Posts Tagged ‘Arjitha Seva’

VISITING TIRUPATI & TIRUMALA

August 20, 2014

VISITING TIRUPATI & TIRUMALA

Blog by llchennai: updated on 20.8.2014.

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TIPS FOR THIS MONTH:

TTD has introduced a new ‘Special Entry Ticket’ from 7.8.14:   

{Read Ram’s experience below this Blog, on 28.8.14, on Special Entry Darshan}.  This Rs.300 ticket can be booked online 14, 7 or 1 day in advance; will bear the date and the one-hour time slot; you can join the VQC-1 queue ONLY at the hour specified; darshan will take about an hour only (this is the goal at least); no entry if you are late; 14 new counters are being opened in VQC-1 to process these 18000 Special Entry tickets which also has a separate queue in VQC-1. Majority of these tickets will open for online booking 14 days in advance; a moderate number will open for online booking 7 days in advance; almost a similar number will open for online booking only 1 day in advance, for last minute pilgrims (I guess it would be 70%, 15% and 15% respectively) . This facility is supposed to reduce the VIP darshan culture. So please try to get your Rs.300 tickets online either 14 or 7 or 1 day in advance. Quota for Special Entry Darshan (Rs. 300) will be released at 9 am IST every day (Open now, as of 26.8.14,try at http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/ site where you can see e-Special Entry Darshan Availability at the bottom left; Only two bookings are allowed for one day  with a maximum of six persons per booking; I tried out on 26.8.14 at 8 pm; I could see tickets available on 28th & 31st Aug and 1st and 2nd Sept since it was open only for 7 days and not 14 days; all of these tickets were available only in the 2-3 pm and 3-4 pm time slots out of the 7 one-hour slots from 10 am to 5 pm)

AND

Reader jgforu Says on 25.2.2014: “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”.   

AND

TTD has recently introduced a three tier queue to avoid stampedes and to quicken the pace of darshan. Level difference between the three tiers is used to see the Lord clearly.

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(A.1) Introduction:

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.

(A.2) 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 high that the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) authorities find it extremely difficult to manage 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.

(1.1) 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. The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the sacred Seshachalam ranges and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. It is by the Lord’s presidency over Venkatachala, that He has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is also popularly known as ” Lord of the Seven Hills “.

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

(1.2) DEITIES TO BE WORSHIPPED in sequence:   

First, worship at Sri Varahaswamy Temple (Sri Maha Vishnu in Varaha avatar, as Wild Boar); 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 alias 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 : Alamelu Mangapuram visit:  Free darshan was quite crowded; Rs.20 ticket line was ok; but the Kumkuma archana ticket at Rs.200 for 2 was very fast and 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 Kaalasarpa Dosha, Infertility etc.

(1.3) 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 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).

(1.4) 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 such as Thomala Seva etc, even pants and shirt are not allowed, only Dhothi and towel over shoulders are allowed; saree and blouse or salwar kameez is allowed for women; pants and shirt allowed for boys above 8 years; salwar is ok 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.

All these codes are only for VQC and Dharshan queues. In all other places in the hills you can wear anything decent.

You are not allowed to wear slippers on the Mada streets. So better to leave them in the vehicle before entering the temple complex.

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.

(1.5) 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.

(1.6) TTD’s Finances:

Balaji is supposed to be the richest God in the world, even bigger than Vatican in financial terms. Its immovable assets are said to be in the range of Rs.90,000 crores ($15 billion). Its annual revenue as per 2013-14 Budget is about Rs.2400 crores (Rs.900 cr.from Hundi+ Rs.650 cr.from Interest income+Rs.220 cr.from sale of human hair + Rs.190 cr.from Darshan tickets + Rs.130 cr.from sale of Laddu prasadhams + Rs.90 cr.from accommodations+ Rs.45 cr.from sale of Arjitha seva tickets etc). Its annual expenditure is mainly on salaries of about Rs.400 crores. Rs.630 cr.is added to the Corpus Fund. Pilgrim amenities and infrastructure maintenance forms the rest. Net profit would be about Rs.110 crores. [The Hindu dated 24.2.2014, "TTD expects to net Rs.900 cr.hundi collections"] 

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

ADMINISTRATION AT TIRUPATI/TIRUMALA:

(2.1) Call Centre: 24 hours/7 days: Toll free: 1-800-425-111-111 and 1800-425-333-333; Charged calls: (0877) 22-33-333; (0877) 22-77-777, (0877) 22-64-252, (0877) 22-31-777; complaints and suggestions: 1800-425-4141; 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). <http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/&gt;

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).

Head Office: 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

(2.2) 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 he will 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. <mailto:tirupatibalaji.guide@gmail.com>

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

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!

(3.1) 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. Annaprasadam, Milk, Coffee & Tea are provided for the waiting pilgrims free of cost every 3 hours. Free Medical facility is also provided.Well maintained toilets , RO filter water are available. 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 inhttp://www.tirumala.org/maintemple_programme.htm.his <http://www.tirumala.org/maintemple_programme.htm.his&gt;

(3.2) Sudharsanam 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].

