTD Centres (Rs.100 paid at Chennai; Rs.200 refundable caution deposit paid per room at this counter where we can get accommodation in all guest houses except Padmavathy area GHs, the VIP guest house; normally room costs Rs.100-2000;  for all rooms, it is 24 hour check out; better to take a lock for your room, a torch & bed sheets; rooms have geysers; allot 30 minutes for check out; room boy checks; gets officer’s signature; the officer expects money to expedite the refund (Rs.20 per refund) though not essential; get cash from the bank counter in the Guest House; Laddu token for 2 laddoos/person are available in the queue at Rs.10/laddu; extra laddus are available at Rs.25 but at 2 different points in the same queue; after darshan, go to laddu counter outside the temple exit; too much of crowd since counter opens only at 2 am; laddu counter is normally free at 7 am; [FAQ: If my car breaks down on the Ghat Road, will I get any help? Answer: Yes; please contact the Toll Gates either at Tirupati or at Tirumala or call 0877-2263636 for immediate help. A mechanic will be sent in a mobile van equipped with spares, to attend to the problem. Charges are reasonable; tips: why not enter this phone number in your cellphone beforehand?]. [FAQ: are the roads dangerous for self-driving? Answer: No. But your car must be in good condition; radiator boiling, poor brakes, worn out clutches, poor driving skills and unnecessary overtaking would cause problems. Water is available for radiator at many places while climbing. While climbing down, do not switch off the engine to save fuel; bends are dangerous; while negotiating downward slopes, use the same gear that you would use for climbing up that particular slope. Actually there are two roads, one for going up and the other for coming down; the old ghat road built in 1944 is used for coming down now since it has about 40 sharp hairpin bends; the new ghat road built in 1974 with just 4 hairpin bends is used for climbing up; distance is 19km approx.]. Car parking space is not a problem in Tirumala. There is a large car park close to VQC-I where you can safely leave your car. Almost all cottages and GHs have car parking space.

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Para (9): I want to go by train for Tirupati Darshan.

Train connections are available to Tirupati or Renigunta (10 km) from almost all cities in India; refer www.irctc.co.in for full details. Tirupati Railway Station: 0877-222-5810, Railway Reservation System at Tirupati: 0877-222-5850, 225-1131. A special feature in Tirupati is the RCRT or Road cum Rail Ticket which allows you to book up to Tirumala which has no train facility.

If we go by train, how do we travel FROM Tirupati to Tirumala? There are three options: costliest option is to use private cabs available there; second option is to use the Prepaid Cabs run by the Tirupati Traffic Police to all temples in Chittoor district including Tirumala and their counter is just outside the Railway Station; but the cheapest way is to use APSRTC buses which ply from 3.30 am till midnight at 2-minute intervals; charges are approximately Rs.30 per adult and 15 for kids, Rs.54 for Return journey (to and fro); in peak season, there are huge queues for even buying bus ticket; hence buy the Return tickets in Tirupati itself to avoid queues at Tirumala again; return tickets are valid for 3 full days; when the rush is great during Brahmotsavam, New Year etc, buses ply every minute and 24 hours a day.

  • Sri Venkateswara Bus Station (SVBS): Pilgrims arriving by train can use SVBS, which is located just opposite the Tirupati Railway Station. Whenever trains arrive, buses are stationed right in front of the main gate of the railway station, for the convenience of pilgrims.
  • Balaji Link Bus Station (BLBS): For the convenience of pilgrims arriving from Bangalore, BLBS is situated at Alipiri, at the foot of the hills. There is ample space for parking
  • Sapthagiri Link Bus Station (SLBS): SLBS serves pilgrims who arrive from Chennai, Hyderabad and Vijayawada sectors.  SLBS is located in the Central Bus Station Complex.
  • Sri Padmavathi Bus Station (SPBS): SPBS is located at the rear of the Tirupati Railway Station, and caters mainly to the needs of pilgrims arriving in tourist buses.

If we go by train, how do we travel within Tirumala? If you can walk 2-3 km then you can as well walk; if not, use the Free Bus Service that pass through cottages, choultries, temples and other places in Tirumala at prescribed timings. [FAQ: Can I book trains at Tirumala hills for my return journey? Answer: Yes. At the Railway Counter at the CRO, Central Reception Office]

[FAQ: How do I go from Chennai by train? Answer: Trains from Chennai Central leave at 6.25 am (Saptagiri Express), 1.50pm etc for Tirupati Main station via. Renigunta Jn (RU) and return to Chennai Central at 9 pm or so; there are daily passenger trains too. These tickets, if available, can be booked online in the railway site; or use tatkal at 8 am one day prior to the date of travel (e.g: train ticket counter and online train booking open at 8am on 22nd for a journey on 23rd). Another useful site is http://www.indiarailinfo.com except that we cannot book the tickets there].

Private Cabs in Tirupathi: I have not tried but I hear that <http://www.tirupatitirumalatravels.com/&gt; offers good cab service at Tirupati and has online booking too. Indica cab might cost around Rs.2500 per day all inclusive while SUVs like Xylo or Sumo or Tavera which can accommodate 7 or more might cost Rs. 3500-4000 per day. There may be others too. So google for them first.

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Para (10): I want to go by Air for Tirupati Darshan.

Renigunta is the nearest Airport to Tirupati (15 km or 10 miles) and Chennai (MAA) the nearest International Airport, about 180 km or 110 miles. Daily flights are available from Hyderabad; check Jet Airways and Indian Airlines schedules online or use a travel portal such as makemytrip.com or yatra.com or tripadvisor.com. Tirupati Darshan Package tours are also available in Indian Airlines; Rs.6780 ex-Hyderabad, Rs.11160 ex-Mumbai, Rs.19150 ex-Ahmedabad, Rs.19520 ex-New Delhi, Rs.19940 ex-Kolkata per person on twin-sharing basis; includes economy return air fare; AAD or Cellar darshan;  2N/3D at ITC Welcome Group Hotel Fortune Kences, Tirupati; visit toSwayambu Vinayaka at Kanipakkam (70km), Sri Kalyana Venkateswara temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram (11km), Thiruchanur (5 km), Sri Kalahasthi Shiva temple (40 km) and sound and light show at the architectural Chandragiri fort built by the Vijayanagara Kings (12 km); breakfast on all days; see www.indianairlinespackages.com or call them to get the exact details. Indain Airlines Tirupati: 0877-228-3992.

Similar package is available with Jet Airways too in association with APTDC but only from Hyderabad airport; Rs.9250; leaves Hyderabad airport at 3 pm and returns at 6.10 pm after covering Kalahasthi, Balaji darshan at 4-8 am and Thiruchanur visit. Refer http://www.hyderabad.aero/filedownload.aspx?file=Tirupati-darshan.pdf…;

[Our experience on 1.8.12, we stayed in ITC Welcome Group's Fortune Kences Hotel, Opp. APSRTC Bus Terminus, Tirupati-517501: 0877-2255-855, 93936-55855. Fax:2255-844; email: kences@fortunehotels.in; http://www.fortunehotels.in. Tariff paid by us was Rs.3600 including taxes (Tips: we checked online; it said Rs.3600 nett for 24-hour check out; when we rang up, they said Rs.4800 nett, we asked about the rate in the net; then they agreed to give to us at Rs.3600!) so better to book on the internet or check the rates on the net before you speak to them].

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Para (11): I do not have the energy and enthusiasm to read all these; I  just want to use a Package Tour to have Tirupati Darshan.

If you have just one day to spare, or too old to organize these things, the best option is to book a guided tour called Balaji Darshan from Bangalore, Hyderabad or Chennai.

From Bengaluru:

Bengaluru Tirupati package tours are covered in the following sites:

http://karnatakatourism.com/touredge/tirupati_package_tour_by_kstdc_-tpt.asp

http://oms.co.in/main/tirupathi/tirupathi4.htm;

http://www.vandanatravels.in/balajidarshan.html

Bengaluru residents may also read the blog

http://amitsinha69.blogspot.com/2006/05/bangalore-to-tirupati-by-ksrtc-apsrtc_12.html.

From Hyderabad:

TIRUPATI – TIRUMALA TOUR: Dep. 8.00 pm Arr. 6.00 am on 3rd day. Sunday to Thursday by A/c Volvo Coach, 3 Days Tour covers Tirupati, Tirumala (with Seegra Darshan), Tiruchanur. FARE : Adult Rs.2300. Child:Rs.1840.

(OR) Dep. 6.00 pm Arr. 6.00 am on 4th day. Every Friday by A/c Volvo Coach, 4 Days Tour covers Tirupati, Tirumala, Tiruchanur, Srikalahasti, Kanipakam, Srinivasa Mangapuram & Kapila Teertham (Local Tours by Non-A/c Coach). FARE : Adult Rs.2500. Child:Rs.2000. Includes one day accommodation at Tirupati with Sudharshan Token darshan

See http://aptdc.in/tourpack/hyderabad.php

From Chennai:

But I went from Chennai and hence the folowing details are all for Chennai-Tirumala trip.

We have 5 options in all: APTDC, ITDC, IRCTC, TTDC, Private Cabs.

AP Tourism: http://www.aptdc.in/tourpack/chennai.php (Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Ltd) Hitech AC Bus 40-seater 1-5 days lead time for booking; Rs.1160 (child 5-8 years = Rs.930). Heard recently that these rates have gone up to Rs.1300 and rs.1100 though I am not sure. We have to change to the smaller APSRTC bus from Tirupati to Tirumala. APTDC also runs similar packages from Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Karur, Puducherry and Tiruppur. http://aptdc.in/tourpack/index.php.   {Swamy’s experience on 18.01.2013: he recommends an excellent APTDC tour which leaves their Burkit Road office in Chennai at 6-7 pm, dinner at Thiruvallur, rest at Srinivasam Complex at Tirupati from midnight till 3 am,  Suprabadam seva at Thiruchanoor at 5-6 am, mottai at Tirumala at 8 am, Seegra Darshan at Thirumala between 9 and 12 noon, lunch at Tirupati and arrival at Chennai before 7 pm; 24-hour trip; sometimes covers Sri Kalahasthi also; well-guided tour; no hassles; AC Volvo bus; good trip; Rs.1450 for adults and Rs.1160 for children as of Jan 2013; read his full and detailed account in the comments below dated 18th Jan 2013} {Ganpat’s experience on 1.12.2011: I paid Rs.1250/head for APTDC AC Bus recently; seats behind seat no.24 were very jerky and so it is better to avoid; we entered VQC at 12 noon and exited only at 5.45 pm and hence APTDC cancelled our Thiruchanoor visit; bus journey was very strenuous for old people}

ITDC: (India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd) Volvo (more comfortable than Hitech bus) 45-seater,10-20 days of advance booking;  AC Bus: Rs.1300/950, We have to change to the smaller APSRTC bus from Tirupati to Tirumala.

IRCTC: (Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd). AC Tem1/ v kpz 0c z x;munch both at Tirupati.

TTDC: Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Wallajah Rd, Chennai-2:    2434-3535, 2434-6219. Rs.1330 (5-12 years Rs.1030) by Volvo AC Bus. Book 15 days in advance. Online booking is available athttp://www.ttdconline.com/tourdetails.aspx?tourid=6

Private Cabs: We can hire on our own if 3-4 people are there; many cab operators also run Cab services to Tirumala on daily basis; food, darshan etc at our cost.  For instance, my friend used Balaji Travels (Narasimhan), 11A. Mahalakshmi Street, opp.to Siva Vishnu Kovil, T.Nagar, Chennai -17: Ph.2432-2021, 2434-5558. They take you by air conditioned tempo traveler in the morning and come back on the same day. They arrange for easy dharshan and food. The charges are slightly more but it is very convenient and worth it. Also check out http://www.sribalajitravel.com, 38, Burkit Road, T.Nagar, Chennai-17 (93812-32343, 95000-09061) who charge Rs. 1500-1750 per head for same day trip to Tirumala by Tata Indica or Indigo or Tavera or Innova, all AC vehicles and the rate includes Rs.300 for Seegra Darshan and 2 free small laddus but food expenses are ours. SUVs need a minimum of 5 passengers. [Swami's comments on 29.8.12: "The one and only stupid thing we have done in the Tirupati schedule is engaging the Sri Balaji Travels, Burkit Road, T.Nagar, Chennai for our 2 days tirupathi trip. We paid for the package cost as Rs.13000. But they never honoured.......... So my sincere advice is not book a cab with package if you are travelling as a family, instead pay only for kilo meter used. and arrange other things on your own. My experience with this Sri Balaji travles is horrible" (read full version below on 29.8.12)].

[LL’s comments on 31.3.2013: We also had a VERY SIMILAR experience with Shri Balaji Travels, 38, Burkit Road on 27/28th March 2013: We were short-changed by Shri Balaji Travels [S.Prakash : 93808-22114, 98840-53380, 044-2434-3589, 3299-0225], 38, Burkit Rd, Near T.Nagar bus terminus and his fellow travel agent B.Pradeep Singh [94453-05992], No.10, Star Flat 1st Floor, Ayyallu Street, Vetrinagar, Peravallur, Chennai-82. They promised to get us Suprabatham tickets but gave us only a VIP Break darshan tickets in the last minute at 11 pm and also did not return the excess amount collected from us for Suprabatham tickets. Promised to send us Innova and charged  Rs.10000 for 2 full days but sent us a poorly maintained Tavera worth only Rs.8000 in the market for 2 days; promised a good room at Tirumala and made us stand in the street from 5 pm to 11 pm with my 1 year old grandson, wife, daughter-in-law and son and finally gave a small room for the 4 of us at 11 pm; one of the worst trips of ours becuse of the poor arrangements done by Shri Balaji Travels, Burkit Road; they are very unfriendly to customers and do not refund any money collected even when they provide very poor service; looks like they are deliberately collecting money for a service which they know they cannot organize. My personal reco is to avoid them always. But there seems to be another Balaji Tours & Travels, (Mr Narasimhan), New no.27, Old no.11-A, 1st Floor, Opposite City Union Bank, Mahalakshmi Street, Opp.Shiva-Vishnu temple, T.Nagar: 2432-2021, 2434-5558, 93822-34646, 98400-34646, 2434-7521, about whom we have not heard much; I have not used their service; but if any of you have, please let others know if they are good. ]

But there are many such operators in Chennai and you can just google for them.

Ticket booking for three of these tour operators can be done behind TTD Temple at Swarnandhra Travels & Tours, No.1, Soundararajan St (adjacent to TTD temple & opposite to HDFC ATM) in Venkatnarayana Road, Chennai-600017; Tel: 2433- 3010, 2433-4710 & 2433-1977. 8am-8pm on all 7 days. A few other travel agents also book now.

Advance Booking at Swarnandhra Travels: Can be done one month in advance; minimum of 5-10 days is advisable; last minute booking results in back row seats which are uncomfortable.

Cancellation Charges at Swarnandhra Travels:

Last 8 hrs before departure: No refund.

8-12 hrs before departure: 50% refund.

12-24 hrs before departure: 70% refund.

24-48 hrs before departure: 80% refund.

48 hrs or more before departure: 90% refund.

Tickets can also be booked directly at the concerned offices:

APTDC [AP Tourism Central Reservation Office, 31/14, Burkit Rd, Chennai-17: 6543-9987, 98405-80577]

ITDC [Ethiraj Salai, Egmore: 2825-7214; 2827-4216; 2827-4240, boarding at either Ethiraj Salai or TTD temple]

TTDC: Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Wallajah Rd, Chennai-2:    2434-3535, 2434-6219.

Itinerary is Identical for all four:

0530= departure on all week days from their office (no service on Sat/Sun), no pick up anywhere else.

0800-0830: Breakfast at Tiruttani (ITDC & TTDC) or Puttur (APTDC) or Tirupati (IRCTC, 9am)

1200-1400: Balaji Darshan.

1430-1530: Lunch at Tirupati.

1600-1700: Thiruchanoor [Alamelu Mangapuram].

2130- Arrival at Chennai.

Cost includes Seegra darshan Rs.300, Breakfast, Lunch, Hill transport charges, Thiruchanoor free darshan & 2 free laddus.

Tips: Arrangements to be done before the trip:

Choose a proper month first if you have a choice.

Least crowded months: March (because exam time for kids) and Nov 15-Dec 20 (peak exam time).

Most crowded months: Dec15-Jan5 (school holidays + New Year rush), April-June (school holidays + tourists), Sept (Brahmotsavam in the second fortnight of Sept for 10 days which includes Garuda Seva, Rathothsavam and Golden Chariot festivals).

For Brahmotsavam which normally falls in the second half of Sept, see the following link for full details:

http://www.tirupatidarshan.org/tirumala-tirupati-brahmotsavam-2012-dates/

Biggest rush and daily hundi collection (Rs.2-3 crores on Jan 1st) is on New Year day.

Choose a proper day next if you have a choice.

Least crowded days: Tuesdays followed by Wed/Thu.

Fri-Mon=week end crowds; sat evening/Sunday mornings are peak.

Tips: Choosing a seat in the bus while booking:

To avoid direct sunlight during travel, choose seats behind the conductor and avoid the ones behind the driver since the driver side gets the direct heat in both directions (going north in the mornings and vice versa) or else, the screen has to be used always which prevents the view;

Tips: Take 2 bags from home since only a few items are allowed inside the temple premises strictly:

Bag-1 to be taken inside the temple: keep water bottles/ biscuits/ towels/ nutrition bars; they allow food items but not electronic items like cell phones, cameras, calculators, battery toys or simple any item with battery / cells; screening is done in many places so do not take these STRICTLY; there is no place to store these in the queue even if you take one of these items by mistake. Free cloak rooms are available at the entry point of all queues at VQC-I and II.

Bag-2 to be kept in cloak room or at shop no.93 in HT Shopping Complex when we go for darshan as advised by the APSRTC tour operator (this shopping complex is near Rambagicha bus stop 200 metres in the road opposite to main gopuram in Tirumala): biscuits/ buns/ full plate size aluminium foils or butter papers at 3 per head since plates in Tirupati cafeteria may not be very clean/ cellphones/ camera/ sandwich or snack for 11.15am/ spoons/ tissues/ towels/ spare spects/ vital medicines like Avomine. The shopkeeper charges Rs.10 per cell phone and camera each and gives us an acknowledgement slip while there is no charge for the bag; we can leave our chappals in their gunny bag at Rs.2/pair; shopping can be done here for souvenirs and normal food items besides basic medicines; slightly costly in the hills eg: 1 litre branded mineral water costs Rs.15 instead of 10-12.

Our experience: Detailed program in March 2010 from Chennai (for your info):

We booked 5 days in advance and could not get tickets for ITDC bus; hence took APTDC Hitech AC bus through Swarnandhra Travels (Rs.1160/head including Rs.300 Seegra darshan ticket).

Left TTD at 5.30am sharp. Route: Kathipara Jn, Porur, Poonamallee on Bangalore Highway, turned north after Panimalar Engg College, Thirumazhisai, Vellavedu, Thiruvallur, Kanakammachathiram, Tiruttani, Nagari, Puttur, Tirupati (foothills), Tirumala (top of the hill, Lord Balaji’s temple).

8-8.30am breakfast at Puttur byepass at AP Tourism Motel after 2-1/2 hour journey from Chennai; about 6 rooms are available for night stay; Punnami Restaurant is in First floor; enough parking space; toilets are just ok; Fixed and limited menu for guided tourists; 2 idlis, 1 vada, 1 pongal, sambar, chutney, coffee/tea; use aluminium foils since the plates are not very clean.