(3.3)   AAD Darshan (Rs.200): is at 4 am 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 are 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: 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. 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].

(3.4) Seegra Darshan (Rs.300) was introduced as Current booking tickets wef Sep 2009; 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 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  Timings:

Sunday: 7am-9pm, Monday: 7am-5pm; Tuesday: 8am-2pm; Wednesday: 9am- 2pm .

Thursday: 9am-5pm; Friday: 9.30am – 9pm.  Saturday: 7am-9pm.

(3.5) TTD has introduced a new ‘Special Entry Ticket’ from 7.8.14:   

This Rs.300 ticket can be booked online 14, 7 or 1 day in advance; will bear the date and the one-hour time slot; you can join the VQC-1 queue ONLY at the hour specified; darshan will take about an hour only (this is the goal at least); no entry if you are late; 14 new counters are being opened in VQC-1 to process these 18000 Special Entry tickets. There is also a special entrance for these tickets in VQC-1. The entry for the special entry darshan was from TB cottage 129 (near mini Kalyana Katta close to TBC). The ticket is checked after you walk for a few hundred meters. No IDs are requested (this might change). Both tea and food is served inside the waiting hall. Majority of these tickets will open for online booking 14 days in advance; a moderate number will open for online booking 7 days in advance; almost a similar number will open for online booking only 1 day in advance, for last minute pilgrims (I guess it would be 70%, 15% and 15% respectively) . This facility is supposed to reduce the VIP darshan culture. So please try to get your Rs.300 tickets online either 14 or 7 or 1 day in advance. Quota for Special Entry Darshan (Rs. 300) will be released at 9 am IST every day in http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/ site where you can see e-Special Entry Darshan Availability at the bottom left; Only two bookings are allowed for one day  with a maximum of six persons per booking; I tried out on 26.8.14 at 8 pm; I could see that the tickets were available on 28th & 31st Aug and 1st and 2nd Sept since it was open only for 7 days and not 14 days; all of these tickets were available only in the 2-3 pm and 3-4 pm time slots out of the 7 one-hour slots from 10 am to 5 pm; other slots must have greater rush and so you need to book at 9-10 am to get those slots. (18000 such tickets x Rs.300 = Rs.54 lakhs of additional income per day or about Rs.190 crores pa!) {Read Ram’s experience on 28.8.14 on Special entry darshan (300 Rs)}.

(3.6) MAJOR FESTIVALS in Tirumala:

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

Brahmotsavam: This is a 9-day annual festival in Tirumala (Sept-Oct every year; Tamil month of Purattasi); normally very crowded; Brahma’s Utsavam is a holy cleansing ceremony in honor of Lord Brahma, the creator God, who first conducted this festival to Sri Balaji on the banks of the holy Pushkarini in Tirupati as a way to give thanks for the Lord’s protection of mankind. Almost twenty different Vahanas are used to take the Utsava Murthy around, followed by Rathotsavam (‘Ther’ in Tamil) on the 8th day.

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 means : Service/Worship unto the Lord.

ARJITHA SEVAS: These are PAID sevas where only the devotees who PAY are allowed in.

Children below 12 years are not charged and they need not buy tickets or provide biometrics; so they need not accompany you even while buying/booking tickets for any Seva including Kalyanam.

(4.1) 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. But note that 18 out of 20 minutes will be spent without seeing Him since doors will be opened at the end of chanting of Suprabatham. We can see Him only for 2-3 minutes. In Archana and Thomalaseva, we can sit for 20 minutes in front of the Lord.

(4.2) 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 Seva is in great demand and there are only 3 ways to get the Thomalaseva tickets: either try online booking 60 days before at 12 midnight as soon as the date opens (quota of only 10 tickets for online; only 2 tickets per IP Address); OR participate in the Lottery Ticket 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.

(4.3) 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 Seva is in great demand and there are only 3 ways to get the Archana tickets: either try online booking 60 days before at 12 midnight as soon as the date opens (to tickets only; only 2 tickets per IP Address); OR participate in the Lottery Ticket 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.

(4.4) 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. Easier to get than other seva tickets.

(4.5) 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.

(4.6) 11.30 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; at the end, we can see Him for a few minutes since we are allowed to join the queue closer to the God. See our experience below. You cannot see Him without sitting through this Kalyanam procedure.

(4.7) 01.00 pm: Dolotsavam daily; Rs.200 for 1 person.

(4.8) 02.00 pm: Arjitha Brahmotsavam daily; Rs.200 for 1 person. (Rs.1000 for 5)

(4.9) 03.00 pm: Vasantotsavam  daily; Rs.300 for 1 person.

(4.10) 05.30 pm: Sahasra Deepa alankara Seva:  daily; Rs.200 for 1 person.(Rs.1000 for 5)

(4.11) 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.

(4.12) 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: taking a 7-m old baby free of charge for kalyanotsavam is absolutely no problem; take enough milk, water, diaper etc].   

(4.13) WEEKLY SEVAS AND ABHISHEKAM: The following sevas are to be booked 1-15 years in advance:   

Mondays: Visesha Pooja: 06.30 am; Rs.600 for 1; Internet quota: 30.

Tuesdays: Astadala Padha Padmardhanam: 05.30 am; Rs.1250 for 1; Internet quota: 20.

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

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

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; Waiting List normally.

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

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

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.

(4.14) 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).

 (4.15) 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.

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. <http://www.tirumala.org/sevas_daily_start.htm&gt;

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

(4.16) How do we book all these Arjitha Sevas?

 0300 hrs: Suprabatham: all 7 days at 3.00 am, Rs.120, Online quota: 50, total 200 tickets, 2 small laddus free.

0330 hrs: Thomala Seva: only on Tue/Wed/Thu at 3.30 am (except in May, June and July), Rs.220, Online quota:10, Only 200 tickets/day, 2 small laddus free.

0400 hrs: Archana: only on Tue/Wed/Thu at 4.00 am (except in May, June and July), Rs.220, Online quota:10, Only 200 tickets/day, 2 small laddus free.

0500 hrs: AAD Darshan: all days except Fri, at 5.00 am, Rs.200, Online quota: NIL; TTD Centre issues tickets; total 1000 tickets/day, 2 small laddus free. (on Fri, avail Nijapada darsanam which is similar)

0500 hrs: Nijapadha Darshan: only Fri, at 5.00 am, Rs.200, Online quota: 100; total 1000 tickets/day, 2 small laddus free.

0530 hrs: Astadala Pada Padmaradhana: Tue alone, at 5.30 am, Rs.1250, Online quota: 20, 2 small laddus free.

0630 hrs: Vishesha Pooja: Mon alone, at 6.30am, Rs.600, Online quota: 30, 2 small laddus free.

1200 hrs: Kalyanothsavam:  all 7 days at 12.00 noon / Rs.1000 for a couple, kid less than 5 years are normally allowed free of charge with the couple / Online quota:150, big laddus, small laddus, vada etc free prasadham.

1300 hrs: Dolotsavam: All 7 days, at 1.00 pm, Rs.200, Online quota: NIL, 2 small laddus free.

1400 hrs: Arjithabrahmotsavam: All 7 days, at 2.00 pm, Rs.200/head or Rs.1000 for 5. Online quota: NIL,

1500 hrs: Vasanthostavam: All 7 days, at 3.00 pm, Rs.300, Online quota: 50, 2 small laddus free.

1730 hrs: Sahasra Deepalankara Seva: All 7 days, at 5.30 pm, Rs.200/head or Rs.1000 for 5. Online quota: NIL,

2230 hrs: Ekanta Seva: All 7 days, at 10.30 pm, Rs.120, only Current Booking, 2 small laddus free.

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

(1) Current Booking (at Vijaya Bank Counter, opp.VQC-1 in Tirumala) from 8 am on the previous day.

(2) Internet, 3-60 days in advance.

(3) Advance Booking by DD, 25-60 days in advance,

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

(4.17) 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 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: different tickets for 2, 3, 5 persons;  Rs.1000 ticket allows 2 persons and they get 5 big laddus, each 1/2 kg weight; Rs.1500 ticket allows 3 persons and they get 8 big laddus; Rs.2500 ticket allows 5 persons and they 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

(4.18) 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 everyones ID and photo would be needed) is allotted per registered user within 60 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; 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. <http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/&gt;

Sudarsanam Tickets can be bought online at ttdsevaonline.com using e-Sudarsanam

Only the following SEVEN sevas can be booked online: (only two tickets can be booked in one transaction; those who want more need to use different computers, IP Addresses).

Pilgrim registration with valid e-mail ID is a prerequisite for booking of Seva / Accommodation / Darshanam / Donation. Please register well in advance. Registration activation link will be sent to the registered e-mail address for verification, click on the link for activation. Please complete this process well in advance before you intend to book online.

Quota for Seva / sudarsanam / accommodation will be released at 00:15 IST every day (midnight 12.15).

Archana (Online quota: 10) on Tue, Wed, Thu.

Thomala Seva  (Online quota: 10) on Tue, Wed, Thu.

Astadala Pada Padmaradhana: (Online quota: 20) on Tue alone.

Vishesha Pooja:  (Online quota: 30) on Mondays only.

Nijapada Darshanam:  (Online quota: 100) on Fridays only

Suprabatham:  (Online quota: 50) on all 7 days.

Kalyanotsavam:  (Online quota: 150) on all 7 days.

Vasanthostavam:  (Online quota: 50) on all 7 days.

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 <http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/Home.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2feseva%2feSevaHome.aspx&gt;

{Sreedhar’s experience 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 tickets or so per day for morning Sevas such as suprabatham, thomala and archana. Hence better to send DD 90 days in advance and book these Sevas}.   

(4.19) Advance Booking of Sevas by sending DD:  Pilgrims can reserve Arjitha sevas 60 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]. One DD is needed per seva per person along with individual ID’s and choice of 3 dates, if 4 people are applying for Archana, 4 DD’s are needed.