8.30-9.15: Puttur to Tirupati; got down, waited for 10-20 minutes, changed to APSRTC bus arranged by the guide & travelled 45 minutes (25 km from Tirupathi to Tirumala, one-way ghat road with 5-6 hairpin bends on the way up; return one-way ghat road has 40-45 hairpin bends); if not travelling by this tour you have to pay Rs.54 per to and fro trip for this journey. If you have nausea, it is better to take an anti-nauseating pill like Avomine  half-an-hour before the winding ghat trip.

10.45-11am: Guide, along with 70% of the passengers, got down at Tirumala bus stand for tonsuring (mottai); bus with others proceeded immediately to Ram Bagicha bus stand HT Shopping Complex and dropped others; we have to wait till mottai batch returns after an hour. Mottai is free but they take Rs.20 for 1-3 hour queue; guide collects Rs.50 and gets it done in 20-30 minutes time; take spare dress. Caps are available locally.

11-1 darshan: Leave chappals in the shop itself; Guide took Rs.50 per additional laddu from us since only 2 laddus are free under Rs.300 ticket; Guide took all of us to Vaikuntam Q-Complex, bought Rs.300 tickets, let in everyone, an hour long queue, saw Balaji just for 20 seconds that too from a 20-feet distance (earlier they used to allow you till the 10-feet distance), come out for Theertham, Sadaari, a glipse of Vimana Venkateswarar, Hundi, free Prasadham and finally come out of the temple premises; if you are not part of the guided tour, collect your laddus in the laddu counter near the exit which also has a long queue!

2.30-3.30 lunch at Haritha Resaturant in First Floor in the AP Tourism’s Srinivasa Complex near the Arch near the bus stand at Tirupati; Buffet:  300-400 people eat here daily; tokens are purchased and issued by the guide;  thali meals had chappathi, sabji, fried rice, one curry, one sweet like kesari, white rice, liquid dhall, sambar, rasam, curd rice, pickles, papads, mostly unlimited; plates were not very clean; used aluminium foil.

4-5 pm: Thiruchanoor, 5 km south of Tirupati; Lord Venkateshwara’s wife; free darshan takes 2 hrs, Rs.20 ticket took 30 minutes for us; if you want to finish in 10-15 minutes buy the Rs.100 VIP Darshan ticket (one laddu free) or better still, buy the Rs.200 Kumkuma archana ticket (for 2 people?) where we get to see Alamelu Mangai from very close quarters and we can get an archana done plus 2 laddus free per tkt. Entry restrictions exactly as those in Tirumala; left everything including chappals in the bus this time since driver took care of it; Laddu is available at Rs.10 here at 1 per head but we need to buy one laddu cover at Rs.2 in another counter; hence you can buy 1 laddu less in Tirumala if you want to save Rs.40 per laddu. Car parking Rs.30;  

6.45pm: Coffee break at our cost at Hotel Vima, Kanakamma Chathiram, 10km after Tiruttani on the right while returning from Tirupati; good place, toilets were ok, Vima restaurant is reasonably priced (Rs.10 for filter coffee, Rs.10-30 other items) and has a small AC room also; separate cool drink stall which also sells packed snacks like Kurkure, Lays chips etc. Espresso Coffee Counter is well maintained (we asked for dark Capuccino, which is ok if you like south Indian filter coffee, Rs.40/coffee, enough for 2, so ask for 1 by 2; latte is also good but lighter; cakes and pastries, samosa etc Rs.40-50 each); overall Vima is a good restaurant with enough parking space.

9pm reached Chennai. Drops at Poonamallee, Porur, Guindy, Saidapet, Venkatnarayana Road.

Comments: trip was tiresome; good for those who come from other places of Tamilnadu to Chennai  and for those without a car; bus trip is not so good if you have a car because (1) we wasted 2-3 hours for others (1 hour for mottai, 1 hour after darshan, 1 hour for changing bus at Tirupati etc) and (2) we had lesser flexibility in timing and food. But this is good for hassle-free travel since you need no information at all. The guide in the bus tells you what to do and when. 

{Ravichandrans’ Experience on 9.5.2014: I took Volvo A/C bus from Burkit Road – T.Nagar – chennai which left by 5.10 a.m in the morning on 5th May 2012. Bus was full. We reached Tirupati around 8.30 a.m for a free breakfast in Hotel Sindu. Then from Tirupati bus-stand we left by APSRTC bus to Tirumala. Seegara darshan ticket was organised by APTDC Guide and we entered the temple around 10.15 a.m and finished the darshan at around 11.45 a.m. The darshan was very fantastic and we all assembled at around 1.30 p.m near shop no.93. Enough time was given to us for purchase of photos etc., and 2 free laddu’s were given to us by the guide. We left Tirumala to tirupati again by APSRTC and boarded the Volvo near the checkpost gate. Had our lunch in the same Sindu hotel. Left for Tiruchannur and had good darshan at around 4.30 p.m and we left around 5.00 p.m and reached T.Nagar – chennai at around 8.30 p.m sameday. The overall experience is excellent}.

 

{Also read Swamy’s experience in his detailed comments dated 18.01.13 on APTDC  just below the blog}

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Para (12) : I want to have Mottai/ Mundan/ Head Tonsure/ Hair offering at Tirumala.

How do I offer Mottai at Tirumala if I do not go in a package tour?

The place where pilgrims fulfill their vow of tonsure in Tirumala hills is called Kalyanakatta. Over 500 barbers, operating in three batches round the clock, are available at Kalyanakatta, to perform tonsure. To reduce the waiting time for tonsure during the peak season, over 100 additional barbers are engaged.

The building is equipped with two big tonsure halls and two side balcony tonsure halls with platforms to seat both the pilgrim and the barber. There are four waiting compartments and a well-organised queue system. Men, Women and children join the line to get their heads tonsured. Tonsure is done free of cost at Kalyanakatta. Antiseptics are mixed with water and applied to the head before tonsuring to prevent skin-related and other diseases. Bathrooms, with geysers for hot water, are provided for the pilgrims who have their heads tonsured. A computerised system is in place to issue tokens for tonsure. About 15000 people have their hair removed daily (and these hairs are exported).

There are 16 mini Kalyanakattas at important places in Tirumala which function from 6 am to 6 pm every day, to perform tonsure for pilgrims staying in cottages and guesthouses. The fee charged at these locations is Rs. 10/- per head. The places at which mini Kalyanakattas are located are: PAC-I, PAC-II, Sri Venkateswara Guest House, N.G.G.H, Sri Varahaswami Guest House, Ram Bagicha Guest House (RBGH)-I, RBGH-II, RBGH-III, SPTC, MBC, TBC, SMC, ANC, HVC, Sri Padmavathi Guest House, Mysore Choultry, Sapthagiri Satramulu and Ist N.C.

If you are staying in a cottage, barbers are available in cottages also and hence you can get it removed in the cottage verandah itself and take bath in your room which might be more hygienic.

For information, these hairs are offered on auction periodically which are said to fetch about Rs.200 crores per annum since aminoacids (proteins) can be extracted from these hairs.

Our experience at a GH for mottai: On 1.8.12, we did mottai for my grand daughter at Varahasami GH (10-12 barbers sit there), 10-20 people were there in the line before each barber, stood in line to get Rs.20 token, stood in line before the barber, paid Rs.50 to barber but he wanted Rs.80-100, so we paid it; hot water is available for kids nearby, Rs.30-50 had to be paid to that lady; no separate bathroom is there for men who had to take bath in the open after mottai; many give away their dhothis after bath; many guest houses have this barber facility.

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Para (13) : I want to do Angapradhakshan inside the temple.

Angapradakshinam is when pilgrims lie prostrate, and then roll around the temple, chanting the Lord’s name ‘Govinda’. It is performed in the Vimana Pradakshinam, one of the pathways around the sanctum sanctorum. Pilgrims who wish to undertake the Angapradakshinam will have to register themselves personally [thumb impression needed] at 2 pm ONE day prior to their anga pradhashinam at Vijaya Bank counter at the CRO and take a ticket free of cost; {TTD has advanced the timing of the issuance of ‘Anga pradakshinam’ tokens at Tirumala from 6 p.m.to 2 p.m. daily wef 22.11.2012}; only 375 tokens are issued for males and another 375 for female devotees; they have to bathe in the Swami Pushkarini tank on the north of the temple and reach the Main Temple Complex VQC-I entrance by 2 am in wet clothes. Angapradakshinam is generally not allowed on Fridays (wef 24.1.14), Saturdays and Sundays. It is also restricted when there is heavy influx of pilgrims and during festivals.  Remember that children are NOT allowed during anga pradhakshinam and so make your own arrangements to take care of your children during this time.

{Rani’s experience on Angapradhakshan: see her comments dt. 11.03.2013: “I stood in the queue the previous day at 2 pm and managed to get the AP ticket at Vijaya Bank counter. There were about 500 devotees for this. But the wait with the wet clothes after angapradhakshan was a bit long. All women were literally shivering in the cold. We joined the queue at 1.30 am and came out around 4.15 am. The guest house was close to the temple, hence we could hop across in 5 minutes. It is better to wear a synthetic material dark colored salwar, so that it is not transparent but dries off fast, since we need to stay wet while performing the vow. Take Rs 10 to exchange for a laddu coupon.  Any query on Angapradakshinam is welcome!” We must thank her for sharing her valuable experience} 

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Para (14) : I want to offer Thulabharam equivalent to my weight.

Tulabharam  is offering to the Lord, money equivalent to one’s weight in coins mainly or other items such as sugar, rice, jaggery, sugar candy etc. Tulabharam  is generally performed for children but no bar for doing it for adults. Earlier the devotees had to buy these items, carry it through the VQC up to the Maha dwaram, the Main Entrance, at exhorbitant costs; now they need not; all items are kept near the Thulabharam scale, we can weigh, pay the equivalent amount at the Indian Bank (8 am to 8 pm) and Syndicate Bank (8 pm to 8 am) counter near Thulabharam and get a receipt; the coins are charged as follows in 2012: (Rs/kg of coins) 10 ps coins Rs.50/kg; 20 ps coins Rs.93/kg; 25 ps coins Rs.93/kg; 50 ps coins Rs.134/kg; Rs.1 coins Rs.200/kg; Rs.2 coins Rs.334/kg; Rs.5 coins Rs.556/kg; e.g. if your vow was to offer your weight, say 50 kg, in Rs.5 coins, take money equivalent to 50 kg x Rs.556 = Rs.27,800; items other than coins are charged at the market value prevailing on that day.

{Surendra’s experience on Thulabharam on 13.8.12: Parents with infants, less than 1 year old, are allowed at ‘Supadam’ entrance at all times except from 9.30 to 11 am (when it is open only for kalyanosthavam devotees). Thulabaram is just beside the normal queue inside the main temple. Coins were provided to us at the Thulabaram place itself for weighing. We paid the equivalent cash and got the receipt at the counter managed by Indian bank. After Thulabaram, we could join the normal queue from Thulabharam point for darshan. It took just 1 hour for darshan as we went on a weekday}.

[Swami's comments on 29.8.12: We gave thualabaram for my 1-year daughter after darshan which took less than an hour] 

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Para (15) : I want to donate for TTD charities.

ENDOWMENT SCHEMES (DONATIONS FOR CHARITY): If you are keen on donating for charity, there are about 10 schemes. There are special privileges for donations of Rs.1 lakh and above, such as VIP Accommodation on payment basis or free accommodation in normal cottages, free cellar darshan once in an year, 6 free laddus, free vastram etc. For Rs. 5 lakhs and above, similar facilities but three times an year; for Rs. 1 crore and above, there are many more free facilities and privileges. For full details seehttp://www.tirumala.org/schemes_main.htm

Gold and diamond jewellery are abundant and many devotees just drop these in the hundi while many others visit the temple office and donate it officially. The temple keeps only jewels worth about Rs.1000 crores and auctions the excess once in an year.

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Para (16) : I want to offer Annadhanam one time.

Some devotees pay in lakhs to conduct annadhanam (food for charity) on a particular day; some take a vow to offer annadhanam on a smaller scale; these people can choose one of the following (1/4 sola weight each): Dadyodhanam (Curd Rice?) Rs.250, Puliyohara Rs.275, Pongal Rs.325, Chakkara pongal Rs.375, Sakkar bath Rs.400 and Seera Rs.675. We have to pay this amount or multiples in the Arjitham Seva counter ONE day in advance and obtain a receipt; this will be made in the temple kitchen and distributed free to the devotees when they exit after darshan; we will also get a small share of this at 12 noon the next day at the Mahadwaram, Main Entrance, on production of this receipt but we need to take a vessel or plastic dabba; on Fridays alone, it is at 10 am instead of 12 noon.

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Para (17) : I want to know what can be done at TTD Centres all over India.

TTD Information Centres are there in many places all over India.In all such e-Darshan counters, we can buy the following tickets 3 to 60 days in advance and we can ask for a chosen date and time subject to availability; hence choose a few dates convenient to you before going there:

At TTD Centres, we can book for Suprabhatham, Kalyanotsavam, Arjitha Brahmotsavam, Dolotsavam, Vasanthotsavam, Sahasra Deepalankaram, Nija Padha darsanam, Visesha pooja, Rs.50 Sudarsanam ticket, Rs.50 rooms, Rs.100 rooms and Rs.300 rooms can be booked 3-60 days in advance at these e-Darshan counters in the TTD Information Centres.

For Sudarsanam e-Darshan bar-coded biometric Token Rs.50 /head (Children below 12 years free); 2 small laddus worth Rs.20 free and so effective ticket cost is only Rs.30/head.

We can also buy AAD (Rs.200) tickets for darshan at 5 am.

TTD Information Centre Chennai:

New No.26, Old No.50, Venkatnarayana Road: 044-2434-3535. 2434-6219.

Vijaya Bank runs the ticket counter in Chennai TTD between 10 am-1 pm and 2-4pm Mon-Fri except Tue; [Sat-Sun: 10-1 and 2-7pm]; popular darshan tickets should be obtained early in the morning (go there at 9am) since the tickets are limited in number. All members above 12 years of age have to go in person for photo & finger printing. Can we book for 2 different dates? Yes, if we choose dates 15 days apart. The availability of dates for AAD tickets and Accommodation are displayed near the booking counter daily.

TTD Information Centres at Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and other places:

Ahmedabad: Balaji Temple, Opp. Nirma University.

Bangalore: 16th Cross, Vyalikavel, 560003.

Bhopal: Andhra Sanskutik Parishad, Link Road-2, Shivaji Nagar.

Bubaneswar: TTD Kalyana Mandapam, A6/1, Jayadev Vihar Colony.

Coimbatore: Perumal Complex, Periyanaickenpalayam (earlier at Stock Exchange Building).

Erode: Srivari Seva trust, Club Road.

Hyderabad: TTD Kalyana Mandapam, Balaji Bhavan, Himayat Nagar, 500029.

Jaipur: Andhra Association, F-47, Wajir Pur House, Sundar Marg C- scheme.

Jamshedpur: Andhra Bhaktha Sree Rama Mandir, Bistpur.

Kanchipuram: Ekambareswarar Koil Street.

Karagpur: Sri Sri Balaji Mandir, Plot No.1/35/SEP/1937.

Kolhapur: Western Maharashtra Devasthana Mgmt.

Kolkata: Andhra Association, Ras Behar Ave, 13-A, Shah Nagar, South Kolkata.

Madurai: Meenakshi Amman Temple premises.

Mumbai: GD Somani Memorial Buildings, Cuffe Parade, 4000050. Also at The Bombay Andhra Mahasabha Gymkhana, Near Dadar Rly.Station, Mumbai.

Nagpur: Buldana Urban Co-op. bank, Ramadas Road.

Neyveli: Block-10.

New Delhi: No.10, Hailey Rd, 110001. Also at TTD Information Centre, AP Bhavan Premises, Ashoka Road.

Puduchery: TTD Information Centre, 288, J.N.Street. 0413-222-2064.

Pune: Maharashtra Arya Vaishya Samaj, Nava Bazaar, Khadk.

Rajapalayam: Ramco group Building, Market Road. 99943-93050.

Salem: Garuda Spiritual Deve. Society, 9/4C, 6th Cross, Maravaneri.

Tiruppur: Srivari Trust, 241/1, Darapuram Road.

Trichy: D-44, 5th Cross NEE, Thillainagar, 620018.

Vellore: S.V.High School Campus. TTD Information Centre, Officers Line, Vellore.

Besides these, there are TTD Information Centres in about 50 places in AP.

For full list see

http://www.tirumala.org/ttd_board_informationcentres.htm

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Para (18) : I want to book accommodation at Tirumala Hills

No private accommodation is allowed; all rooms are under the ownership and management of TTD. They have free accommodation for about 10,000 persons/day in Pilgrims Amenities Centre (PAC) –I. PAC-II and PAC-III which together have 22 hige Halls with 562  safety lockers. They also have Paid accommodation for 34,000 pilgrims daily in the hills in 6793 rooms/cottages; of these 551 rooms are given free, 2492 are earmarked for common pilgrims, 2361 given for Rs.50/day, 386 for Rs.300/day, 512 rooms for VIPs in SVGH & TBC, 492 rooms for VVIPs in SPGH. Any accommodation above Rs.100 per room is decent enough in Tirumala hills. Best is Sri Padmavathy Guest House but difficult to get, reserved for VIPs and those with VIP recommendation letters.

Booking accommodation by Post/Courier: see under Arjitha Seva booking in Para (4) above.

Booking accommodation in Tirumala at TTD Centre, Chennai:  Paid accommodation can also be reserved 30 days in advance at the e-Darshan counters all over India by paying the requisite amount. Hence we can book accommodation at TTD Chennai by paying Rs.100 advance per room in advance (30 room bookings/day at Chennai); however no rooms are allotted though room booking is confirmed; rooms are allotted only at Tirumala; approach the ARP (Advance Reservation Counter) in CRO (there is only one Central Reservation Office in Tirumala) at Tirumala for allotment; all rooms have a 24 hours check-out; while allotting only one night accommodation is allowed; extension is allowed for one more day on specific request; rescheduling is allowed up to 5 days in advance subject to availability; no cancellation is allowed; if cancelled, amount goes to hundi.

Booking accommodation in the Internet: http://www.ttdsevaonline.com; accommodation booked for Rs.100-Rs.2000 rooms/cottage; only Citibank credit card accepted; ID needed; produce print out and ID at 24-hour Internet counter at Padmavathy GH.

What happens at the CRO? An advance reservation daily chart is being displayed on the Notice Board outside ARP Counter in Central Reception Office, Tirumala. The chart contains the names of pilgrims who have been allotted accommodation. All accommodation are on 24-check-out basis; advance booking is allowed for one day only; ask for more days at the CRO Counter while taking the room; no refund if you do not turn up on the day booked. For full details on Paid and Free accommodation at Tirumala, view http://www.tirumala.org/acco_tm.htm#tmpaid

Do you want to book rooms in the last minute? 