ONLY eight Sevas given below can be booked by sending DDs; DDs can be sent 60 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 you are 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 same 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 free of charge 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; <http://www.tirumala.org/Advance%20Booking.htm&gt&gt;

(4.20) Advance Booking of Accommodation by sending DD: for better rooms, from Rs.100 to Rs.2000, use online accommodation booking; only Rs.50 and Rs.100 rooms can be booked at TTD Centre or 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.

(4.21) 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.

(4.22) Where to book which Seva?

No booking is needed for the following:

Sarva Darshan (free queue daily); this queue is generally less crowded beyond 10 pm till 11.30 pm.

Divya Darshan (tickets are issued for free and fast darshan only when you walk up the Hills)

NRIs, In-service defence personnel, Parents with infants less than 12 months, physically handicapped, senior citizens who cannot stand in queue, family members of the employees of TTD, people carrying recommendation letters from AP or Central Govt VIPs or political VIPs,

(4.23) Booking in Tirumala only for that day’s darshan:

Seegra Darshan Rs.300; issued from 8 am 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.

Seeghra Darshan  (and Sarva Darshan) Timings:

Saturday,Sunday, Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday: 09.00 am to 02.00pm .

Thursday: 09.00am to 6.00 pm and 9.00pm to 11pm (Ekanthaseva).

Friday : 10.00am to 6.00pm and 9.00pm to 11pm (Ekanthaseva).

(4.24) Booking at Current Booking at Vijaya Bank Counter, opp.VQC-1 in Tirumala hills from 8 am on the previous day and in 7 locations in Tirupati town as in Sl.No.(2.4) in my Blog:

Sudarsanam Rs.50, daily, at available pre-fixed time; 5000 Sudarsanam tokens per day (only 2000 on Tue/Wed).

Ekantha Seva: Daily at 10.30 pm; Rs.120, tickets issued only in Current Booking as above, no advance booking in Internet etc.

Laddu Padi Seva: different tickets for 2, 3, 5 persons;  Rs.1000 ticket allows 2 persons and they get 5 big laddus, each 1/2 kg weight; Rs.1500 ticket allows 3 persons and they get 8 big laddus; Rs.2500 ticket allows 5 persons and they get 15 big laddus; even NRIs can try this if they are at Tirumala before 8 am;  ; no advance bookings and only current booking; sometimes cancelled without notice;

(4.25) Lottery at Tirumala for the next day: (register by 12 noon, winners declared at 5 pm daily, pay before 8 pm for the next day)

Archana Rs.220; 3.45 am, Tue, Wed, Thu only (except in May,June,July). Only 200 tickets/day.

Thomala Seva Rs.220; 3.30 am, Tue, Wed, Thu only (except in May,June,July). Only 200 tickets/day.

(4.26) Booking through Internet (3-60 days in advance, unless specified):

Special Entry Darshan tickets for hourly slots: on all days, Rs.300 (online quota: 18000 per day) (this opens at 9 am IST on all days; 14 days, 7 days and 1 day in advance).

Thomala Seva: Tue, Wed, Thu at 3.30 am (except in May, June and July), Rs.220, Online quota:10, Only 200 tickets/day.

Archana: Tue, Wed, Thu at 3.45 am (except in May, June and July), Rs.220, Online quota:10, Only 200 tickets/day.

Astadala Pada Padmaradhana: Tue alone at xx am, Rs.1250, Online quota: 20,

Visesha Pooja: only on Mondays at 6.00 am / Rs.600 / online quota:30..

Vasanthothsavam: all 7 days at 3.00 pm / Rs.300. Online quota: 50,

Nijapada darshanam: only on Fridays at 5.00 am / Rs.200. Online quota: 100,

Kalyanothsavam:  all 7 days at 12.00 noon / Rs.1000 for a couple, kid less than 5 years are normally allowed free of charge with the couple / Online quota:150.

Accommodation Rs.50-Rs.100 rooms only can be booked through DD. Rs.100 and above can be booked through Internet. [Rs.50 accommodation quota: 150 rooms by DD & 330 rooms by TTD Centre’s e-darshan. No tickets through Internet]. [Rs.100 accommodation quota: 150 rooms by DD, 405 rooms by e-darshan & 170 rooms through Internet]. [Higher rent rooms: Rs.150, Rs.750, Rs.1000 & Rs.2000 accommodation quota:  None by DD & e-darshan. 10 tickets each through Internet].

(4.27) Booking by DD: (25-60 days in advance, unless specified):

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”; one DD and one ID xerox per person per Seva. See (4.3) in my Blog for more details.

Suprabatham: all 7 days at 3.00 am / Rs.120 / Online quota: 50.

Kalyanothsavam:  all 7 days at 12.00 noon / Rs.1000 for a couple, kid less than 5 years are normally allowed free of charge with the couple / Online quota:150.

Dolothsavam Unjal: all 7 days at 1.00 pm / Rs.200.

Arjitha Brahmothsavam: all 7 days at 2.00 pm / Rs.200.

Visesha Pooja: only on Mondays at 6.00 am / Rs.600.

Vasanthothsavam: all 7 days at 3.00 pm / Rs.300.

Sahasra Deepalankarana Seva: all 7 days at 5.30 pm / Rs.200.