There is a way out. Though no private accommodation is allowed, there are many religious matams (mutts) who have built modern guest houses which are available for rent. The reservation here is not covered by TTD. They book directly for the next 3 days. I stayed in one in march 2013 and that’s how I found it out.  But you need a vehicle or must be prepared to walk for 20 minutes to stay here. We stayed in Visakha Sri Sarada Peetham Guest House (from Visakhapatnam) in Papanasham Road, Near Gogarbha dam, Tirumala-517504; http://www.srisaradapeetham.org; email: saradapeetham@rediffmail.com; speak to Manager Mr D.Thirumal Rao (whom we met on 28.3.2013) 92469-95823 (he speaks Telugu, Tamil, English); Gen.No: 0877-227-7049, 227-7059. Booking can be done over phone only in the last 3 days before your visit date, i.e. book on 2nd for a stay on 5th; no advance or DD booking; no booking during festivals; we can pay when we reach; on the day of arrival, confirm your arrival over phone again so that they do not re-allot the room; they have 6 no.of 2 Bed rooms (Rs.800) and 10 no.of 3 Bed rooms (Rs.1200) all w/o.AC; They take a refundable deposit of Rs.700-1000 and return it while vacating. Route: Road starts near Nandakam Rest House and Anna Prasada Bus Stop; enter “Tirumala” arch, will see the Ear-boring mandapam on the left at 100 metres; cross Papavinasham (PPV) Toll Gate [during nights you need to show your room key as ID], cross the 100-metre Dam, take immediate right to reach about 10 Guest Houses built in a row. May be all guest houses book like this; if any of you have used them please share info with us.

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Para (19) : I want to book accommodation at Tirupati (foothills).

TTD has a large number of rooms in Tirupati, both Paid and Free, in 5 Guest Houses in prime locations in Tirupati; at Srinivasam Complex (opposite to RTC Bus Stand: 0877-226-4540, 226-4541), Madhavam GH (within Srinivasam Complex: 0877-226-4540, 226-4541), Sri Venkateswara GH (opposite to Tirupati Rly. Station 0877-226-4507), II & III Choultries (0877-226-4503), Alipiri GH (near Alipiri Balaji Bus Stand: 0877-226-4502), Bhudevi PAC (Pilgrims Amenities Complex) near Alipiri GH & Sri Padmavathi GH (opposite to Sri Venkateswara University: 0877-226-4510, 226-4511).

Srinivasam Complex is right opposite to the RTC Bus Stand, just 10 minute walk from the Rly. Station: 0877-226-4540, 226-4541; the largest of the pilgrims complexes; 410 Rooms including AC and non-AC; non-AC Rs.200/day; AC rooms Rs.400/day; AC Deluxe rooms Rs.600/day; 9 dormitories with 953 safety lockers in first floor for 5000 pilgrims with common halls and common bathrooms; woollen rugs, mats and locks for lockers are available free of cost against a refundable caution deposit; single persons will be allotted only dorms and NOT rooms and they are very strict about this; Rs.50 Sudarsanam counters are available in this complex; vehicle parking, bus stand right opposite, book stalls, banking, free dispensary, post office etc are available here. All rooms have 24 hours check-out; lower level rooms are charged Rs.50 to Rs.150/day at other GHs; besides 550 rooms are given free of cost daily to devotees; groups will find accommodation in Sri Padmavathy GH, opp.SV University, 2 km from Rly.Station; has 36 AC rooms for groups; Rs.300 to Rs.6000/day; no advance reservation for Sri Padmavathy GH.

Can we book accommodation in Srinivasam Complex in advance? Yes. 20 days in advance; either book it in the local TTD Information Centres or take DD for either Rs.200 (non-AC) or Rs.400 (AC) or Rs.600 (AC Deluxe), not for any other amount, favouring “The Executive Officer, TTD, Tirupati” and send to the Dy. Executive Officer, Srinivasam Complex, TTD, Tirupati with 2 or 3 date choices; if accommodation is not available we will get the DD back; if available, we will get Accommodation Allotment Letter which should be produced at Srinivasam Complex when we go for the room.

Madhavam Complex is a new building within Srinivasam Complex with modern amenities. 136 AC Suites (Rs.800) and 28 AC Deluxe suites (Rs.1000) are available on First cum first served basis and has no advance booking; hence check there first before going to private hotels.

For complete details, check out http://www.tirumala.org/acco_tpt.htm.

For Hotel booking in Tirupati, just google and find out; umpteen choices; value for money in Tirupati is Bheemas Deluxe, Near Railway Station, Tirupati: 0977- 2225521, 5569199. Lunch Thali is very popular.  (Our experience on 1.8.12:  we attended kalyanotsavam, drove down from 2.15 to 3pm, had lunch at Bheema’s; the vegetarian Thali meals in this 8-floor Bheema’s Residency Tirupati near the APSRTC Bus terminus was really good).

We stayed in the Bhimas Residency Hotel, Tirupati in 2010: (3-star) as you enter Tirupati from Renigunta near the Railway Over Bridge, Renigunta Rd, 517501: (0877) 223-7370-72, Fax: 223-7373; email: bhimasresidency@hotmail.com; www.thirupathibhimashotels.com; Tariff (in 2010): check out 24 hrs; children <10 years are not charged; Transit Std Double for 12 hours only Rs.1100; Std Double Rs.1675+Tax = Family Room (6 beds) Rs.3585+Tax; Extra bed Rs.200; 78 AC rooms; Mohini AC Veg restaurant where charges are similar to Madras Saravana Bhavan, Thali Rs.90-100, dosa Rs.40 etc; free pick-up and drop from Tirupati bus stand and Rly.Stn on request.

ACCOMMODATION EN-ROUTE:

Puttur AP Tourism Punnami Highway Resorts. Breakfast is good. Puttur Bye pass Rd. 08577- 220777 for room Reservation. AC double 600 nett.

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Para (20) : I want to buy Tirupati Laddus.

TIRUPATI LADDU: Laddu token is available in the sarva dharshan queue for 2 laddus/person at Rs.10/laddu; extra laddus are available at Rs.25; for Arjitha sevas, 2 free laddus are included in the ticket cost; for those who ‘walk’ up the Hills, one laddu is given free from 1.10.13; tried to get laddu after free darshan at 12 midnight; too much of crowd since counter opens only at 2 am; so did not wait. Got laddus fast in the early morning (4 am to 8 am); 2 laddus /head for AAD at Laddu Counter No.1 for Rs.50 ticket; this laddu counter is separate; but all laddu counters are in one Complex near the exit of the temple.

General information on laddus: Laddoo is the main Srivari Prasadam of Tirupati Lord; one small laddu was given free till 2009 to every devotee who visits the temple; one can now buy two small laddus at Rs 10 each; each laddu weighs about 170gm; Kalyana Laddu given after special sevas weighs around 700gms; about 150,000 laddus are made daily by dedicated hereditary priests, with about 300 year old heredity, in a special temple kitchen called ‘potu’ situated within temple premises using Besan flour (approx.5 tonnes/day), Sugar (10 tonnes/day), Ghee (300 litres/day), cashewnuts (600kg), Cardamom (150kg), Raisins (kismish) about 500kg daily. TTD incurs approx. Rs.72 crores per annum for these free laddus. [FAQ: Can I get Tirupati laddoos in Kanpur? Answer: Not sure if you can get laddoo at Kanpur; talk to their call centre. In Chennai, we have a TTD Centre (Tirupati Thirumala Devasthanam) where we can buy laddoo every first saturday of the month].  Besides laddus, many other Prasadhams are made here. Pottu Kitchen makes pongal, curd rice, puli rice, vada, murukku, jilebi, adhirasam, poli, appam, payasam, dosa, rava kesari, cashew kesari etc but the only prasadham for the Lord is the curd rice in an earthern pot (mann chatti in Tamil) and these pots are used only once.

Never buy laddu or any other prasadam from the shops or street vendors since they are not from the temple and are made of inferior ingredients.

The ‘Laddu Prasada Seva’ wef Dec 2012:
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, to check malpractices in the distribution of laddus, which are the most sought-after by devotees visiting the temple of Lord Venkateswara, has introduced this Seva from December 10, 2012. On an average, over 1.5 lakh laddus are being sold by the TTD every day.Any devotee can enroll his name online for performing the seva. The registered devotees will be entrusted with the task of selling laddu tickets. They will be referred to as ‘Laddu Prasada Sevakulu.’ The sevaks should be Hindus whose upper age limit should not exceed 65. There is no gender bar. The sevaks can opt for either a four-day or a five-day slot. As a token of appreciation of their participation, the sevaks will be provided with an opportunity to render services inside the temple on the final day of their slot.

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Para (21) : I want to volunteer at Tirumala without receiving any payment.

Volunteering at Tirumala is called “Srivari Seva”:

TTD allows volunteering at Tirumala on the following terms: Only groups can apply; a group of 10 or more people can apply; all must be Hindus wearing Namam or Chandanam or Kumkumam or Thilagam during volunteering; age must be 18-58 years; males and females can be part of the group; none should accompany them including children; must serve for 7 days continuously at a minimum of 6 hours/day; duties will be outside the temple to manage Annadhanam, Queues, Kalyana Kattas, Laddu Counters, Gardens, VQCs, free buses, PACs, Information Centres, Vigilance, Health, CRO, Pushkarini etc; volunteers can opt for their areas of aptitude; Bhajan groups, doctors, engineers, management executives are also welcome in their fields; such groups must first register themselves, at least one month in advance, at Srivari Seva Sadan inside the RTC Bus Stand, Tirumala (0877-226-3544, 226-4393) or write to PRO, TTD Admin Building, K.T.Road, Tirupati- 517501 (0877-226-4561);  letter should contain all names, son of or wife of, full postal address, phone and mobile numbers, age, sex, profession, stamp size photo of ALL the volunteers and details of the Team Leader; once they receive their order, they should report at Srivari Seva Sadan inside the RTC Bus Stand, Tirumala between 10 am and 5 pm on the date given, normally Thursdays; training session is at 7 am on every Friday at Seva sadan’s Aasthana mandapam which is compulsory for volunteering; duties will be allotted daily at 4 pm at Seva Sadan; Sevak Scarves are provided for identification and this should be worn strictly during volunteering only; free accommodation is provided in the Seva Sadan and they need to bring their own lock and key for the locker; lunch and dinner are given at TTD chatram; breakfast and travel at our cost; special darshan once a day.

Many organizations and individuals send volunteers for this one week service (normally Sun to Sat) to TTD, those interested may contact them; a few such addresses in Chennai are:

“Sevas”, 50, Darga Rd, Rajajinagar, Pallavaram, Chennai

A P Malathy:99625-88454, 98405-31839; 32, Madley 2nd St, T.Nagar, Chennai-17.

R Balakrishnan: 2489-4671; 32, Postal Colony 4th St, W.Mambalam, Chennai-33.

Nalini Ravikumar: 99621-53644; 18/43, Jubilee Rd, W.Mambalam, Chennai-33.

There are many others doing such co-ordination jobs in many places all over India.

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Para (22) : I want to know what are the other infrastructure facilities in Tirumala.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: TTD also runs a 30 Bedded hospital called Aswini Hospital which has X Ray, ECG and laboratories facilities. This hospital works round the clock with adequate medical and para- medical staff to look after the medical needs of the pilgrims and the localities. A separate dispensary is located at Vaikuntam queue complex round the clock with a medical officer and para medical staff to attend to pilgrims in case of emergencies. First aid kit is made available at the Queue Complex. In case of any emergencies ambulances are available at Tirumala and you will be shifted to foothills where TTD runs specialized hospitals with all facilities including surgery.

Banks: Most of the Nationalized and private banks have their branches at Tirumala and accept Donations on behalf of the Temple. There are some banks that are authorized for seva Tickets.

ATM counters: For the convenience of the visiting devotees the following ATM counters are available at Tirumala. ICICI, SBI, Andhra Bank, Canara Bank & Bank of India

Petrol & Diesel Bunks: Petrol and diesel for the vehicles are made available at the bunks near the toll gate.

Mobile Phones: Idea and Airtel mobiles phone services are available at Tirumala.

Prasadams: After the darshan of the Lord, pilgrims are distributed Annnaprasadams viz. pongal, chakara pongal, dadodyanam, pulihora or small laddus within the temple premises free of cost when you come out, only one ‘dhonnai’ per head.

Free Food (Annadhanam): pilgrims are distributed free meals token in the Sarva Darshan queue and in the Walking tracks (sopanamarga) which can be used to have free full meals at TTD Annadhanam Complex at Tirumala from 9 am till 11 pm continuously.

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Para (23) : I want to celebrate my Marriage or Ear-boring or Upanayanam or Annaprasanna or Naamakarana or Sashtiapthapoorthy at Tirupati (foothills) or Tirumala (Hills).

TTD owns and manages 212 TTD Kalyana Mandapams in India of which almost 90% are in various Andhra towns. These are highly subsidized compared to market rates. In Tirupati, these are located on the Tirupati-Tiruchanur Road; sizes vary; facilities vary; cost too varies; hence it is better to have a look at them before deciding. Contact person for those Mandapams in Tirupati: Dy.E.O (Reception), TTD, Tirupati; 0877-224-3303.

In case you want to get these done in Tirumala, you can. TTD has formed a Purohit Sangam at Tirumala which manages these private functions at fees fixed by the TTD; the official fees are as follows: for ear-boring at the Purohit Sangam: Rs.15; for ear-boring at your cottage: Rs.20; for Upanayanam at the Purohit Sangam or in your Cottage : Rs.120; for Marriage and Sashtiapthapoorthi (completion of 60th age) at the Purohit Sangam or in your Cottage : Rs.150 each; for Annaprasanna, Naamakarana, Kesakandana, Akshara abhyasam at the Purohit Sangam or in your Cottage : Rs.30 each; up to 80 marriages can be performed daily in the Purohit Sangham at a time and Marriage Certificates are also issued by them on behalf of TTD; however ALL items needed for these functions have to be purchased by the Pilgrims beforehand or alternatively, they should reach Tirumala one day earlier at 10 am so that the Purohits can arrange for these themselves at Pilgrims’ cost. Please note that there is a Centralized earboring Auditorium available near the Anna Prasada Bus Stop/ Nandakam rest House where you would see an Arch with “Tirumal” written on it; go beneath this arch on Papanasham Road, this place for ear-boring is about 100 metres down the road on the left side.

If marriages have to be performed in the Cottages, we need to book such Cottages earlier and they cost Rs.500 (1 cottage only), Rs.200 (11 cottages)& Rs.15 (10 rooms); check in at 3 pm and check out at 3 pm; speak first to 0877-227-7777 Extn:3626 for date confirmation and then book by sending DD favouring “The Executive Officer, TTD” payable at Tirupati but send the DD and letter to AEO (Reception-I), TTD, Tirumala; [tips: at least a couple of persons should go to Tirumala and see these Marriage Cottages in person before booking to avoid inconveniences later]; booked only for one day; no refund or cancellation; preponement or postponement subject to availability.

There are many private Kalyana Mandapams run at Tirumala by various Mutts, Ashrams and Choultries and you may have a look at them too.

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Para (24) : I am a Budget Pilgrim and want to have Dharshan with least expense. 

{Rindha on 8.6.12 shared this “Tirumala at zero cost” which is a very useful insight: This is for the budget pilgrims. You can practically live in Tirumala for free once you get there. Once you reach Tirupathi Rly Station, there are frequent free buses to take you to Tirumala (the top) or to Alipiri (the bottom of the hill). You can walk to Tirumla on foot from Alipiri. Once you reach Alipiri, you can give your locked luggage (take your own lock please) to the counter where they ship your bags for free to Tirumala. Or you can carry them yourselves. The free tokens for free darshan are given to all piligrims on foot. Coll your baggage at the counter at the end of the steps. You can just follow the crowd. Despite the time you reach there you would want to freshen up. You can do this free of cost at many places where toilets are available. But better to use the washrooms next to Konneru the holy lake where pilgrims take dips and kids swim around; you too can! But these are just for bathing only. For nature’s call, you have to visit other free amenities around but not far away and you can spot one at every corner almost.
Now you need a place to settle down? There are plenty of shaded places where you can sit with your baggage if you just follow the crowd. If you are alone, better to have just one bag where you can use it like a pillow. If you have companion and many bags, you can always take turns to do watchman duty. Or you can simply dump your bags in free lockers that they give you but be prepared for long queues.

Now that you have an accommodation and place to refresh, the next basic need is food. Yes that’s free too, provided you are ready to stand in long queues. Tirumala is synonymous with queues! Any shop keeper or the person in information counters installed nearby should be able to tell you where the food queue starts. Be there on time if you want to avoid long queues. You won’t be disappointed with the quality of food.
Now you are ready for Darshan. The token that they gave you on your way to Tirumala has the details of timing and place that you need to be there. The information centre guys that you can spot every now and then will be able to guide you. Shop keepers are the best guides since they are there daily. Even the security should be able to tell you. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it right the first time. This is also a spiritual journey of patience one of the prime qualities of a spiritualist. The crowd normally chants “Govinda Govinda” in chorus. When you join the chorus you may surprisingly feel ecstatic. The journey will be long and it is pleasant if you come with company. Be ready for the push-pull-twist-massage of your body in the sanctum sanctorum. Make sure you are in the centre of the crowd and not to sides to have Darshan for longer time; if you are at the sides, you will be pushed away by the security guys standing there who keep shouting “Jarugandi” in Telugu meaning “Move forward”. You won’t have a very clear view standing 20ft away from the Lord but it still sends shivers down your spine. After those 5-10 glorious seconds, you are out of the temple before you realise it.

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230 Responses to “VISITING TIRUPATI & TIRUMALA”

  1. S.Ramamurthy Says:

    we are three adult members wish to visit Tirupathy to have darshan. We are residing at Erode and hence we want to know whether there is any buses run by any tourism concerns who can take us to Tirupathy uphill and arrange for darshan and arrange for our return journey.

    PLEASE say whether there are any tourism buses plying between
    ERODE – TIRUPATHI (OR) COIMBATORE – TIRUPATHI passing
    through Erode.

  2. bhavesh Says:

    please send me detail of how to go frm mumbai to tirupathi including
    rail ticket booking -train no – hotel booking- total expese ,total days ,when to come -where to book kindly send complete information
    note: coming for the 1st time to tirupathi

  3. Nandan Says:

    Hi,
    This is very good information and arranged in a great way. Thanks

  4. chirag Says:

    Hi,

    I found your post on Visiting Thiruvannamalai Temple useful.

    Me and my wife are planning to do the KALYANOTSAVAM SEVA.

    Can you please tell me if taking part in the seva is mandatory for doing the darshan? Or can we directly go for darshan without doing the seva?

    Thank you.

  5. Vanitha Says:

    The details given here is good descriptive and have almost all questions being answered for the one planning for the trip.

  6. Tirupati Hotels Says:

    You’ve gathered here all possible information a tourist will need when visiting Tirupati. I read it with great pleasure. Keep on the good work ! Cheers !

  7. g.devaraj Says:

    we want to visit the great tirumala dharsan with family .can you help me to do this also i amm working in abroad as a NRE Shall i get good dharshan for the great lord with all my family.pls help us to dharshan the great wonder lord.
    your kind guide lines is grea appreciatable to you.
    god is great tirumalaa
    namo narayana

  8. TIRUPATI GUIDE Says:

    TIRUPATI TIRUMALA LORD BALAJI (PERUMAL) DARSHAN DETAILS / ADVANCE BOOKING AND INTERNET BOOKING PROCEDURE / ACCOMODATION / SPCEIAL ENTRY FOR NRI’s, HANDICAP, SENIOR CITIZENS, ETC., CONTACT tirupatibalaji.guide@gmail.com FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE.

  9. Tirupati Hotels Says:

    Thanks.Tirupati trip is amazing. It is very peaceful and wonderful place. Every time i will plan my accommodation in one of the best tirupati hotels is Grand World

  10. Roopa Raghavan Says:

    My God! What a complete post about Tirupati darshan. Thanks a lot. God Bless you!

  11. k. jayaraman Says:

    I understand there are daily LUXURY BUS SERVICES FROM SRINIVAS TEMPLE, VENKATNARAYAN ROAD, T.NAGAR CHENNAI, TO TIRUMALA HILLS, & PADMAVATI TEMPLE, & BACK TO CHENNAI, THE SAME NIGHT. I wish to know the complete itinerary – including food, charges etc; so also the STARTING POINT, PICK UPS ON THE WAY ETC. Also the exact location of your BOOKING COUNTERS, IN CHENNAI. If there are booking offices in Mumbai, please let me have the address, phone nos., email IDs of the same, both in Chennai & Mumbai, This is just for my future planning.

    Thanks, Sri Venkateshaya Namaha. K. Jayaraman

  12. Anil Pillai Says:

    I,m planed come to tiruptai December 3rd,please send me detail of how to go frm mumbai to tirupathi including
    rail ticket booking -train no – hotel booking- total expese ,total days ,when to come -where to book kindly send complete information
    note: coming for the 1st time to tirupathi

  13. suman Says:

    We want to participate in lord balaji’s kalyanam… my question is i have a 7 months old baby….. can he sit with us while doing the kalyanam… please help me find this answer

    thankyou

  14. llchennai Says:

    Let me try to answer imp.questions.

    To Chirag: kalyanotsam ticket holders cannot visit Balaji without attending the 90-mt seva. It is compulsory.

    To G.Devaraj: Choose NRI Darshan or Seegra Darshan; see full details in my blog herein.

    To k.jayaraman: ALL your questions have been answered in my blog itself; read it again.

    To Suman: as fas as I know taking a 7-m old baby for kalyanotsavam is absolutely no problem; take enough milk, water, diaper etc; if u still want confirmation talk to their Call Centre at Hyderabad (call centre numbers are there in my blog)

    Mumbaiwallas also may speak first to the Call centre and then plan.

    Of late they have banned T-shirts also for men and women; hence go in traditional shirts/kurtas/jibbas.
    llchennai

    • llchennai Says:

      Let me add that the Rs.300 ticket darshan thru the main entrance called ‘Seegra darshan’ (Fast worship) has been renamed as ‘Pratyeka Pravesa’ (special entry) darshan wef Oct 2010; this darshan ticket has earned about Rs.116 crores in its first year since Oct 2009, the highest for any darshan in Tirupti.

  15. gak Says:

    can we take 4 year old kid for darshan without taking darhan ticket for the kid?

  16. Suneel Gudipati Says:

    Thanks for providing good information.

  17. Arumugam Says:

    Namskaram,

    This detailed post is very informative and has aided me a lot in planning.
    I have some doubts that I hope you can clear for me.
    1. I am an NRI. So will NRI cellar darshan be better or the Seegra Darshan ?
    2. If I reach tirumal by 6 pm, can i get the cellar darshan tickets for that day, or next day or both?
    3. If i go by walk how difficult is the climb for an average 45 yr old man, would you say? I had some back issues so am wondering if i can endure the walk, and then wait for darshan etc.

    Appreciate the time and effort.

    Thank you
    Arumugam

    • llchennai Says:

      dear mr arumugam
      sorry for the belated response.
      1.NRI cellar darshan is time-dependent; allowed only at breaks; seegra darshan, now called pratyega pravesa, has larger time window; former costs Rs.100 or so while latter costs Rs.300 or so; may be try both;
      2.after 6pm you have all options open; u can have darshan on that night itself or buy tickets for next day morning too.
      3.climb for an average 45 yr old man is no problem at all; but if you have back pain and if you cannot walk/climb for 4 hours, better to drop the idea or join your group for the last 1 hour; after the walk you have to stand upright for 4 hrs at least in darshan queue; can u stand continuously for 8 hrs is what u need to consider.

  18. vinu Says:

    hello..
    i’m planning along with my family(4 members) 2 come there in dec( 27-29)for 2 days.. v all wish to walk 4m tirupti to tirumala and give seva of suprabhatam and kalyanotsavam.

    these are my queries…

    1) suggest accomodation in tirumala and tirupati
    2)can v get some time between 2 sevas or do v hav to wait there?coz my daughter is 6 yrs old,she may not b allowed to attend suprabhtam seva..i may have to pick her from the cottage..

    pls help.. :(

    • llchennai Says:

      dear vinu
      sorry for the delay. but let others benefit at least.
      “walk 4m tirupti to tirumala + suprabhatam + kalyanotsavam” needs 2 full days. reach by 3pm, walk fm 4pm to 9pm; try for free darshan or Rs.300 pratyega seva or just go & sleep early; suprabatham at 3.30am for 30 mts; kalyanotsavam at 9 am, takes 2-3 hrs; enough time for breakfast and rest in between.
      hotel booking : just google and find out. umpteen choices; value for money in tirupati is Bheemas Deluxe; Tirumala= no private accomm; only TTD’s. Best is Padmavathy but difficult to get, needs VIP reco; any acco above Rs.200 per room is decent enough in tirumala hills.

  19. Jayanthi Says:

    hello sir,
    I thank u very much for providing more info about tirupathi. I have a query too that i would like to go by walk from tirupathi to tirumala .what is the best time for me to start my walk? And i want to come by train from chennai, what time should i start from chennai? I am planning to visit the temple by this month itself around these dates(24,25,26,&27). Is it possible for me to book the tickets online now and could go for the plan to be executed?
    please help me.
    Thanks,
    R.Jayanthi.

    • llchennai Says:

      My answer is too late… sorry. But it might help others; hence the reply.
      Best time to walk is when there is no sun! 4am to 10am and 3pm-8pm. Walk on empty or light stomach; eat just enough for 2 hours and carry light refreshments like bread/biscuits/fruis and water. Walk in group; or join a group; first one hr up to Khali Gopuram (Empty Gopuram) is steep and so tough; thereafter it is just trekking. Fast walkers will take 3 hours and slowest ones will take 5 hours; generally walkers get priority tokens for fast darshan towards the end of their walkway. Trains from Chennai leave at 6 am or so and return at 10pm or so; see http://www.irctc.com for full details. These tickets, if available, can be booked online; or use tatkal 3 days before (ticket counter and online train booking open at 8am on 22nd for a journey on 24th). Hope info is useful.

  20. RM Tripathi Says:

    Presently I am in Bangalore and I wish to visit tirumala devasthanam. Can I have full details for booking of tickets for darshan.
    Thanking you in anticipation of an early reply.

    • llchennai Says:

      Please read my blog which answers almost all questions; ask only specific doubts; or just call their call centre and discuss. Thanks.

  21. Shariya Kanna Says:

    Hai, thanks for very useful suggestions. I want to go tirupati with aged parents & family from CHENNAI. Which is the best way to go thru’ with less crowd. Pl give suggestions.
    Shariya Kanna

    • llchennai Says:

      Take the AC Volvo bus from TTD Chennai (Rs.1200 or so/head) or use IRCTC AC Maxicab from TTD Chennai (Rs.1400-1500/head but as comfortable as own car). See my blog for more details.

  22. Sidarth Says:

    This is really useful, thank you much for taking the time. I am leaving tonight to walk up the hills and will advice if it the hours match

  23. Rajendra Kumar Says:

    sir i want bhog prasadam laddo of tirupati balaji
    how can i got it

    Thanks

    Rajendra Kumar
    R&D Office
    IIT Kanpur

    • llchennai Says:

      Not sure how u can get laddoo at Kanpur. In Chennai, we have a TTD Centre (Thirupati Thirumala Devasthanam) where we can buy laddoo every first saturday of the month. Talk to their call centre; their phone numbers are availble in my blog or get thru google search.

  24. Venu Says:

    Great valuable information Thanks Alot for your Great work..

    Thnaks,
    Venu

  25. Chennai Flights Says:

    Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity is just great and i would suppose you’re an expert on this subject. With your permission let me to take hold of your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thank you one million times and please carry on the gratifying work.

  26. Dr. Nupoor Prasad Says:

    A very appreciable blog, well written.

    Sir, We have booked ticket to Tirupati from Hyderabad (we are coming from Lucknow, U.P to Hyderabad) for 6th of October.ie. we will reach during Brahmotsava. We have two children aged, 6 years and 1.5 year respectively. We havent as yet booked any accomodation, none is available via internet probably because of festival. I am personally very apprehensive about the visit, because of small children. Please advice best darshan options and also accomodation options.

    I hope Lord Balaji blesses us and we have a pleasent darshan.

  27. Mohana Says:

    Thanks for the info….. its very useful… I have a question too. i heard that the entry is free for senior citizens and a person can accompany them to the darshans. is it true? and if so, is there any age limit (like minimum or above age 60 or 70) for them and do we have to submit any proof for that. Also, is there any discounts for them by APTDC or TTDC rates. It’ll be helpful if you give these information.

    • llchennai Says:

      As far as I know, there is no monetary concession for seniors while buying tickets for darshan or in buses like APSRTC or TTDC. However darshan time can be cut short as follows. For differently abled people (physically handicapped people or seniors who cannot stand for long in queues or invalids) they allow direct entry along with one attendant at the main gopuram if the official is convinced; age is no bar. However I think you need to buy the Rs.300 ticket for both. For more authentic info talk to their Hyderabad call centre at the numbers given in my blog.

  28. Satish Says:

    Great Info, people like you make this world a better place to live

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Satish, there is no greater satisfaction for bloggers like me than when a few people find my blog really useful. Many use these blogs, but only a few like you take the time to express it. Thanks.

  29. vignesh.p Says:

    can anybody tell me the real value for MP recomandation letter for accomadation and dharshan

    • llchennai Says:

      The recommendation letter from politicians and ministers ARE useful in getting a faster entry thru cellar darshan AFTER it is approved by the official concerned in the cottage as described in my blog. In normal times, you can have darshan within a total time of 2-3 hours. The Rs.50 queue would take 4-7 hours. Rs.300 ticket and the cellar darshan would take almost the same time I think. Politician’s letters are more useful in getting Padmavathy Guest House accommodation which is not normally available to the common people. This is my personal experience and may not be fully true in everyone’s case.

  30. Ganpat Says:

    To:Ilchennai

    Dear Sir,

    Very rarely one comes across a useful blog like yours where the details you have provided are simply marvelous.I see the quantum of efforts you have taken and a BIG THANKS to you for the same.May the Lord Balaji Bless you and your kith and kin all that is Best in Life.

    Yours truly,
    Ganpat

    PS:If you permit me I would like to add a few suggestions for your consideration.

    In the Q&A sec that follows,I see some useful additional informations.They can be incorporated in the main body.

    As the details change every now and then,a date at the beginning showing “revised on: ” would also go a long way.

    Last but not the least,if you are in Chennai,kindly let me know thro’ my mail ID so that I can contact you over phone/in person and offer my thanks for such a nice and exhaustive work

    Thank you Sir

  31. Sanjay unnikrishnan Says:

    just a question…. is the thirumala hills closed at some point of time? We are planning to stay at tirupati & catch the Sunday Early Morning Seegra Darshan at 4 am. We are driving down and hence would like to know if the roads would be closed early in the morning

    • llchennai Says:

      As far as I know, the Ghat Road is closed from midnight to 3am; even APSRTC buses do not ply during this period; but 4am darshan (with confirmed tickets) is still possible if you can reach Alipiri (starting point of Ghat road) at 3am; you will reach Tirumala by 3.30 am or so, 19km.

  32. Ganpat Says:

    Sincere thanks to Ilchennai for all his efforts.

    I posted a message a few days back but the same still not published.Though do not know the reason I wish to add the following points as a person to have visited yesterday with my family from Chennai.Took the APTC morning hitech bus.fare Rs1250/head.
    timings:
    start:5.30am(Venkatnarayana road,T,Nagar)
    B/f:8.15 to 8.45 at Puttur Quality: so so
    (tips:the seats beyond 24 would be jerky.)
    Tirupathi Arr: 9.30 Dep 10.00
    Tirumala Arr.10.45
    For tonsuring:10.45 to 11.30
    Arr.Vaikundam complex:12 noon.(by walk)
    Darshan: 17.45
    Dep Tirumala:1830 Arr.Tirupathi 19.30
    Dinner:19.30 to 20.15APTC restaurant (mediocre)
    Dep Tirupathi 20.30 arr.(Guindy):2350hrs
    Visit to Tiruchanoor:cancelled due to paucity of time
    My views:
    >>Very strenuous for aged and weak people.A lot of walking and climbing steps is required.Any person above 80 with proper age proof certificate is allowed with an escort directly in to the Gopuram entrance.This is at 10 and 2 pm.Those who go by Bus can only take the 2 pm facility.
    >>APTC fares are very high.The right price could be abt700 only.
    >>>even the best administration in the world can not manage the barbaric Indians mentality.The one thing we( i.e Indians) hate most is queue system .Absolute chaos seen at many points.The rules were broken wherever possible and to cause max inconvenience to others seems to be our national motto.
    >>>If the TTD publish all rules and regulations WITH PROPER UPDATES in their web sites that would be of great use.The rules change very frequently.

    ” Tirumala for Dummies ” may not be a bad idea and could easily be a best seller.
    Thanks Ilchennai with anticipation that this would be published.

  33. Hotels in Tirupati Says:

    Its very wonderful information about tirupati trip and Hotels Accommodation.Thanks for the inofmration.After reading this i have planed to visit tiruapti. Awesome post.

  34. hari Says:

    we are unmarried couples from chennai…….. we need a room in tirupathi after worshipping god…. will ter be any issues for unmarried to give room

    • llchennai Says:

      hari
      an unexpected query! they do not ask for marriage certificates at tirumala or want to see the mangalsutra! any group (family or friends or students) can occupy a room and you and your living-in partner will be considered as a ‘group'; however carry proper IDs for both. The accommodation problem in Tirupati/Tirumala is the same as that faced by unmarried couples in other locations.

  35. Ravindra Pagadala Says:

    We started our journey on 7th jan 2012,morning at 7.30 A.M from Allepy which is near th foot of the Hill and by 1 P.M we reached Tirumala, had our lunch,then procedded to buy Rs.300/- Seegra Darshan Ticket.We entered at 2.00 P.M, what later turned out to be a Delayed Darshan, it was at night 10.00 P.M we got the darshan, but why were there children, old,middle age,mothers,teenagers,youth all thrown in one narrow lobby and made to stand for hours,what if some person with health problem,would have collapsed,what if children got suffocated because of lack of breath,Fans were closed, Officials were not visible.People in the queue were from Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi and other places they don’t know language,why the delay, how much more delay, you cannot find the answers for this question from anybody,there is nobody to listen to your woes.In between some ladies visible tried to help by giving hot milks in cup, but they are not sure when you will get darshan only to give false hope, maybe in 1 hr or 2 hr.
    I am seeing the same path being followed in Temple premises since childhood, why don’t they make it more bigger and spacier,why don’t form separate queues for mother and children, old, and youth differently.OR atleast separate queue for ladies and gents.
    Will we really see any change happening in the devasthalaya premises.Is there a more comfortable and better way of having darshan, or will we have to start believing to pray your beloved God in your own town temple.the authorities will have to decide,common man has suffered a lot,beared a lot, and has been silent, because of the love for his god.But will God forgive them for causing so much of discomfort and pain on his devotees.!!! Govinda Govinda!!!

    • llchennai Says:

      dear ravindra
      yes, I agree with you; but remember TTD is a monopoly organisation and hence they do not care about customers; there is no need for them to satisfy their customers; they will be happy if you do not go there (lesser crowd); darshan is stopped and released at their will; most of the times we do not even know why; or how long will it take. In fact my son has been feeling claustrophobic in these queues; separate queues have been tried and discarded; no consultancy firm has been able to improve these since the time available before the Lord is limited (it is already open for 22 hours a day; the space in his sanctum sanctorum is limited; people are allowed darshan only for 20-30 seconds; how else can we improve? only by opening branches! and that is what they are planning; soon you will have 4-5 huge venkateswara temples in various zones).

  36. srinivas kunadi Says:

    Good Job!. Great information!!.

  37. vimalesh Says:

    Do you have any idea abt suprabhatam seva, i have applied once and want to apply again as i am travelling with family and want to have a good darshan of LORD,please advise how to get it done.

    • llchennai Says:

      all sevas are covered in my blog; send DD 90 days in advance to TTD after talking to their call centre (numbers given in my blog).
      You can buy tickets for sevas by sending in a Money Order/Demand Draft, for the requisite amount, drawn on any nationalised bank, in favour of The Executive Officer, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati. You can send your request and IMO/DD to:

      The Peishkar,
      Sri Venkateswara Temple
      Tirumala – 517 504
      India.
      Phone No: +91-0877-2277777 (Extn: 3608)

      The facility of online reservation of accommodation and seva tickets please visit http://www.ttdsevaonline.com. You can reserve seva tickets and accommodation within 90 days everyday subject to availability.

  38. Tirupati Hotel Says:

    Hey its really very nice thing. thanks for posting… Tirupati is really an amazing place, Each and every Hindu should visit tirupathi, at least once in his or her life.In tirupati visit “Grand World” for accommodation with all the facilities; it is a 3 star hotel in tirupati…!!

  39. Palak Jain Says:

    Hi, I’m planning to visit balaji temple in March from bangalore with my family and it’s the first time we are visiting. So we have NO clue about bookings and procedure but luckily I read your blog and it’s quite useful. Could you please tell me that should we just drive from Bangalore or is it better to take a tour package? Planning to leave on a Friday night and back to Bangalore by Saturday evening. How do we go about it?

    • llchennai Says:

      palak jain
      Not very sure but the basic facts which I know are that KSTDC runs a package tour from sundays to thursdays; dep at 10pm fm bengaluru; arrival at 8pm next day; volvo ac bus; Rs.1700 including dharshan and accommodation for bathing but excluding food; since u want fri-sat, better to drive down via NH69 and NH75 thru Hoskote, Kolar, Palamaner and Chittoor; 250km approx; 4-5 hours of driving; or look for private bus tour packages thru your travel agents in bangalore.

  40. kiran kumar gudimetla Says:

    Hi
    Sir

    I am NRI from singapore, Me and my wife planning to go to tirumala
    For NRI’s can we get tickets for dharsan and accommodation if we come directly or need to book advance?
    Please assist
    Thanks
    Kiran

    • llchennai Says:

      dear kiran
      NRIs can also go directly for seva; or book seva / darshan tickets online; accommodation in tirupati is no problem even on arrival; but if you want accommodation in tirumala, better to book in advance online; read specific paragraphs my updated blog.