Nijapada darshanam: only on Fridays at 5.00 am / Rs.200.

Accommodation Rs.50-Rs.100 rooms only can be booked through DD. Rs.100 and above can be booked through Internet. [Rs.50 accommodation quota: 150 rooms by DD & 330 rooms by TTD Centre’s e-darshan. No tickets through Internet]. [Rs.100 accommodation quota: 150 rooms by DD, 405 rooms by e-darshan & 170 rooms through Internet]. [Higher rent rooms: Rs.150, Rs.750, Rs.1000 & Rs.2000 accommodation quota:  None by DD & e-darshan. 10 tickets each through Internet].

(4.28) Booking at TTD Counters in your city or Tirupati or Tirumala:

(3-60 days in advance, unless specified):

Suprabatham: all 7 days at 3.00 am / Rs.120 / Online quota:50 /

Sudarsanam Rs.50, daily, at available pre-fixed time; 5000 Sudarsanam tokens per day (only 2000 on Tue/Wed).

AAD Rs.200, Daily at 4 am soon after Archana, 1000 AAD tickets/day;

Accommodation Rs.50-Rs.100 rooms only can be booked through DD. Rs.100 and above can be booked through Internet. [Rs.50 accommodation quota: 150 rooms by DD & 330 rooms by TTD Centre’s e-darshan. No tickets through Internet]. [Rs.100 accommodation quota: 150 rooms by DD, 405 rooms by e-darshan & 170 rooms through Internet]. [Higher rent rooms: Rs.150, Rs.750, Rs.1000 & Rs.2000 accommodation quota:  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.

(4.29) Darshan other than the Arjitha sevas as above:

Sarva Darshan (free queue daily); this queue is generally less crowded beyond 10 pm till 11.30 pm.

Divya Darshan (tickets are issued for free and fast darshan only when you walk up the Hills)

NRIs, In-service defence personnel, Parents with infants less than 12 months, physically handicapped, senior citizens who cannot stand in queue, family members of the employees of TTD, people carrying recommendation letters from AP or Central Govt VIPs or political VIPs,

Seegra Darshan Rs.300; issued from 8 am 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;

(4.30) Accommodation allotted for VIP category:

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

***************************************************

Para (5): I want to know the concessions for NRIs, Defence people, Donors 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;  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’s experience on 8.6.12: “If you are an NRI, you should take advantage of the special Q at Supadam gate that is near the VQC-I area; NRIs, defence personnel, Donors, TTD personnel & their families, parents with infants (children under age 1 strictly) can use this entrance 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”}.   

(5.1) Laddu Padi Seva: 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].

(5.2) LOTTERY FOR SEVA: Jaideep’s experience on 8.6.12:  “There is a lottery system now available for some early morning sevas. 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.   

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.

(6.1) Supadam Entrance is a special entry point meant for NRIs , in-service military personnel, less than a week old newly married couple, parents with infants of below one year age and for the family of employees, in VQC I on showing relevant Id-Proofs. If any kid less than 12 years is accompanying your family, he/she will also be allowed to use this Supadham entrance and he/she does not need a ticket. This entrance is also used exclusively for Kalyanotsavam between 9.30 and 11 am.

(6.2) 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. on showing the age proof id-cards/ relevant medical certificates. If needed, such pilgrims can be normally accompanied by one attendant at the discretion of the staff at that entrance. 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 near the VQC-1. [Swami's comments on 29.8.12:  Joined supadam queue with my infant daughter; took just 1 hr for darshan].

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

About 25,000 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 and they can enter the queue between VQC-1 and VQC-2. 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.

(7.1) ALIPIRI ROUTE: 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.

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]

(7.2) 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 Alipiri 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 Gopuram, distance to Tirumala 8.6 Km. Step No. 300 Rajavalu Gopuram 8.3 Km to Tirumala. Next Yelakkuyala Mandapam Step No.2083 Ghali Gopuram Time 1020 Hrs. Got Divya Dharshan Ticket , had breakfast, rested a while and continued from Ghali 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.   

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

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

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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. But the Tirutthani-Puttur- Tirupati route from Chennai is horrible and full of potholes at Vadamalapet.

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

(8.1) At Tirupati: 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; right opposite the huge Garuda statue is the Security Check area where all private vehicles are checked; they look for not only bombs, ammunition and explosives but also for meat products, tobacco, cigarettes, liquor and other banned substances; then enter the Ghat Road toll booth; Rs.15 is the cost of ghat road ticket for own cars (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); 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;  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.

TTD has introduced a minimum time limit for the ascent (28 mts) and descent of private vehicles from the entry toll gate. If you arrive early, it means you have been speeding and hence you need to pay a fine near the temple and bring back the challan before the car is let inside causing unnecessary delay. Instead drive slowly and take 30-35 minutes to go up and come down the Ghat Road.

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

   Train connections are available to Tirupati or Renigunta (12 km) from almost all cities in India; refer http://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. <http://www.irctc.co.in/&gt;

(9.1) 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.30-40 per adult and 15-30 for kids, Rs.60-70 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.