  41. winhp23 Says:

    Dear
    If god permit me I wish to visit Tirupati, Rameswarm, Maduari,in the 2nd week August, I had gone to read some good feedback on these places, Please help me to find the answers of the followings question, I will travel with 4-5 senior citizen &two children from Punjab.
    1) How much crowded will be the tirupati in the 2nd week of august ,I will visit the temple without previous booking on the Tuesday, How long it will take for seeghara dharshan,
    2) Pl let me know any budget hotel near railway station as my train will reach at tirupati on 10 PM
    Any other suggestions will be welcome

    Regards & thanks

    • llchennai Says:

      Hi
      August has normal crowd only; avoid Sept Brahmotsavam; Tuesdays are generally least crowded; very senior citizens have special entry along with an attendant; Seeghra Darshan (Rs.300/head) will take 2-4 hours on normal days; Budget hotels in Tirupati at 10pm? many are available; read my recently updated blog again (only Para-19 that covers tirupati accommodation portion); why not book AC rooms (Rs.400, Rs.600, Rs.800/day) or non-AC rooms (Rs.200) online or by sending DD at TTD itself? happy darshan!

  42. llchennai Says:

    This blog has been vastly updated on 13th March 2012 and hence read it again if you want more info. More customer-friendly now.

  43. Parimalam Says:

    Hello,

    Good Work…. Hard working reflects this blog. Great….

    After searching a lot for my query, how to get e-seva tickets or tickets from arjitham office by sending DD to worship main deity…. I am really fed up. I wish to share my experience too in ur blog.

    I have booked many sudarshanam tickets online without any difficulty earlier for 2 or 3 years. Likewise, I was tracing any one of daily tickets online for suprabatham, thomala, and archana sevas. Whenever I login, search results were 0, i.e., tickets are not available for 90th day (“quota full”) and the 91st day status would be “Quota not released.”

    Tried through TTD counters and got the reply that they receive only 1 or 2 tickets per day and cant be booked for a family of 10+ members.

    Wishing to get seva tickets by post for my 10 family members, I sent 10 separate DDs with ID proof and requisition letter(in separate covers)mentioning seva date (sent 92 days in advance thinking the post will reach on 90th day) to Arjitham Office for Suprabatham. But all DDs were sent back to me in 1 week mentioning no availability on the mentioned day. I called arjitham office and the reply was too many DDs are received and they cant provide tickets for all. They asked to try again with same DDs. (Finally dropped all DDs in hundi after sudarsanam dharsan).

    Again, I tried to check out when tickets are open online. As mentioned in the TTD website, tickets will be open at midnight, but within few minutes 40 tickets get vanished. So it is possible for us to book only 1 ticket from one computer. Once we finish booking selected seva ticket its impossible to find availability for another ticket to be booked for other family members. One ticket is not sufficient for us. Not only me, for those who try like me cant get dharsan altogether with family members for paid sevas except sudharsanam. Daily 1 ticket can be booked and its not possible for each and everyone to go alone on different dates. But I have a BIG QUESTION that how people from same family get these special dharsan.

    Having old people and little kids, its not possible to be in the queue for more than 3 to 5 hours in Vijaya bank a day before to avail seva tickets. So pls reply if any other source is available for main deity dharsan for at least 5 minutes.

    Thanks

    Parimalam.

    • llchennai Says:

      Parimalam,
      I have also faced exactly the same issues while booking online. I have also been never able to book either thomala seva or archana online. Forget about seeing Him for 5 minutes unless you can get either of these two tickets. Only 10 tickets are allotted per day for these two sevas online. I hear from a few friends that tickets are available from a few influential guys in Tirupati for these Sevas at double the cost or so though I am not sure. Hence may be you can try one of the guides there. See my blog.

  44. rak123 Says:

    Hi, very gud information.. gud work

    I am planning tirupati tour june month with my family, tirupathi to tirumala tempo traveler allowed (12 seater) or not?? Please give me information

  45. Resorts Near Mumbai Says:

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  46. SUNDEEP Says:

    Hello ,

    I am palnning to come form Hyderabad to Tirumala in a temp traveller . Can anyone tell me how can i get the permit for tempo travelle from alipiri to Tirumala . it is 12 seater tempo traveller.

  47. llchennai Says:

    Dear Sundeep
    Read Para (8)in my blog. 12 seater tempo travellers were allowed like a normal car earlier. Now I am given to understand that Tempo travellers alone are NOT allowed though other 12 seaters are allowed. Hence check with their call centre. No separate permit is needed since Hyderabad vehicle needs no permit to visit any location in AP.

  48. Murthy Says:

    Dear llchennai, This blog gives me all the information i required.Thanks for your efforts in maintaing this blog.

  49. Ganpat Says:

    Dear Ilchennai,
    Thanks again for updating.God Bless..
    Just out of curiosity..you have not responded/acknowledged to my postings (two of them) whereas I find that you interact freely with many of the other readers..Any specific reason?
    Regards

  50. llchennai Says:

    Sorry if I have not replied your’s. 1. Now I check mails more often on the move. 2. Anything new is replied earlier. 3. If it is normal comment like “Thanks”, I do not reply. Hence no specific reason. Hope you understand.

  51. Jaideep Says:

    Dear LlChennai, I used your blog extensively as I visited Tirupati recently. I thought I would share some additional nuggets that might help your readers:

    1. If you are an NRI, you should take advantage of the special Q privileges available to an NRI. There is a separate gate/Q for NRI’s, defence personnel, Donors (which I was a part of), TTD personnel & their families and parents with infants (i.e. children under age 1). The gate is called sampadam gate and it near the VQC-I area. This is probably the fastest Q for darshan (unless you are a VVIP). As an example, when I entered this Q at 2:30 and I joined the rest of the people in line for the mandir darshhan, there were other people around me in the line that had waited in line for a lot longer. e.g. one gentleman right beside me had joinned the Seegra darshan Q at 11:00am. so for those NRI’s contemplating if they should use the facility for NRI’s or the Seeghra darshan Q, my recommendation would be to use the NRI Q

    2. There is a lottery system now available for some early morning sevas.i.e TTD now offers a few slots for Tomala sevas, Archanas etc that is offered to the general public via a daily lottery system for next morning’s sevas. To try your luck with this lottery system, go to the Vijaya Bank counter opposite to the C.R.O and register anytime between 11am & 5pm. The drawing happens right after 5pm and the lucky few (I believe there are between 5-10 slots that are made available by the TTD on a daily basis) have 3 hours to pay the seva fee and go for the seva next morning. My brother-in-law won an opportunity to go for an archana seva for the next morning in this lottery drawing.

    Hope this helps your readers.

    Keep up the good work with this blog.

    • llchennai Says:

      Very happy that my blog has been used extensively by you. Thanks a lot for your inputs which will help other devotees in future. Very good points. Things keep changing in Tirumala so frequently that no single person can keep track. Thanks for taking time.

  52. rindha Says:

    Tirumala@ 0.Rs
    The way things regulate in Tirumala are lot different (given in websites) than before and keep changing constantly year after year. And i cant guarantee you what im gonna say will be same next year. I will talk about time in Tirumala within the budget. Since people who can spend lot of money have recommendations that can get them thru till VIP darshans. So here im just guiding people who cant spend money easily. So you want to visit Tirumala Where Lord’s abode is established and you want to have his “Darshan” ..very common and maybe the only reason why people usually go there. You can practically live in Tirumala for free once you get there. Now from where you come and how you reach Tirumala is your headache..im just going to tell you about only Tirumala. Before i start i want to advice you that dont try to go in weekends. You can hardly put your foot there. First thing is not get confused with Tirumla and Tirupathi. Its like getting confused with New York city in New York.. well Tirumala is in Tirupathi and you have to reach Tirupathi before you get to Tirumala ie Lord’s Abode. Once you reach Tirupathi there are free buses to take you to Tirumala. You can also go to Tirumla on foot from place called Alipiri. A free bus can drop you there. Once you there you can give your locked luggage to the counter where they ship your bags for free to Tirumala. Or you can carry them yourself. If you decide to go on foot be sure you are ready to climb up 4000 steps and more- there is walking on the road for 2-3kms and steep steps after that but not before enjoying breath taking views of the majestic green hills.If you are lucky you can also spot monkeys which may snatch your snacks off your hand or just give you an adorable hypnotizing look to make you give your biscuits away. You can also spot clouds below you if you are going in the right season ie winter. On the way you can also enjoy company of spotted deers. Vendors there sell carrots and cucumbers that you can buy to feed the deers. The tokens for darshan are given specially to piligrims on foot for free. make note of the time for darshan. you need to be there by that time. You can at average get to Tirumala in about 5hrs roughly on foot. Now when you are at Tirumala you are greeted only by hoardings and lot of chaotic crowd depending on the time when you reach there. Collect your baggage at the counter end of the steps. (You can just follow the crowd.) Despite the time you reach there you would want to freshen up. You can do this at lot of places where toilets are available. But i will recommend you to the washrooms next to Konneru the holy lake where piligrims take dips and kids swim around, you too can! But these are just for bathing only. For nature calls you have to visit other free amenities around not far away. you can spot one at every corner almost. Now you need a place to settle down? There are plenty of shaded places that you can sit with your baggage as i mentioned before just follow the crowd its never empty there. Thats your free accommodation. Yes! right under the shaded trees or the huge arena right in front of the temple. Its even better at night near the steps where you can enjoy the view of temple architecture against the backdrop of hills with sweet breeze blowing through your hair. If you are alone you better have just one bag where you can use it like a pillow. If you have companion and many bags you can always shift guard your watchman duty. Or you can simply dump your bags in free lockers that they give you but not without under going long ques to get your locker. Now that you have an accommodation and place to refresh the next basic need-food. Yes thats free too but provided you are ready to stand in long ques. Any shop keeper or the person in information counters installed nearby should be able to tell you where the food ‘q’ starts. Be there on time if you want to avoid long ques. You wont be dissapointed by the quality of food. Now since all your basic needs are covered shelter-food-naturecall. Its time you do what you came here for.-Darshan. The token that they gave you on your way to Tirumala has the details of timing and place that you need to be there. The information centre guys that you can spot every now and then will be able to guide you. Shop keepers are the best guides since they have been there almost every day. Even the security should be able to tell you. Dont get frustrated if you dont get it right the first time. This is also a spiritual journey of patience one of the prime qualities of a spiritualist. Once you are in the ‘q’ thats it you are done you dont need any more directions from here as i mentioned before crowd leads you. The crowd may chant chorus “Govinda Govinda”! When you join the chorus you may surprisingly feel ecstatic. The journey will be long and i advice you should come with company. Be ready for the push-pull-twist-massage of your body during Darshan. Some times you dont even have to stand as its the crowd that will carry you off. Every now and then you may have to adjust the direction by putting your foot down. Once you are inside the main temple make sure you are in the centre of the crowd and not to sides to have Darshan for longer time if you are at the sides you will be pushed away by the security guys standing there.So be at a place where they cant reach you that is center! You wont have very clear or great view standing 20ft away from the Lord but it still sends shivers down your spine. you will be awry to be at centre they mob will push you off. and thats it after that 4-5 glorious seconds you are out of the temple before you know it. estruck at what you see. but sadly that wont be for long cause not matter how much you tBut this is what you can get with for free darshan. If you want to Visit Lord up close and personal peacefully you need to get Suprabahta seva ticket. and shell out lot of money at the same time. But hey im telling you here about how you can survive in Tirumala without any money at all. There are the pitfalls and gruesome waiting etc. Here you go. You are done pack your bags and leave. Tirumala@zero Rs.

  53. Jegan Says:

    Great Effort and work…Thank u very much…

  54. Sajith Channdathu Says:

    Dear LL Chennai , your blog is very imformative thanks for that , i have a query , i plan to viist tirupati late July or early august, i will be travelling from UAE , and will be travelling with Two family including two small kids and two elderly ppl , after reading your blog i plan to book a hotel in tirupati and make a day visist to tirumalai , since i need to go around in tirumalai ( i need to do mundan also) can i get a private cab from tirupari which can drive me around in tirumalai for the full day , are such cabs there and what are the charges. on your reccomendation i plan to use the NRI queue in sampadam gate as one reader mentioned. Godbless you

    • llchennai Says:

      I have not tried but I hear that http://www.tirupatitirumalatravels.com offers good cab service at Tirupati and has online booking too. Indica cab might cost around Rs.2500 per day while SUVs like Xylo or Sumo or Tavera which can accommodate 7 or more might cost Rs. 3500-4000 per day. There may be others too. So google for them first.

  55. Sreedhar Says:

    Anyone have tried the ttd website for booking seva tickets? I have tried few weeks back but it allowed me to book only one ticket for suprabatham seva when trying to book other ticket it gave me message like ‘the ticket already booked from this network please try after 90 days’. This is really strange. It is not allowing to book more than one ticket. But the instructions shows we can book 2 tickets maximum. Even we can not avail room for single person but how come the online reservation for seva ticket allows only one ticket?

    Please let me know if I miss anything while booking the seva ticket.

    • llchennai Says:

      My experience has been similar to yours. Their online booking is one of the worst. They allot only 10 or so tickets per day for morning Sevas such as suprabatham, thomala and archana. Hence better to send DD 90 days in advance and book these Sevas.

  56. hire a tempo traveller in delhi , book a tempo traveller in delhi, tempo traveller for tour packages Says:

    My brother suggested I may like this web site. He was totally right. This put up truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

    • llchennai Says:

      I am quite happy that this weblog has been very useful to you. Have a good dharshan of the Lord!

  57. Surendra Says:

    Superb Blog !!. This site has almost all the imformation required.

    I have a query. I am planning to visit Tirumala to have Thulabaram for my kid(9 months old). Can we reach directly to the Thulabaram place via the special entrance for kids ? How can i book room in Tirumala. i tried online but rooms are booked for 2 months from now. Please suggest. Thanks in advance.

    • llchennai Says:

      As far as I know, yes, you can. Also check if they will let in Thulabaram pilgrims through the Mahadwaram, the Main entrance. Room can be booked at TTD Information Centres at various places or by sending DD to TTD, Tirumala as described in this blog separately.

      • Surendra Says:

        Hi Readers, I thought of sharing my trip experience to Tirumala to have Thulabaram for my kid. Parents along with infants less than 1 year age will be allowed at Supadam entrance. Entrance with infants is blocked only from 9.30 AM to 11.00 AM as it is opened for kalyanosthavam devotees at that time. It took just 1 hour for darshan as it is a week day. Thulabaram is just beside the normal queue inside the main temple. Coins will be provided at the Thulabaram place itself for weighing. We can pay the equivalent cash and get the receipt. This is managed by Indian bank. After Thulabaram, we can continue in the normal queue in the main temple.

  58. Harish Says:

    For any queries, Tirupati bookings, tirupati accomodation, tirupati vehicle bookings, tirupati packages, tirupati seva tickets and tirupati balaji darshan please visit our website:http://www.tirupatibooking.com

  59. swamy Says:

    I have recently gone to tirupathi with my family, the order of events are given below:
    1. 1st day started from Chennai at 1.00 PM, reached tirupathi at 5.30 PM,
    2 .booked a room in tirupathi ( not in tirumala) and went to tirumala by car for mottai of my daughter 1year old.
    3. came back to tirupathi and stayed back that night in the room
    4. 2nd day early morning started to srivaari meetu for walking up to tirumala, this place is somewhere 35 to 40 KMs away from railway station
    5 it took 2.30 hrs for our whole family members to climb up the foot steps
    6. had food and joined the two separate queues, one for divya darshan queue and the second one for supadam queue with my daughter
    7. divya darshan queue took 3 hrs and supadam queue took 1 hr for darshan.
    8. gave thualabaram after darshan
    9 collected laddus and finished lunch
    10 came back to tirupathi at 5 PM, vacated the room and started back to Chennai. reached Chennai at 10 PM.

    The whole program has been scheduled for 2 days, but the one and only stupid thing we have done in the schedule is engaged the Sri Balaji travels, Burkit road, t.nagar, for our 2 days tirupathi trip. We paid for the package cost as 13K. but they never honored for even simple request given by us. they are supposed to arrange cab at 6 AM on day 1, but the cab came at 1 PM. we booked and paid for innova, but they sent tavera.
    the driver is a useless fellow, he didn’t pick up the phone on 2nd day, the travels are supposed to collect 300Rs ticket for us, but the driver didn’t come, we found out our own way. they also assured a room in tirumala, but didn’t show up. So my sincere advice is not book a cab with package if you are travelling as a family, instead arrange a cab from any other travels and pay only for kilo meter you used. and arrange other things on your own. My experience with this Sri Balaji travles is horrible. So pl don’t waste your hard earned money.

    Pl update your website and add warning against these private cab parties.

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  61. das Says:

    I am an NRI From US planning to visit Tirumala in December 4’th week of 2012. As several people already reffered, online seva and accommodation are not helping me as of today October 17 2012.

    Since I will be travel with family having a kid, can some one guide me on making reservations for accomodation/Darshan/Sevas please?

    • llchennai Says:

      Most of your queries have been answered in the blog. Accommodation, darshan, Sevas can be booked by sending DD now itself. Give 2 or 3 alternate dates and ask one of your relatives in India to send DD immediately to the address in the blog.

  62. subramanyam wupadrasta Says:

    I am from HongKOng, planning to visit Tirumala on 28 and 29th December 2012. I my wife and one daughter have NRI status, so can manage the NRI darshan from VQC-I, as suggested in your blog. But my mother in law and other daughter are also accompanying us who are not NRIs. They have passports though. Can I take them along with me for NRI darshan.

    Kindly also once again explain how to avail of this darshan.
    Also I need an accomodation at Tirumala. Can I get on spot booking .

    • llchennai Says:

      Dec end is peak period since New Year rush would have started. Since your mother in law and daughter have passports, you can produce all 5 together as NRIs though strictly not ok. They do not ask for more proof except that they may check the visa page sometimes. Normally the officers are considerate, so plead with them in case they refuse. Worst case is to take Rs.300 Seegra Darshan tickets for them in case the officers disallow. Accommodation has to be booked beforehand since it is a heavy rush period. See the blog for booking accommodation.

  63. Srikanth Says:

    Very informative website! My family and I found the information very helpful! Keep up the good work…

  64. llchennai Says:

    The Hindu dated 10th Nov 2012 reports:

    TTD Board trustee N. Kannaiah said “Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) will soon procure baggage strap machines to secure and accept unlocked luggage of devotees undertaking ‘padayatra’ to reach the hilltop Tirumala. On an average, about 26,000 pilgrims undertake ‘padayatra’. TTD has cloak facilities only for locked baggage of the devotees for free transportation to Tirumala. A large number of devotees come from rural areas and they are not aware of the rules and hence do not bring locks. Hence baggage strap machines like those in the airports will be installed soon”

  65. Raghu Says:

    Excellent Blog. God bless you!! I am planning to visit Tirumala around Jan 3rd 2013 from US. I have 9 month old and I was wondering, if i could use Thulabaram main entrance for all 15 family members in this included are four elderly parents among them two has difficulty walking.

    • llchennai Says:

      dear Raghu, thanks. Tie up all loose ends before arrival at Tirumala since Jan 1 is the most crowded day in Tirumala. Only parents and child can use main entrance for thulabharam as far as I know. If all 15 are NRIs, use Sampadam gate near Vaikuntam QC. See last para of Para (5) above. Those above 65 can get prior permission for main door direct entry 3-4 days earlier. See first para of Para (6) above. Others have to use Seegra Darshan Rs.300 ticket if they are not NRIs. Please share your experience after your visit. Thanks.

  66. Ramamurthy Says:

    good and helpful

  67. subramanyam wupadrasta Says:

    My Mother in Law who is accompanying me to Tirumala is 67 yrs old. To which address shall I send her request. To the JEO at ATC 115 or The EO at Administrative Building

    Subramanyam
    HongKong

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Subramanyam, As far as I know the JEO at Tirumala should be able to grant permission for aged-people entry; try sending an email or letter to JEO, TTD, Tirumala; Email ID: JEOTML@e-ttd.org or jeotml@e-ttd.org; his phone no: 0877-2263218; if it works, let all of us know by posting in this blog! If it does not, call the Hyderabad call centre and get full details and post it here (the Hyderabad call center is very sincere in replying to such queries)

  68. ajabghajab Says:

    Thanks for this awesome blog! I should have seen this much earlier. I have a question regarding the Arjitha .sevas I have a Vasantotsavam ticket which says I need to go to the VQC1 complex, however the call center tells me to report at the Vaibhava Mandapam. Which should I follow. also is there a place to change to the dhoti after entering the temple complex?

    • llchennai Says:

      As far as I know, call centre should be correct. I suggest that you report 30 mts early at Vaibhava Mandapam and if it is the wrong place, you still have time to go to VQC. All places are within 3 km in Tirumala hills and hence need not worry too much. There is no place to change to Dhoti within VQC though I have seen a few changing into dhoti while on the queue. If you are in the free Dharma Darshan queue, there are places to change into dhoti since bathrooms, toilets, wash basins and drinking water provisions are there in every hall.

  69. venkat Says:

    I am from Mumbai,Reading your blog was really useful for my plan to visit temple.But after reading one of the above responses i am worried since i m visiting the temple with my fiance.worried whether we will be given accommodation at any hotels for two days near temple.Please help with necessary information else will have to cancel the trip.

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Venkat, I do not envisage any problem just because you are not yet married. Proceed without any further thoughts. But there are no “”hotels” near temple. Read my blog reg accommodation in Tirupati and Tirumala.

  70. R.Sethuraman Says:

    Sir,

    You have indeed taken a lot of pains and efforts to produce an all comprising data on pilgrimage to Tirumala. I am 61 ,diabetic and obese with weak but manageable joints. I had by walk from Alipiri to Tirumala by foot in Feb this year.with my son and my friend of more than 40 years younger to me a few months and his wife. My friend and his wife both being habitual trekkers adjusted with me. It took us ( because of me ) 5-1/2 Hrs. Iam now planning to reach Tirupati by 09 30 Hrs by train from Chennai and I was told we should pray Goddess Alarmel Mangai Thayar in Tiruchanur and have dharshan of God Govinda Raja swamy in Tirupati. Since Lord Balaji is our Family God also I am planning to follow this procedure.
    It would mean that I may reach Alipiri by 1400 Hrs on 05 Dec. On reaching Tirumala , Accommodation will be another matter. On 06th , I would like to carry out tonsuring bathe and have Darshan of Lord Venkateswara as I Dhiva Dharshan Ticket and reach Vijaya Bank later but before 1400 Hrs. I will have plenty of time on 06 th anyway. I need to perform AngaPradakhshinam on 07 th Dec , have Darshan again and return. I am planning to take Water bottle and a few essential medicine . Could you please advise whether my plan requires any modification ?

    • llchennai Says:

      Your plan looks ok since u seem to have a lot of time. See Angapradakshan portion of my blog for the latest change in timings. Being diabetic or obese are very small inconveniences before The Lord. But carry enough biscuits or chocolates always to avoid hypoglycemia, low sugar, which is a greater problem than high sugar. Happy Darshan!

  71. R.Sethuraman Says:

    I am grateful to you sir, for your prompt and kind reply. For all the yeomen service you are doing , i can only a big Thank You and May your tribe increase.

  72. Gayathri Says:

    Very useful and gives a lot of insight. thank you Sir!

  73. swamy Says:

    .Hello Sir,
    I would like to share my experience with APTDC package trip to Tirupathi this time. This is the 2 days trip, supposed to cover srikalahasthi, but not included now days due to improper road and temple staffs limited or no support to packaged tours.
    Day 1:
    • Start date: 16-1-2013, 7.30 PM (they actually started at 7.15 PM itself, very prompt) from Burkit Road, T.Nagar. Chennai.
    • Stopped at Akshya hotels in Tiruvallur at 8.45 PM for Dinner, decent hotel, good food, avg/ok service, neat rest room.
    • After dinner the bus starts at 9.15 PM and took us to tirupathi, sreenivasam complex around 11.45 PM,
    • Tiruvallur to tirupathi road is not in good condition, lots of bumpers, you feel the tiredness though you are travelling in a Volvo.
    • The guide will get into the bus at tirupathi, and give you the room for quick refreshment, and wanted us to come back to bus by 4.15 AM.
    • They used to give room for twin sharing basis, sometimes you get a single room based on the crowd in the bus.
    • The room seems to be avg/ok. Big room, heater didn’t work properly.
    • The attender will come and wake you up around 2.30 AM to get ready for the darshans.
    Day 2:
    • The bus sharply started at 4.15 Am, the guide took us to tiruchannor for superabada seva, the bus reached at 4.30 Am, we were told to buy seva tickets by ourselves (Rs.25/) per tickled, no free laddus.
    • The ticket counter will start giving ticket at sharp 5 AM. We bought the tickets and went for superabada darshan. Pl note, only 50 tkts will be issued for superabada seva, if you are happened to get beyond 50th tkt, you have to wait for sahasranama archana which started at 6 AM.
    • After completing seva ( those who are inside the temple will try to get money for everything, if you want to see the god for few more mins you need to pay them), you can see the laddu counter, where one laddu will be issued per person for Rs.10/-.
    • The bus started from temple around 5.50 Am, and took us to sreenivasam for b/fast and transfer of local bus to tirumala.
    • The guide will give tokens to us for b/fast at Sreenivasam AP tourism resturant1st floor. The b/fast includes 2 idllys, one vada, one cup pongal, and coffee/tea. The food is ok.
    • After finishing up the b/fast the guide will help us to find the local bus which is there in Sreenivasam building to start trip to tirumala.
    • The bus started around 6.45 AM and reached tirumala by 7.45,
    • The guide took the list of devotees who wanted to go for mottai, and stopped right after bus terminus for mottai, we have to pay 50 Rs per head to quick the mottai in few mins, otherwise there will be a lengthy queue which used to take an hour or so. We have gone for mottai, paid to the barber, finished our bath and back to rabagheecha bus stand to join with the rest of the tour group. It took approx 30 mns for us to join back the tour group. In shop no 37, we kept our luggage (free), cell phone (rs.10 per phone), and chapels/shoes (rs.2/per pair).
    • Once everyone has joined the guide took us to VQC 1 complex entrance, where there is a separate queue for 300 rs darshan ticket counter with permission for packaged tour operators. We joined the queue along with other tourist, the guide informed us to retain the APTDC ticket with us for verification. After verification we have gone inside the queue around 9.15 AM. The guide bought tickets for all of us and helped us to join the darshan queue properly. Once you joined the darshan (Rs.300) queue, it will take an hour or two to complete darshan, for us it took 1hr 40 mns. We came out around 11.10 Am after darshan and assembled back at vahana mandapam, as the guide instructed earlier. The guide collected laddus for us, and also gave the extra laddus as per request (2 or 4 for Rs.100/ based on crowd and availability). We are all came back to the rabagheecha bus stand and collected back our phones and luggage and waiting for other group members to join.
    • The bus started back to tirupathi from the bus stand around 12 noon, we came to sreenivasam again by 1.00 PM, and the guide gave the lunch coupons to everyone, and finished the lunch at 1st floor AP restaurant. The food seems to be ok. (buffet: 1 chapatti, sweet, veg rice, kuruma, poriya, rice, papad, dhall, sambar, rasam, curd rice, pickle).
    • After lunch we are all boarded back to APTDC volvo bus to come back to Chennai. The guide helped us to find our APTDC bus and he got down at the sreenivasam complex itself. We gave some tips to him for his good service. The bus started at 1.45 PM from tirupathi and reached Chennai t.nagar at 6.30 PM, with 30 mins halt at Tiruvallur for coffee/snacks break.
    I would highly recommend this trip for someone who wanted a neat guided darshan. The highlights of the trip are proper bus timings, no unnecessary stops, driver never talks in his cellphone while driving, well informed guided tour, neat darshan, guide speaks 3 to 4 languages. Other than food at AP restaurant the tour scores 4.5 out of 5, the food at AP restaurant is 3 out of 5.
    I haven’t seen APTDC evening trip details in the website, so thought of sharing to other readers.
    Pl note that this trip does not stop for head tonsure/mottai if srikalahasthi temple visit is resumed, so pl call them and get confirm before booking your tickets if you are planning for mottai
    The package includes: Volvo trip to tirupathi, local bus trip to tirumala, overnight accommodation, and guide from tirupathi, Rs.300 ticket at tirumala, 2 laddus, breakfast and lunch at tirupathi AP Restaurant.

    • llchennai Says:

      dear Swamy, an excellent and cogent presentation of details. Thanks on behalf of readers for taking time off to share your experience. I have included a reference to this in my blog above under APTDC since it is really worth it. But you have not mentioned the cost of this tour ticket. Can you please give us the fare too?

    • Vijayalakshmi Says:

      Hi,
      Read your experience it was well explained I have one doubt in it, does the guide help us for Thulabaram also in this trip

      • llchennai Says:

        Thulabaram is done towards the fag end of the queue just before you see the God. The guide might be able to tell you how to do it but will not accompany you. the procedure for Thulabaram has been explained in my blog. it is not as difficult as you imagine. Everything is streamlined. before you stand in the VQC, ask the staff there about Thulabaram.

  74. swamy Says:

    Yes sir, the cost of the trip per person is Rs.1450/-

  75. Rani Says:

    Namasthe. I am planning angapradakshinam at Tirumala. Is there a chance that i am denied a ticket, despite being there the earlier day and joining the Q. I mean, if the rush is heavy and I cant compete. How do women manage dress wise, when they do it. Salwar dress is suitable? My husband will be allowed to help me when am at it?

    • llchennai Says:

      You need not worry too much. The worst case scenarios is that you may have to stay for one more day. That’s it. But that’s very unlikely. The rush for anga pradhakshan is not as great as that for say thomalaseva or archana; normally 375 tokens are issued for males and another 375 for female devotees at 2 pm ONE day prior to the anga pradhakshanam day at Vijaya Bank counter at the CRO free of cost, means you must get the token on 7th afternoon for 8th angapradhakshan; but note that you must go the the Vijaya bank counter at least 2-3 hours prior to 2 pm since the queue there is always serpentine because ALL kinds of seva tickets are issued there; normally one attender is allowed to accompany the devotee but children are not allowed; loose-fitting dark coloured churidhar or salwar kameez (light colours are not suitable because you do the anga pradhakshan in wet clothes) should be the ideal dress for females though many rural women do it in sarees also which is difficult to manage for most urban women; on Saturdays and Sundays and on those days with huge rush, the anga pradhakshanam are NOT allowed; on Fridays anga pradhakshan is allowed but you cannot see Him after anga pradhakshan because of thirumanjanam; so choose Mon-Thu in lean periods like March (exam time) if possible; avoid April-June, the holiday season; however call their call centre (see numbers in my blog above) and get all your doubts clarified before planning the same since I am not an expert on this; since I have spent 30 minutes on your query, I expect you to please share your experience after you complete your vow so that other readers can be benefited. Wish you a peaceful visit and dharshan.

  76. Rani Says:

    That is encouraging, Il Chennai!
    However, APTDC refuses to accommodate us for Angapradakshinam in their package tour (as its a single day plan), says we will have to be on our own! Now, all the TTD guest houses are fully booked for months together. Any tips for private cottages that can be booked from here for February dates? Next, Do we need to get back to our rooms for dress change after the angapradakshinam before darshan, or is there a provision of changing rooms nearby!

    • llchennai Says:

      dear Rani
      APTDC is of no use for angapradhakshinam trips; use a private cab from chennai for 2-3 days if you can afford it (around Rs.6 to 10K depending on the no.of people, may be call ntltaxi at 044-3000-3000 chennai or see their website) or go by train to tirupati or tirumala; inside tirumala you may not need a car if you can walk.
      Accommodation: did you try booking it online? (see my blog). No private GHs in Tirumala, the hills; but many free choultries are available but you need to compromise on quality of rooms or dorms; many get accommodation even after going there provided you choose a non-rush day like a weekday from Mon-Thu.
      Provision for changing dress before darshan: I have not seen one; best is to talk to their call centre at numbers given in my blog. Share these details with us after your trip.
      LL

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  78. Kalpana Says:

    I have a recommendation letter from a MP of Rajya Sabha for darshan and accomodation on 16th March 2013.I have laready faxed the letter well in advance.However when i called at the customer care of Tirumala Ive been getting varied responses. I will be reaching tirupati by 3.45pm on 16/3/13.Since I am travelling with 3 senior citizens and 2 kids , is it advisable that I hire a prepaid cab( read from your blog) and head towards Tirumala, submit this letter at JO ‘s office and request for accomodation and darshan for the following day.In case this letter is not honoured , what would be the best time by when I should reach VQ-I counter for seegra darshan, accordingly I can get my small kids to get ready.Please advise and I shall be thankful.I am also confused is the Padmavathy Guest house at tirumal or tirupati ?

    • llchennai Says:

      I am a bit confused on the dates. When u have an MP’s letter for 16th Darshan, what is the point in reaching Tirupati on 16th? TTD is an ocean and normally the faxes can get lost. You can hire a cab at 4 pm, and reach Tirumala at 5pm on 16th evening. Try for accommodation first and then try for Darshan on 16th night or 17th morning. Accommodation should be normally available if you have an MP’s letter. If you suspect that this letter may not be honored,mornings would be the best time for Seegra Darshan. And note that senior citizens and infants have a separate entrance instead of the normal queue, read my blog. If you are the only adult to take care of these three senior citizens and kids, the TTD staff will allow you also to use the special entrance at their discretion.Padmavathy GH is in Tirumala the hilltop and not in Tirupati, the hill bottom. Hope this input is useful.

      • Rani Says:

        I successfully completed angapradashinam (AP) 2 weeks ago, thanks for all the support info this blog gave. We got the lodging with some recommendation.
        I stood in the queue the previous day at 2 pm and managed to get the AP ticket at Vijaya Bank counter. There were about 500 devotees for this. But the wait with the wet clothes was a bit long. All women were literally shivering in the cold. We joined the queue at 1.30 am and came out around 4.15am. The guest house was close to the temple, hence we could hop across in 5 minutes.
        It is better to wear a synthetic material salwar, so that it dries off fast. However, it was my preference to stay wet, while performing the vow. The tranquility in the mind post the darshan is incomparable! You need to take Rs 10 to exchange with a laddu coupon.
        With a Rs 300 ticket, we had another darshan in an hour’s time that was really good. Late February, to March is a better time to visit truly.
        Any query on Angapradakshinam, welcome! Tuesday to Thursday, I am told is best, however during weekends this AP is not permitted.

  79. Rajaram Says:

    Hi llChennai
    First of all Thanks a lot for your detailed post. It actually requires a lot of patience. May God bless you.

    I am planning to go with my family for Darshan next week. Request the following information

    1. After parking our vehicle, where to keep the car keys – Is it allowed inside? – Keys with remote (with cells)

    2. What is the possibility of getting accommodation through CRO for the same day? – On sunday?

    3. Any dress code for children below 12 ?

    Thanks
    Rajaram

    • llchennai Says:

      Last time I could take it inside after security guys checked it. If they do not, you have to deposit it in the cloak room just opp VQC, may be check with the guy at the entrance of the queue. CRO on Sunday is a tough ask. Try out. If not alternatives are 1. Touts nearby I believe. 2. Stay in free choultries. 3. Return to Tirupati for halt. No specific dress code for children; pants, chudidhars are allowed but no T-shirts; skirts will be objected to, since covering knee is important. Less than 6 years even shorts are ok. This is as far as I know.

  80. Kaushik Datta Says:

    Thanks for this wonderful blog. The details has helped us a lot. Great work.

  81. Rajaram Says:

    Dear LLChennai Sir,
    Thanks a lot for the detailed post. By God’s grace we got Darshan on Mar 24th.

    We reached Tirupati on 23rd Night. Stayed in Vishnu Nivasam. Very clean place. Also a nice restaurant from IRCTC in the same building. Food is suitable for kids too.

    Next day moring we started to Tirumala. Heavy rush in Rs 300 Queue due to Floating Festival. We had taken Rs 50 darshan ticket from Bangalore and entered the Queue at 1:45 PM (Reporting time was 3 PM. However volunteers permitted us. Thanks to them)

    We had to wait in small rooms numbered from 48 to 37 and then the number changed to 1 suddenly :-)

    Heavy push from Devotees. Usual

    As the Queue approaches the Main Deity, push becomes unmanageable.

    Once you get the divine Darshan all other things go behind,

    Govinda Govinda….

    We drove down the same night and continued our stay in Vishnu Nivasam.

    The next day visited Govinda Raja Swamy Temple(Very close to Vishnu Nivasam) and then Padmavathy Temple and then returned to Bangalore.

    Govinda Govinda…

    Regards
    Rajaram

    • llchennai Says:

      dear rajaram
      did they finally allow your car remotes with batteries inside? just to help our readers.

      • Rajaram Says:

        Dear LLChennai,

        Sorry I missed this part to mention.

        I took a room in Kashi Mutt at Tirumala. I kept the car keys with remote there. In case if they don’t allow, it will be a bigger problem to keep them in the lockers again (time , effort).

        Even the person at the Mutt told, they won’t allow any items with cells.

        Regards
        Rajaram

  82. G.MURUGAN Says:

    Dear sir
    I have booked e seva and accomodation. Booking history was available in my login id for some time. Now it is not showing the booking history. I need print out of the receipts. I send a mail to edpmoffice@gmail.com with date of seva,my mail id & details of my photo identity as per ttdsevaonline.com. I have not received any reply from ttd. My seva is Next month. How to get the print out? please help me!

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  84. Friend Says:

    Excellent …when you visit Tirupati Balaji next time, please visit Shilparamam of Govt of AP’s tourisim site on the way to Tiruchanur Temple. You will find a Sun Dial there.. Please click on this link to see the sun dial http://tirupatishilparamam.blogspot.in

  85. premabala Says:

    hi sir,
    thank you for your detailed post. i am planning to go to thirumala on 31st July. we are a group of 13 adults and 3 children (including 3 ppl >50 yrs old) . i am trying to secure the tickets for seegra darshan. do you have any idea what time does the ticket counter open and what time will they allow us to start queueing for the darshan.
    i contact one suresh which you had mentioned in your post and he said the AAD tickets are no longer available. we are planning to be at thirumala by 4 am on 31st July. since we are NRIs, do we hav eto mention at the ticket counter bout using the special lane or we just walk towards it?
    thank you so much for your lovely post and time :)

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear premabala, If all are NRIs look for NRI ticket counter in the Ticket complex, produce original passports for all, buy tickets, join the short queue at Vaikuntam Q Complex and finish Darshan in 2-4 hours. Seegra Darshan tickets are issued only on that day (no adv booking) and u can join the queue by 8 am and buy the Rs.300 tickets, and finish Darshan in 2-5 hours normally. Everyone needs to stand in queue for these tickets. On some days the Rs.300 tickets are not issued in the afternoons, see my blog for day wise details. AAD has been stopped last year. If you are going to assemble in a place like Chennai 10-15 days earlier, all can visit the TTD centre and get Rs.50 sudarshanam Darshan tickets which are faster on some days and the standing time in the queue reduces drastically compared to Seegra Darshan. People with infants less than 12 months can walk thru a separate entrance with almost no waiting time or ticket.