(9.2) 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, operated by TTD in Tirumala, known as “Dharma Radhams”, that pass through cottages, choultries, temples and other places in Tirumala every 3 minutes 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]

(9.3) [FAQ: How do I go from Chennai by train? Answer: There are three Direct Trains from Chennai Central (MAS) which leave at 6.25 am (16057/Saptagiri Express), 2.10 pm(16053) and 16.35 (16203) for Tirupati Main station (TPTY) via. Renigunta Jn (RU) and there are 5 more daily trains to RU; trains take 3hr 15 mts; similarly in return direction to Chennai Central.These tickets, if available, can be booked online in the railway site or use tatkal at 10 am 2 days prior to the date of travel.  Another useful site is http://www.indiarailinfo.com except that we cannot book the tickets there]. <http://www.indiarailinfo.com/&gt;

(9.4) 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. <http://www.tirupatitirumalatravels.com/&gt&gt;

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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 160 km or 100 miles. Daily flights are available from Hyderabad; check 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; includes economy return air fare; AAD or Cellar darshan;  2N/3D at ITC Welcome Group Hotel Fortune Kences, Tirupati; visit to Swayambu 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 http://www.indianairlinespackages.com or call them to get the exact details. Indain Airlines Tirupati: 0877-228-3992. <http://www.indianairlinespackages.com/&gt;

Similar package is available with Jet Airways too in association with APTDC but only from Hyderabad airport; leaves Hyderabad airport at 3 pm and returns at 6.10 pm the next day after covering Kalahasthi, Balaji darshan at 4-8 am and Thiruchanur visit. Refer http://www.hyderabad.aero/filedownload.aspx?file=Tirupati-darshan.pdf…; <http://www.hyderabad.aero/filedownload.aspx?file=Tirupati-darshan.pdf%E2%80%A6&gt;

[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.

(11.1) From Bengaluru:   

Bengaluru Tirupati package tours are covered in the following sites:

<http://karnatakatourism.com/touredge/tirupati_package_tour_by_kstdc_-tpt.asp&gt;

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

<http://www.vandanatravels.in/balajidarshan.html&gt;

Bengaluru residents may also read the blog

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

(11.2) 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 around Rs.2800. Child: around Rs.2100.

(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 Includes one day accommodation at Tirupati with Sudharshan Token darshan

See http://aptdc.in/tourpack/hyderabad.php <http://aptdc.in/tourpack/hyderabad.php&gt;

(11.3) 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.

(11.4) AP Tourism: http://www.aptdc.in/tourpack/chennai.php (AndhraPradesh Tourism Development Corporation Ltd) Hitech AC Bus 40-seater 1-5 days lead time for booking; Rs.1350 (Child Rs.1100). 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; 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}

(11.5) ITDC: (India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd) Volvo (more comfortable than Hitech bus) 45-seater,10-20 days of advance booking;  AC Bus: Rs.1350/1050, We have to change to the smaller APSRTC bus from Tirupati to Tirumala.

(11.6) IRCTC: (Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd) also has Balaji Tour Packages.

(11.7) 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 at http://www.ttdconline.com/tourdetails.aspx?tourid=6 <http://www.ttdconline.com/tourdetails.aspx?tourid=6&gt;

   (11.8) 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. (But do not go to the Balaji Travels in Burkit Road opp.T.Nagar Bus Terminus, very unreliable and not customer-friendly at all when we used them last time.  http://www.sribalajitravel.com, 38, Burkit Road, T.Nagar, Chennai-17 :93812-32343, 95000-09061) [Swami's experience also is similar to mine 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)]. <http://www.sribalajitravel.com/&gt;

[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 any complaints so far; I have not used their service though; but if any of you have, please let others know if they are good. ]   

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.

(11.9) 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/&gt;

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; also the AC is ineffective normally in the rear half of the Volvo bus.

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.

{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 2014. 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 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 was 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 640 barbers, operating in three batches round the clock, are available at the Main 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 (4 of them operate from 3 am to 9 pm), 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.250 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 for hot water; no separate bathroom is there and so we had to take bath in the open after mottai; many give away their dhothis after bath; many guest houses have this barber facility}.   

   {MJ’s experience on 10.9.2013: “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”}.   

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

Anga pradakshinam is when pilgrims lie prostrate, and then roll around the temple (circumbulating on the floor), 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 Central Reception Office; queu starts at 12 noon; take a ticket free of cost; only 375 tokens are issued for males and another 375 for female devotees per day except on Thursdays; they have to bathe in the Swami Pushkarini tank on the north of the temple at 1 am and reach the Main Temple Complex VQC-I Supadam entrance  near ATC  by 1.30 am in wet clothes. Dress code: salwar with compulsory Dupatta  or saree for women;  dhothi and full pants for men; no purse or wallet or hand bags or belts for any one; dress is checked at many places; ladies are allowed first, checked first and made to wait in the waiting hall where they can get Laddu coupon at Rs.10; then they allow the men; even couples have to follow this; ladies are first allowed to perform anga pradakshan at 3.30 am followed by gents; srivari darshan follows with the usual pushing around soon after Suprabatham; then they exit and get small laddu as prasadam. On Fridays alone, the abishegam starts at 4 am and so no darshan is possible in the early morning. Angapradakshinam without Srivari Darshan was allowed till June 2014 but devotees were upset that they could not see Him after this ritual and so anga pradakshinam is now not allowed on Fridays. It is also restricted when there is heavy influx of pilgrims and during festivals. Remember that infants and attendants are NOT allowed during anga pradhakshinam and so make your own arrangements to take care of your children during this time. But boys and girls are allowed and they also need the biometrics for getting their free tickets.