  86. Ajit Pillai Says:

    Shri Venkatesha Namah

    Your findings are informations are very useful and helpful. I am sure many can use it to plan well there trip.

    Wishing everyone successful Darshan and Blessings of Lord Venkatesha.

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  88. Suresh Says:

    dear sir,
    This blog is really informative and has got lots of useful information.Great work and god bless. I’m going to Tirumala this month and have an arjitha seva booked.I’m planning to reach Tirumala by foot a day before (the arjitha seva) but read in the blog that the ticket holders must register before 7 pm the previous day for the next day’s seva.I’m planning to walk from Alipiri a day before from 2:30 pm onwards so might reach Tirumala around 6:30 pm.Should we plan someother way to register for the seva day before.Please advice?

    • llchennai Says:

      As far as I know, there is no registration needed at 7 pm on previous day. But I do not know what Arjitha Seva ticket is held by you. Better to call their call centre (tel.numbers in my blog) and get confirmation.

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  90. Atul Ranjan Says:

    Great Blog it is!!..I am planning to visit on September 6th from Chennai…Will the dates fall under the Bramha mahotsavam time..how will be the crowd..I will be going with my 62 years old Mother..Can she manage the crowd during this time..I am planning to book AP tourism package …is it a good choice..Thanks in advance

    • llchennai Says:

      Brahmotsavam falls normally in the second half of Sept and crowd will be quite high during those ten days; but sept 6 is a friday and crowd should be manageable for your 62 year old mom especially since you have opted for a package tour (a wise decision); APTDC package is quite good and reliable. wish you a happy darshan!

  91. Radha Says:

    Hi Sir,

    I am planning to go Tirumala on Nov 7 2013, is it right time to go?will it be too crowed..as we are 6 adults and 2 senior citizen & 4 kids.one will be only 3 months.any suggestion?which one will be fastest line for darshan?

  92. MJ Says:

    We are planning to visit Tirupati (self, wife and 4 year old son) on September 7 through Seegra Darshan after getting tickets at the counter. I am driving down from Bangalore and taking the car to the hills. 1. How far is the car parking area from the VQC counter where tickets are issued? 2. Are there food and toilet facilities in the queue area, esp. for my son, since I understand it may take quite a few hours?

    • llchennai Says:

      Car parking area is behind the temple and is about 10 minutes by walk from VQC entrance. Food: no facilities except mobile vendors. Better to take biscuits, fruits, water for you and your son in a small bag. Water is availble in many places in the queue. Toilet facilities are there in VQC in every enclosure. Between VQC Segra Darshan entrance and Darshan area, I think toilets are there only in two places. Remember that your son has to use the toilet in bare feet since he will not be allowed inside the queue with the chappals on. Wish you a fast and peaceful Darshan!

  93. MJ Says:

    Just before I sign off – this is a very very good write up. Thanks for the tons of info.

  94. Atul Ranjan Says:

    Hi IIChennai..Thanks for responding to my earlier query..I am back with one more about the dress code.. (Travelling on 6th of this month by AP Tourism)..You have mentioned that shirt & Pant is required..So, this is required only for getting into the queue..We can go in tshirts/jeans till the hill?..TIA

    • llchennai Says:

      See para (1) reg dress code. Pants, dhoti, shirt ok for gents but no T-shirts. (For arjitha sevas even pants and shirt are not allowed). shorts and shirt ok for son. Sari, chudidhars, kurthi-pajama ok for ur wife but no pants. Jeans not ok for any one. All these codes are only for VQC and Dharshan queues. In all other places in the hills you can wear anything decent.

  95. Niyati Goyal Says:

    Hi, I’m planning to visit Tirupati and Tirumala on 8th of September and take the Seeghra Darshan ticket. We have a contact in Tirumala, can he get the tickets for us by the time we reach? Also I will be travelling with my MIL – 63 yr old, GM- 90yr old, my husband and my 4yr old daughter. My MIL has a slight problem in her leg. So, can both my MIL and GM take the Sr Citizen queue and my husband & I accompany them?

    • llchennai Says:

      As far as I know, all tickets are issued for darshan only in person since photo and finger printing are done. Same holds for seegra darshan I think. Senior citizen entry is possible for the 63 and 90 year old at the discretion of the temple officer at main entrance. One attendant can normally accompany. So what you desire must be possible. Please let us know what really happened on 8th at Tirumala. Rush must have been 2/3rd of normal because of Seemandhra strike.

      • MJ Says:

        There is a senior citizen queue – near the Mada Streets. I heard that there is one at 3 PM. Better to enquire at the TTDC office there.

  96. MJ Says:

    Thank you for your inputs to my post on September 3. We visited on September 7 and we were blessed to have an amazing darshan of the Lord. Few tips I thought I’d share:
    – There is scanning of all luggages and the entire vehicle at the entrance to Tirumala hills. So carry the bare necessities alone.
    – We used the free tonsuring facility at Kalyankhatta near the bus stand. It is quick but there could be long breaks in the waiting queue when barbers take a break. Wear rubber sandals since the place may not be too neat to enter barefoot.
    – We managed to get tickets for the Sahasra Deepalankarana Seva (http://www.tirumala.org/pg_sahdeep.htm) on Sept 7 evening. We could enter the darshan queue just before the bridge near the Mada Streets after the Seva. The queue time was approx. 1 hr 15 minutes after that.
    – I understand that there is a particular order of visiting the temples.Based on a few websites, we visited the Padmavathi temple first, Varaha temple next before visiting the Lord.
    – Please avail the free lunch facility provided by TTDC near the temple. The food is sumptuous and the place is neat. They serve a 3 course meal with Sambar, rasam and buttermilk. You can also use the restroom facilities inside this complex which are fairly neat. The staff do not solicit tips.
    – avoid buying the plastic bags which are priced at Rs.2/- near the laddu counters and use cloth bags to pack the laddus to save the environment.
    – You are not allowed to wear slippers on the Mada streets. So better to leave them in the vehicle before entering the temple complex.
    – Take some time to explore the area adjacent to the temple – there are other temples like Radhakrishna temple, Hyagriva temple, Hanuman temple.
    – Mobile phones are prohibited in most temples in Tirupati as well as Sri Kalahasti. So better to leave them in the vehicle itself.
    – We booked ASR Inn at Tirupati and went to Tirumala in the morning and returned by 9 PM.

  97. Vijaya (@cotees) Says:

    Hello, I am a reader from Mumbai, I am very grateful for the detailed information you have given on this blog. We are planning to take darshan on 29th and 30th of this month. So far we have been unable to book any darshan, seva or accomodation on the internet since last month. Even when accomodation which was showing as available for this date, the booking screen just would not proceed. We are leaving it to Govinda to show us the way. The customer service told us to come and take current booking. The dates cannot be changed, we have to take darshan in this time frame only. Our train reaches in the evening at Renigunta and we will reach Tirumala only by 7pm. The accomodation counter is open till 10 pm they said. What are our options after reaching Tirumala. We are praying we can get an accomodation at Tirumala itself and then we are planning for mottai and also seegra darshan. Or is it better to stay in Tirupati and go in the morning to Tirumala – but mottai and bath is difficult then. Any suggestions?

    • llchennai Says:

      Your Visit On 29 & 30 Sept:
      Darshan: Seegra darshan would be the best option for you. See Para-3 (part-D) for full details on this. Also get Rs.50 sudarshanam darshan tickets to see Him again since the time taken from start to finish may be even lesser in Rs.50 than the Rs.300 tickets.

      Seva: try current booking since you are planning to stay overnight. Current Booking is the facility to book Arjitha sevas one day in advance [or for the same day if tickets are still available]. Available from 8 am on all days for the sevas on the next day at Vijaya Bank counter just opposite to the VQC-I; everyone needs to go in person because biometric is needed; no cancellation/postponement is allowed [tips: many people go and stand in the queue at 5-6 am itself for the 8 am opening of the counter and hence the limited seva tickets get sold out early].

      Accommodation: If you reach Tirumala only by 7pm, you can try for accommodation at the CRO. The accommodation counter is open till 10 pm. But if you want to be certain about your accommodation (no anxiety) you can book mutt rooms 4 days in advance over phone and pay when you go but it is about 1 km away from the temple and might need a transport such as cab or jeep or auto. Their rooms are better than those of the TTD’s. Read my blog Para-18 “Do you want to book rooms in the last minute?” for more details.

      Mottai: the least of your problems; go to any kalyanaghatta in and around the temple and spend 1 hour for the mottai; the only issue might be cleanliness; use hawai chappals which they allow sometimes.

      If you want good accommodation, staying in Tirupati is advisable; hire a cab for one day if you can afford (Rs.2000 or so), go in the morning to Tirumala at 6 am (ghat road opens at 4 am); mottai and bath are NOT difficult.Take clothes, towel etc; crowd starts in Tirumala from 9 am so complete your mottai before 7.30 am; reasonably good food is available in Tirumala.

  98. P.Jaiganesh Says:

    I wish to travel to Thirumala, can anyone guide me whether TEMPO TRAVELLERS are allowed. I am getting different promises from different travel agents. Or where can I get clear information regarding Tempo Traveller?

    Thank you in advance!

    • llchennai Says:

      Twelve seaters are allowed but NOT Tempo Travellers, as far as I know. Either call TTD call centre (see numbers in my blog) or talk to any travel agent in Tirupati, tell them you need a Tempo Traveller to visit Tirumala for one day.

  99. Srini Says:

    Great blog! Information is very helpful. I’m NRI planning to visit Tirumala between Dec 16th 2013 and 23rd with family members (3 adults and 2 kids). I tried to book seva tickets online for Dec 16th but couldn’t get the tickets. so I will be getting Sudarsanam Booking for any of the dates between 17th and 23rd. After reaching Tirumala I am planning to get the Seva Tickets if possible. By using the Sudarsanam tickets and passports can we take advantage of the special Q at Sampadam? Do we have to carry passports for kids also?

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Srini, Dec 16-23 is ok because of exams. But Dec 23 to Jan 4 is likely to be very crowded because of Xmas and NY holidays. For NRIs the fastest is NRI Darshan but kids too need passports unless they are infants < 1 year. You can try for Seva tickets at 6am for next day's seva if you are planning to stay in Tirumala. See my blog Para 4, sl.no. 4 for Current Booking. Rs.50 Sudarsanam tickets too are useful in saving time. Hope this helps.

  100. SK Says:

    Excellent work llchennaiI! haven’t found a site more informative than this! A must read for anyone visiting Tirupati.

    I plan to walk uphill (Divyadarshan), get tonsured at Tirumala before the darshan. Hence will need some kind of accomodation or amenity to take bath after tonsuring and before Darshan. However, accomodation is unavailable at Tirumala on the date I have planned to visit.

    I wish to know, if accomodation (or some kind of amenity to bath) will surely made available for Divya darsham pilgrims? (so that if I choose Divya darshan, I need not worry ’bout the accomodation part).
    Thanks!

    • llchennai Says:

      Taking bath soon after the tonsuring is no big deal but for the hygiene part. Every Kalyanaghatta has a place where the males and females can take bath. Some places even offer hot water at a cost for early morning bathers. Go to any kalyanaghatta, buy token, get tonsured on your turn, take bath, get dressed and come out (1 to 2 hours depending on the rush). You have to ‘adjust’ as far as cleanliness is concerned. You need an attendant to hold your clothes, wallet etc. Otherwise no need to book acco. In fact APSTRC, TTDC buses have one-day trips which includes 1 hour for tonsuring and they do not provide any acco. Still if you need acco, try at Central Reservation Counter on arrival or better still, book one of the Mutts (Kasi Mutt, Vishaka Mutt etc that are not covered by TTD reservation system) 3 days prior over phone (Rs.400-1000 approx per 24 hours).Talk with their call centre (see ph.no.in my blog) for confirmation.

  101. TTD visitor Says:

    Very useful info, Llchennai…Thanks and appreciate all your good effort, God Bless.

  102. sk kannan Says:

    is there any defence quota facilities available for darshans and accommodation?

  103. vijay Says:

    is it possible to have darshan when some body reaches there at 06 am and want to catch train at 08 pm

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Vijay, Of course you can. Buy Seegra Darshan Rs.300 ticket asa u reach Tirumala or buy Rs.50 Sudarsanam tickets 15-30 days earlier at the TTD centers all over India. Both queues take 2-4 hours normally. If you are an NRI or if you have an infant (less than 12 months) accompanying you, you can get special ticket for a short queue.

  104. Pari Says:

    Hi ,
    we are going Tirumala on Nov 7 2013, is it right time to go?will it be too crowed?..as we are 6 adults and 2 senior citizen & 4 kids.one will be only 3 months.any suggestion?which one will be fastest line for darshan?we will be reaching chennai on 6th Nov @ 11:30 pm ..we have booked the tempo traveler from there to tirumala.After reaching there what should we do?can you pls guide us.. we all are NRI’s..
    Thanks!

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Pari
      Nov 7th should have normal crowd since Brahmotsavam and Diwali are over; since all of you are NRIs, take everyones’s original passports (safely) and get a special entry with least wait of 2-3 hours (read NRI portion of my blog); Senior citizens and persons with disability can enter directly through the main Gate along with one attendant as in my blog; infants (less than 12 months old) and its parents can have a special entry through the side entrance as in my blog; these three are quite fast queues; other options are Seegra Darshan (daily ticket with no advance booking) costing Rs.300 which might take 2-4 hours; looks like you want to leave on 6th midnight and reach Tirumala by 4am which is ok but as far as I know Tempo Travellers alone are NOT allowed in the Ghat Road fm Tirupati to Tirumala though other private 12 seaters are allowed (more than 12 seats are not allowed in private vehicles); check this with call centre at numbers available in my blog; if you have not booked any accommodation at Tirumala, try at private matams (mutts) such as Kashi Math or Vishaka etc as in my blog; finish bath, complete mundan/mottai if needed, have breakfast in Mayura or other restaurant, then reach temple at 8 am or so and try for the above tickets. Accommodation is better and easier at Tirupati (bottom of the hill) in which case you can book over phone or through one of the travel sites now itself; finish bathing and leave Tirupati hotel by 6 am to reach Tirumala by 7 am; darshan should be over by 12 noon to 4 pm depending on the crowd. Hope you get a hasslefree darshan!

  105. SK Says:

    Dear llchennai,
    You small tips, like the one we see today on Diwali crowd are of immense help .

    Will 30th Oct (Wednesday) likey to see Diwali crowd?

    • llchennai Says:

      No. Diwali is not a major festival for Tirumala. English and Telugu
      New Years, Brahmotsavam etc are very crowded. Most people try to spend their time with their families on Diwali day. Hence you can visit Tirumala on 31st,1st and 3rd Nov without much of a problem.

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  108. Vijayalakshmi Says:

    Hi
    We are planning to visit thirupati in the month of feb 2014 ,
    group of 10( 8 adult and 2 infant) from chennai . We wanted to do mottai and Thulabharam for our kids. Will Tamil Nadu tourism gives us time to perform all this. If not which way of transport would be better

    • llchennai Says:

      TTDC, ITDC, APTDC give time for mottai but not for Thulabaram. In any case you may talk to them at tel. numbers available in Paragraph (11) of my blog. If not, you may have to hire a 10-12 seater van (other than Tempo Traveller which is not allowed in the Ghat Roads). Innova and Tavera can seat only 7-8.

  109. R.Sethuraman Says:

    Sir, This is a little exhaustive as I wish to present my experience. I am 62, slightly obese, diabetic and my knees are not really very strong. I don’t have any other health complaint and I am blessed with self confidence.I don’t go walk for morning walk at all, even though I retired as a Senior Civilian Officer from Defence and I am presently gainfully engaged as Full time Consultant with a Defence Organization.On 20th this month, I left Shanthi Nagar Bus Stand by volvo at 1845 Hrs and reached Tirupati 0010 Hrs.Checked in at Hotel Vikram ,paid Rs 500/- and had a couple of hours of sleep. Reached Thiruchanur at 0535Hrs and paid Rs. 25/- for Dharshan Ticket. Had Dharshan of Thayar and later reached Lord Govindha Raja Swamy Temple around 0630 Hrs I had very good Dharshan of Govindha Raja Swamy .Needless to say crowd was sparse in both the temples that Morning..Had coffee and stood in queue at Alipiri for depositing my back bag.It took a good 30 minutes for my turn and security told me to remove the coins which along with some money I had kept inside for Sri Vari Hundi. I did accordingly. I rang up Shri Raman of Srimad SriRangam Andavan Ashram of Tirumal Hills and reminded him of my previous days’s telephone cal ( 08772277826 )and informed him tha ttI have begun to walk. A genial person , Mr Raman told me accommodation is available and that I need not worry. I began walking at 0835.
    Step No.250 Mysore GopuramDist to Tirumala 8.6 Km. Step No. 300 Rajavalu ( I hope my spelling is right.) Gopuram 8.3 Km to Tirumala.Next Yelakkuyala Mandapam Step No2083 gali Gopuram Time 1020 Hrs.
    Got Divya Dharshan Ticket , had breakfast ,rested a while.and continued from Gali Gopuram by 1050 Hrs. Step No. 2104 Chittekkudu (beginning) (Link road) Chinnamedu begins. 7.3 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2300 Chittekkudu (ending) 6.9 Kms to Tirumala.(Milestone says 7 Kms) Step No. 2530 Poorilla Mandapam.6.5 Kms to Tirumala.Time 1125Hrs
    Step No. 2567 Deer Park 6.2 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2680 . 7th Mile. Shri Prasanna Anjaneya Swamy Temple is here. 5.8 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2760 Dorsani Mandapam 5.4 Kms to Tirumala.Step No. 2830 Kotha Mandapam 4.4 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2840 Muggubavi Mandapam 3.9 Kms to Tirumala.
    At Pathanjali Vana Resting, TTD had arranged a very hot fantastic Sambar Rice . Time 1300 Hrs. Step No. 2852 Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple 3.8 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 2910 Mokalimitta Gopuram 2.4 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 3260 Bashyakaryaly Sannadhi 2 Kms to Tirumala. Step No. 3550 Tirumala 1425 Hrs.
    Weatherman had predicted Storm Helen would set in. So I assumed it would be cool climate. On the contrary, it was very warm and I took many breaks. After collecting my back bag , I walked upto CRO office and took token for Anga Prdhakshinam for 22nd. Nowadays the counter is open from 11 AM till the quota is available. as llcennai has already rightly stated there is no dharshan on Fridays for those who perform Anga Pradhkshinam. I went to Srimad Srirangam Andavan Asram ,changed dress , took a slip from Shri Raman , showed it in VishnuPadham Guest House paid Rs 10/- and reported at their Mini KalyanaKhatta and had my head tonsured. Returned to the Asram , had bath and went to have dharshan of Lord VarhaSwamy and then went to join the special queue for foot path pilgrims. Any way after five hours I had Dharshan of Lord Srinivasa around 2200 Hrs. Next morning, I bathed in Swami Pushkarani around 0100 Hrs and stood in the queue for Anga Pradhakshinam. By the grace of Lord Srinivasa , I returned to Tirupati by 1300 hrs.

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Sir, it was quite nice of you to have shared these details with other devotees. You have taken great pains to note down the exact details at various Steps which is not easy. May be you are one of the rare breeds of meticulous men, a fast vanishing tribe. With your permission, I will soon include portions of these details in the main body of the blog to guide others. Thanks for your time.

  110. tirupati darshan package from chennai Says:

    What is the main festival of tirupati darshan

  111. Venkat Says:

    Excellent blog. Thanks for sharing such valuable info.

    One query : Are AAD tickets issued everyday at 4 am. I’m planning to reach Tirumala by 3.30 am on Saturday morning. Will I be able to get these tickets if I directly go and stand in the counter at 4am?

    The reason I am asking this is, I regularly visit Tirumala and I take the APTDC bus from T Nagar. They used to take us in the AAD darshan and I remember that guide once telling me that these AAD tickets are only meant for AP Tourism as they have a quota and these tickets need to be booked well in advance. Is it true? Can you throw some light on this?

    • llchennai Says:

      As far as I know only Seegra Darshan Rs.300 tickets can be bought on that day. AAD tickets are booked two months in advance in all TTD centers all over the country. I do not know if you can get it at 4 am at Tirumala on Darshan day. But you can get Rs.50 Sudarsanam tickets on that day if available. APSRTC, TTDC, ITDC have quotas on all working days but none takes you on Saturdays and Sundays. Talk to the TTD call centre if you want confirmation.

  112. Kalpana Says:

    I have a query with regard to Kalyanaotsavam.I am planning to book this seva 90 days in advance through e booking.after I do this seva, will I be able to see Lord Balaji the main deity.I was told by some one that it is ideal to book for kalyanaotsavam so that I can avoid the other wise long queues.Is this true.Last year was my first visit and I stood for 6 hrs in seegra darshan.I want to be more prepared this time.Pls help me

  113. Kalpana Says:

    Has any one recently performed the Kalyanaotsavam. We are 5 adults and 2 kids ( aged five and eight).So does that mean I have to book three tickets online so that we are all entitled to do the kalyanaotsavam? My main concern is I want to have a good darshan of the god this time.Or is it advisable to choose some package tour that operates from Chennai .I would be travelling from Mumbai .

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Kalpana,
      Read Para (4) of my blog reg.Kalyanotsavam; also read our experience on 1.8.2012 in that para; looks like the Kalyanotsavam has been cancelled on the following dates : 01,02,11,12,16-Jan-2014, 06-Feb-2014 and 31-Mar-2014; ticket costs Rs.1000 for 2; hence you may need 3 tickets (including the 5 yr old kid as 7th member free of cost); I think, the kalyanam tickets can be booked in local TTD Centres (Mumbai) too 60 days prior (check with them); you may have to compulsorily sit thru this kalayanam for 90 minutes before seeing the Lord; as soon as Kalayanam is over, you are taken to the queue as close as possible and you may see Him within 15-20 minutes but only for 10-20 seconds as usual; of course you need not spend 4-6 hours in the seegra darshan queue. Package tours from Chennai are also advisable but not for Kalyanotsavam; all 3 operators (ITDC, TTDC, APTDC) allow mottai and Rs.300 seegra darshan but not Kalyanam or Thulabaram. Hope this answer is useful.

  114. jegan Says:

    Pls tell us about Dharmagiri…whether devotees are allowed to go there…the way to dharmagiri is very isolated….

    • llchennai Says:

      Contact TTD’s Sri Venkateswara Veda Patasala, Dharmagiri, Tirumala-517504, Ph. 0877-2233333 since I have no idea.

  115. Shriram bhat Says:

    Thanks a lot Sir,
    helped a lot.

  116. nagitha Says:

    can we get headshave at barbershop at tirumala tirupati devasthanam

    • llchennai Says:

      No. You have to get it done in one of the Kalyanaghattas or in your cottage or room. The hair is taken by the barber and added to the overall stock which is auctioned every year. In fact there are no barber shops in the hill Tirumala.

  117. Jaiganesh Says:

    Hi Sir,

    I am planning to conduct earboring ceremeony for my 2 yr daughter on 13th March 2014. I dont no how to proceed for that. Please advice

  118. Neeta Says:

    I’m planning to go for Darshan on 24 Jan with my 2 daughters, one is 6 year old and one 11 months old. Do I need to carry the age proof of the kids also for Supadam darshan

    • llchennai Says:

      Normally no. But carrying xerox of their birth certificates helps. Actually Supadam queue is for parents with infants less than an year. If there is none to accompany your six year old, they will allow her too, as far as I know.

  119. naresh Says:

    sir i am trying to book eseva ticket since last 15 days but the website ttdsevaonline goes under maintainance everyday at 11:30pm to 12:20am & when it opens at 12:20am suprabhatam seva tickets are not available sir can you suggest what can i do to book suprabhatam online

    • llchennai Says:

      You are not alone. There must be some mischief behind this one hour shut down. Hardly one out of ten have been able to book suprabatham or thomala Seva or archana Seva tickets online. Better to send DD 90 Or 60 days earlier and book Seva tickets. Details are available in my blog. I have never succeeded in booking any Seva online till date though I have been trying for years!

  120. Raj Says:

    In e-seva online, it shows quota fro vasanthotsavam from March 12 to 16 quota is not released. What does that mean? they would release a later date or won’t be released at all online

    • llchennai Says:

      I have no idea if this is cancelled or will be released later for that period. Suggest you make a call to their Call centre at tel.numbers available in my blog.

    • TIRUPATI GUIDE Says:

      from March-12 to March-16 Lord Float Festival will be performed, due to this Vasantotsavam and Sahasradeepalankara seveas were not performed, hence it is cancelled, for further information / updates contact tirupatibalaji.guide@gmail.com for complete guidance and help.

      • llchennai Says:

        Dear TirupatiGuide
        Thanks for your clarification reg.the Float Festival from 12-16 March 2014.

  121. jgforu Says:

    Came across an app in Android – IsBizOpen that had darshan, seva and other details of tirumala temple. Very useful. I searched for “Tirumala Temple” and location Tirupathi and got all the details in one go.

  122. military spouse Career advancement account Says:

    You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read anything like that before.
    So great to discover somebody with unique thoughts on this issue.
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    site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    • llchennai Says:

      I am so happy that you liked my blog. Your name does not sound like that of a Hindu name but you were good enough to appreciate some thing which is not directly beneficial to you. kind gesture indeed! thanks.

  123. srinivas Says:

    Excellent blog… very very usefull information

  124. Madhusudanan Says:

    Dear Sir,

    Namaskarams to you for providing such a detailed blog on all the Sevas in Tirumala. Please answer my questions.

    1. How can I book for Suprabhata/Tomala seva in Tirumala (I tried online booking, but it is not available) ?
    2. Which Seva allows us to have His Darshan for a long time (a few minutes) ?

    Thank you very much.

    • llchennai Says:

      Long Darshan, 10 minutes of sitting, is possible only in Thomala Seva and Archana and hence their demand. Very difficult to get online tickets since only 10 tickets per day in online scheme. Simplest way is to send them DD and ID xerox separately for each devotee 90 days in advance. Read my blog for full details.

  125. Venkat Says:

    IN tirupathi where can we get good pure vegetarian food Please recommend good quality vegetarian hotel

    • llchennai Says:

      There are many. Use google. We normally prefer the veg. Thali in the restaurant in the 8-storied Hotel Bhimas Paradise near the Main Bus Terminus or in the old Bhimas in the road opposite to the Main Railway Station. Costs about Rs.200 or so, if I remember right.

  126. ravichandra Says:

    i would like visit tirupati on 25th april,2014 .so i asked for a room from the donor of sri ram sadan guest house in swamy hathiramjimutt.so the donor gave me “donor accommodation requisition”..now what should i do? should i post the zerox copies of the requizition to the mutt.(or) should i inform to the mutt through telephone (or) should i go to the guest house directly with the requisition slip.also tell me where to make the payment .

    • llchennai Says:

      I have no idea about this particular GH. But in general you definitely need to call up the Manager and confirm your programme immediately. Ask him about payment also. Normally they accept cash while checking in and also take a refundable deposit.

  127. Raji Says:

    Very informative! Thanks.
    Just need one clarification, is current booking available for the same day(I am mainly looking for kalyanotsavam) or for the next day. I am planning to visit this week end..so need to get clarity before I go there

    • llchennai Says:

      Current booking at Vijaya Bank counter opposite Vaikuntam QC-I starts at 8 am daily for a small number of tickets (but the queue starts from 5 am) for that day’s tickets for Rs.50 Sudarasanam tickets, Ekantha seva, next day’s Thomala Seva and Archana. I am not sure if Kalyanam is covered under this current booking. Talk to their call centre at numbers given in my blog.

  128. Sukumar Says:

    Hi,

    First of all Thanks for your efforts in maintaining this blog which is very useful.

    I have a question. What is the timings that Vijaya Bank operates at Tirumala. I need to get a kalyanotsava ticket. First I plan to climb the hills and reach there at around 11am on a weekday, say, Tuesday/Wednesday, and then I need to get the kalyanotsava tickets for the next day. Is it possible.

    Also, is there any such bank branches selling kalyanotsava tickets elsewhere – say in Bangalore?

    • llchennai Says:

      Yes, you can buy in Bangalore 60 days in advance (ALL must go in person for biometric): 1360, Lakshmi Nivas- 32, e-Cross road, 4th T Block, Jaya Nagar Banglore. For full details: http://www.tirumala.org/Advance%20Booking.htm
      Vijaya Bank Current Booking counter (just opp Vaikuntam Q-complex entrance) opens at 8 am daily (but queue starts from 5 am!). If you reach on Tuesday (least crowded), at 11 am, you cannot get for Tuesday since entry for Kalyanam is at 9.30 am. But try immediately for Wednesday kalyanam. Current Booking = that day+ next day’s tickets.

  129. Aravinthan Says:

    Greetings
    We are planning for kalyanotsavam darshan by Aug 2014, 8 adults and 4 kids (kids age: from 1 to 12). I like to know whether kids are allow for kalyanotsavam darshan and if permit, booking/tickets require for kids.

    Thanks

    • llchennai Says:

      You can book tickets at e-Darshan counters in your location for Kalyanotsavam 60 days in advance. Rs.1000 for 2 (couple or any 2 friends or spouses or relatives); children below 5 years do not need tickets is what I remember. Please talk to their call centre and ascertain. Also share the info with us!

  130. Jessica_P Says:

    Oh I have been to this place. It’s a place full of beautiful landscape and temples. I visited Tiruputi few years back and would like to visit it again with family this time. Thanks for the details :)

  131. Ravichandran Says:

    Hi
    I took Volvo A/C bus from Burkit Road – T.Nagar – chennai which left by 5.10 a.m in the morning on 5th May 2012. Bus was full. We reached Tirupati around 8.30 a.m for a free breakfast in Hotel Sindu. Then from Tirupati bus-stand we left by APSRTC bus to Tirumala. Seegara darshan ticket was organised by APTDC Guide and we entered the temple around 10.15 a.m and finished the darshan at around 11.45 a.m. The darshan was very fantastic and we all assembled at around 1.30 p.m near shop no.93. Enough time was given to us for purchase of photos etc., and 2 free laddu’s were given to us by the guide. We left Tirumala to tirupati again by APSRTC and boarded the Volvo near the checkpost gate. Had our lunch in the same Sindu hotel. Left for Tiruchannur and had good darshan at around 4.30 p.m and we left around 5.00 p.m and reached T.Nagar – chennai at around 8.30 p.m sameday. The overall experience is excellent.

  132. karthik Says:

    can we see perumal very near, on tuesdays. ? I mean, can we see the lord so close on tuesdays ?

    • llchennai Says:

      I don’t think so. Tuesdays are less crowded and so a little more time is possible before the god. Always you can see only from 10 feet or so.

  133. kumar Says:

    Hi,

    I am planning a tript to Tirupathi and Rameshwaram alone.

    My rough Itinerary is :

    13Aug: Reaching Chennai Central Station at 20:30 hrs from Delhi.
    from there directly proceed to tirupathi by bus.

    sudarsham(Rs.50/-) ticket for next day 9-10 am slot already booked online.

    Is there any direct buses or shared taxis available for tirupathi from Chennai Central and viceversa?

    14 Aug: Arrive tirupathi around 1:00 am and take some rest.
    Early morning around 5:00 am , catch bus to PADMAVATI temple ,Tiruchanoor
    after darshan come back tirupathi at 7:00 am and proceed to Tirumala.
    Reach VQC-1 at 8:00 am . Hope fully complete darshan by 11:00am
    take bus from tirupathi to Chennai at 12:00 pm.
    arrive Chennai at 4:00 pm.
    board Train from Chennai Egmore at 5:00 pm for Rameshwaram.

    After darshan , will it be possible to catch the train same day for Rameshwaram from chennai egmore at 5:00pm ? I guess tirupathi – chennai would take around 4 hrs by bus.

    Should i take the direct bus for chennai from tirumala or go to tirupathi then take bus for chennai.

    15 Aug: Arrive Rameshwaram at 4:45 am , proceed for Darshan at Ramanathaswamy Temple.
    Afternoon visit Dhanuskodi and board Train at 8:00pm for Chennai.

    16 Aug: Arrive Chennai at 8:20 am . Check-in Hotel , after noon local sightseeing.
    17 Aug: catch return flight at 8:05 am.

    All suggestions are welcome.

    • llchennai Says:

      Your itinerary looks like that of a VIP, very tight program! This program is not practically possible unless you are lucky. You are underestimating the time is what I personally think.13/8 bus from Chennai to Thirupati is fine since you have round the clock service provided by APSRTC at a cost of Rs.100-200 per ticket depending on the bus, but not from Central as far as I know. You need to go to Koyambedu (CMBT) Bus terminus about 5 km away by town bus or auto. Bus timings from Chennai to Tirumala (every 30-60 mts throughout 24 hours), leaving Koyambedu CMBT (Central Mofussil Bus Terminus): http://www.journeyadvisor.net/2013/04/apsrtc-bus-timings-from-chennai-to.html.

      If Thiruchanoor is crowded buy Rs.20 or 100 tickets and finish darshan early. Travel from Tirupathi (foothills) to Tirumala (top of the hills) is possible in 1 hour only on very lean days. Bus ride is only 45 mts but the queues might be there for 1-3 hours if there is rush and you might miss your Sudarshan darshan time though they will allow you even if you go late. Darshan will be over by 12 noon only, earliest. Bus ticket (return ticket can be bought at Thirupati itself at 7 am) and travel would take 1/2 to 3 hours depending on the rush (take direct bus to Chennai if available). Tirupathi to Chennai Koyambedu takes minimum of 4 hours and you will reach Koyambedu only at 6-8 pm. So 5 pm RMM Exp is out of question is what I feel. Better to book in the 9.40 pm train if available (VERY IMPORTANT, otherwise you will be fully tensed at each point in Thirumala).

      In RMM, people take bath in the sea and 21 theerthams inside the temple before darshan and this takes 3 hours. I thought Dhanushkodi visit was canceled 2 years ago, so please check at RMM. You can board 8 pm train for Chennai, no problem. RMM takes only 4-6 hours max.

  134. Music Says:

    Sir, I wish to do hair tonsuring at TTD. Is hair tonsuring possible at other TTD temples (other than Tirumala) ?
    Cd you suggest a itinerary from Pune to Tirumala & Thiruchanoor and return. As a lady travelling alone to tirumala, could you suggest a safe way of travel and accommodation pls. Also, i wish to know how would the itenerary time change if you go to tirumala by steps.
    Thk you so much.

    • llchennai Says:

      Dear Innisai,
      (1) Head tonsuring is possible in all temples maintained by TTD through it is very organised in Tirumala.
      (2) From Pune, the best train option seems to be to take 16381/CSTMumbai to KK Express, leaves Pune at 7.15 pm and reaches Tirupati at 3.10 pm (20 hours). Then walk up the hill from 4 pm to 9 pm, see the Lord before 12 midnight if crowd is less (preferential darshan for the walkers), stay overnight at Tirumala (book acco earlier as per my blog), see him again in the morning (after head tonsure if you want), travel down hill by bus, visit Thiruchanoor, finish by 5 pm; take rest; go to Renigunta by bus (30 minutes), board the 10 pm 16352/NCJ Mumbai Exp, reach Pune by 4.30 pm.KK Exp is inconvenient for return travel, reaches Pune at midnight. Fare Rs.455 or so each way SL class. See irctc.com for more details.

      (3) Pune to Chennai and then Chennai to Tirumala would be another option if you want to visit Chennai. Railways have a package from Chennai Central to Tirumala and back at Rs.1200 to 1800 per pax; see details in their website below:
      http://www.railtourismindia.com/TourPackages/RailTour/balaji-darshan.html#
      (4) However this is not ok if you want to go by steps; buses from foothills (Tirupati) to hill top (Tirumala) migh take 45 minutes but almost 2 hours including waiting time; walking up will take 4 hours to 6 hours depending on your age and health.
      Hope this is useful.
      ———-

  135. Mousumi Das Says:

    Need details for VIP BREAK DARSHAN 23rd July,2014…plz guide me…it’s very urgent

    • llchennai Says:

      I have no idea except that VIP break darshan does take place daily unless it is a very crowded festival time. Callcentre might be of some use; see their numbers in my blog.

  136. Preeti Says:

    Sir I have a vow 2 tonsure my head along with my armpits hair so plz suggest me what I do???

  137. Preeti Says:

    I’m married lady & i have a vow of giving my hair by clipper shave so can I get my headshave at barbershop???????

  138. Preeti Says:

    Sir thanx for rplying but i have a vow to offer my head’s hair fully clippered bald 1st thn used ustra on my head & then also my armpits hair shave, when i take a vow i vowed that i do both thing in tirumala so can i do in any barbershop & give my hair their????

    • llchennai Says:

      No barber shops in Tirumala. But there is a facility to call the barber to ur cottage or room for removing ur hair. They charge something like Rs.100 or so. Then u can take bath in ur room and have darshan thereafter. On 23 Jul 2014 10:29, “Llchennai’s Blog” wrote:

      >

      • Preeti Says:

        Sir but i vowed 2 hand clippered shave my head thn used ustra in barbershop along with armpits shave so nw wat i do coz u saying in Tirumala no barbershop available???

  139. llchennai Says:

    Dear Preeti, Tonsuring your head (mundan/mottai) in one of the several kalyanagattas in Tirumala is no problem at all; no appointments; just walk in, stand in queue, get a ticket and get your head shaved; but all barbers are men as far as I know; hence your specific question of removing the armpit hair may not be possible there, may be you can remove it in your cottage room or even earlier in your city, carry it in a plastic pouch and add it to the hair tonsured at Tirumala; this is the standard practice for kids’ hair adopted by parents living in USA and other countries since the kids find it uncomfortable when the hair grows fully. There are no separate barber shops in Tirumala, everyone gets the hair removed in the kalyanaghattas run by TTD. If you still have any queries, call the TTD Callcentre; their phone numbers are available in my blog.

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