{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 a few items to the Lord equivalent to one’s weight; most often as coins or other items such as sugar, rice, jaggery, sugar candy etc. Tulabharam  is generally performed for children but there is 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}.   

(14.1) Niluvudopidi: is another form of offering where the pilgrim offers the ornaments or other jewels worn on his or her body to the Lord in the srivari Hundi as a part of fullfillment of the vow.

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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 <http://www.tirumala.org/schemes_main.htm&gt;

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 and get a receipt. 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:

(17.1) 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.

(17.2) 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.

(17.3) 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&gt;

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

Book your accommodation as per the link herein:   http://www.tirumala.org/acco_tm.htm

No private accommodation is allowed, except for a few Mutts; almost 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.

(18.1) 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.

(18.2) 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. <http://www.ttdsevaonline.com/&gt;

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, viewhttp://www.tirumala.org/acco_tm.htm#tmpai <http://www.tirumala.org/acco_tm.htm&gt;

(18.3) 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. Kashi Mutt also has similar facilities.

{R.Sethuraman Says on 27.11.2013: “I stayed in Srimad Sri Rangam Andavan Ashram at Tirumal Hills. Manager:  Shri Raman”}.   

{Ravichandra Says on 18.4.2014:  I have booked a room from the donor of Sri Ram Sadan guest house in Swamy Hathiramji Mutt and the donor gave me “donor accommodation requisition”}.  

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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).

(19.1) 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.

(19.2) 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 outhttp://www.tirumala.org/acco_tpt.htm. <http://www.tirumala.org/acco_tpt.htm&gt;

(19.3) 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. <http://www.thirupathibhimashotels.com/>   

{Rajaram on 6.4.2013: “Stayed in Vishnu Nivasam in Tirupati. Very clean place. Also a nice restaurant from IRCTC in the same building. Food is suitable for kids too”}.    

cheaper hotels in Tirupati:

http://www.stayzilla.com/#search?p/13.6287557_79.41917949999993/29_8_2014/30_8_2014/

Tirupati%2C%20Andhra%20Pradesh%2C%20India_lid/Tirupati%2C%20

Andhra%20Pradesh%2C%20India/main

(19.4) 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.

(20.1) 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.

(20.2) 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. But only serving or retired Govt employees or employees of Banks and Insurance companies are eleigible to sit in these counters.

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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.

(21.1) 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.

(21.2) PADHAYATRA from Chennai to Tirupati:

Contact Dr.Suneel, Founder, Ungalukkaga Charitable Trust, donates dresses and medicines to 50 villages  on his way by walk; 9th consecutive pada yatra to Tirumala in 2014; assists people who want to undertake padayathra: 95512-96999,98412-07788.[The Hindu dt 9.8.14]

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

FOOD in TIRUMALA: Food is no problem; many restaurants such as Mayura, Woodlands etc. {MJ’s experience on 10.9.2013: “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”}.

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

Train booking counter: IRCTC counter is available at the CRO.

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.

(23.1) Darshan for the couple who weds in Tirumala: The TTD has set up a Purohita Sangham comprising purohits with necessary experience and knowledge to perform vedic rituals at Kalyana Vedika located in the Papavinasam road. The couple who tie the knot in the abode of Lord Venkateswara in Purohita Sangham needs to register 24 hours in advance. The total expenditure for a marriage is Rs.865 out of which Rs.500 is Dakshina to Purohit, Rs.300 to melam and Rs.65 towards marriage video. TTD also provides free darshan to the couple and their parents-a total of six members through Supadham along with a laddu for each person at a subsidised price of Rs.10.

(23.2) 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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Tags: ttd, ttdsevaonline, Current Booking, Tirupati temple visit blog, Divya darshan, walk up the hills,  wearing flowers in Tirumala, VIP Darshan, cellar darshan, Vijaya Bank counter, Laddu Padi Seva, Kalyanotsavam, kashi mutt, kalyanakatta, barbers, abishegam, hairpin bends, ghat road, Internet booking, Visesha Pooja, EKANTHA SEVA, Advance Booking, TTD Centres, Venkateswara Temple, Pilgrims Amenities, Teppotsavam, Seegra Darshan, Special Entry Ticket, Archana Ananthara Darshan, Central Reservation Office, Narayana Giri, guest houses, alamelu mangapuram, renigunta, Upanayanam, Tamarind rice, Sri Varahaswamy Temple, Annaprasanna, Naamakarana, Sashtiapthapoorthy, NRI Darshan, dress code, arjitha seva, infants, package tours, thulabaram, accommodation at tirumala, cottages, ear boring, marriages, thiruchanoor, physically handicapped, special darshan, angapradakshan, anga pradaksanam, mottai, mundan, head tonsure, hair offering, niluvodopidi, laddu, laddoo, tirupati laddu, tirupati prasadham, srivari kitchen, potu kitchen, ghali gopuram, bheema’s deluxe, sri venkateswara university, accommodation, Alamelumangapuram, Arjitha Seva, Balaji Darshan, Seven Hills, Thayar, Thirumala, Thirupathi, Tirupati, Venkateswara, Elumalaiyan, Suprabatham, Archana, Thomala Seva, Thomalaseva, Nijapada Darsanam, Sudarsanam, Vaikuntam, Alipiri, VISITING TIRUPATI, VISITING Tirumala, Garudaseva,

244 Responses to “VISITING TIRUPATI & TIRUMALA”   

Ganpat Says:

December 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Reply   edit   

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.

Ravindra Pagadala Says: <http://www.facebook.com/ravishq&gt;

January 9, 2012 at 9:40 am | Reply   edit   

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!!!

  1. Jaideep Says:

June 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply   edit   

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.

  1. swamy Says:

August 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply   edit   

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.

  1. came back to tirupathi and stayed back that night in the room
  2. 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

  1. had food and joined the two separate queues, one for divya darshan queue and the second one for supadam queue with my daughter
  2. divya darshan queue took 3 hrs and supadam queue took 1 hr for darshan.
  3. 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.

  1. R.Sethuraman Says:

December 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply   edit   

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 ?

  1. swamy Says:

January 18, 2013 at 8:50 am | Reply   edit   

.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.

  1. swamy Says:

January 22, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply   edit   

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

  1. Rani Says:

January 28, 2013 at 4:40 am | Reply   edit

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:   

January 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Reply   edit   

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.

  1. Rani Says:

January 29, 2013 at 7:12 am | Reply   edit   

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:   

February 2, 2013 at 4:15 am | Reply   edit   

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

  1. fitness videos Streaming Says: <http://conselho.org/groups/what-to-expect-from-physical-therapy/&gt;

February 17, 2013 at 7:11 am | Reply   edit

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your site?

Its very well written; I love what youve got

to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.

Maybe you could space it out better?

Rani Says:   

March 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm   edit   

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.

  1. R.Sethuraman Says:

November 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply   edit   

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:   

December 1, 2013 at 2:30 am | Reply   edit   

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.

  1. jgforu Says: <http://gravatar.com/jgforu&gt;

February 25, 2014 at 2:52 am | Reply   edit

jgforu Says on 25.2.2014: 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

llchennai Says:   

February 25, 2014 at 10:15 am | Reply   edit   

Thanks for sharing info on the Android app ‘IsBizOpen’ reg Tirumala.

  1. Ravichandran Says:

May 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Reply   edit   

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.

llchennai Says:   

June 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Reply   edit   

Your recent experience on 9.5.14 has been added to the Blog to help others. Thanks.

  1. kumar Says:

June 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Reply   edit   

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:   

June 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Reply   edit   

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. <http://www.journeyadvisor.net/2013/04/apsrtc-bus-timings-from-chennai-to.html&gt;

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.

  1. Music Says:

July 1, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply   edit   

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:   

July 11, 2014 at 11:00 am | Reply   edit   

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&gt;

(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.

  1. Preeti Says:

July 23, 2014 at 4:59 am | Reply   edit   

Sir thanx for replying 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:   

July 24, 2014 at 9:15 am | Reply   edit   

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:

  1. ITISHREE Says:

July 30, 2014 at 7:30 am | Reply   edit   

Ur blog is just awesome……….

I am planning to visit Tirupati in August last week. We are a family of 4 members. As I have never been there earlier i have no idea. My tentative schedule is as follows…. AI flight for tirupati from Mumbai will land on 1:40 pm 21st Aug and my return flight to Hyd is 1:00 pm next day……. Hence i have to complete my darshan within 10:00 am-11am….. also i have no accomodation and darshan ticket……..So what shud be my plan so that i can catch my return flight without any problem………Help me out….. How shud  i plan my travel in tirupati. it’s a request from ur sister….

llchennai Says:   

August 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Reply   edit   

(1) If you can afford Rs.3-4K, hire a cab for full trip in Tirupati/Tirumala (cab can be booked in adv by googling), if not at least get a pick up from Airport to Tirumala. (2) Accommodation: try online booking or go to Mumbai TTD Centre and book acco; worst case, talk to a private GH in Tirumala over phone and book a room or two (see my blog accommodation portion) (3) Darshan: try the new Rs.300 ‘Time Slot Ticket’ as per the first para in my Blog and book it 14 days in adavnce. Or buy a Rs.50 Sudarsanam Ticket from any TTD Centre so that you are sure of having darshan. Or try Rs.300 Seegra Darshan ticket on the day of the Darshan (see my Bolg).

  1. ITISHREE Says:

August 7, 2014 at 7:06 am | Reply   edit   

We have booked a room in hotel fr accomodation. We r gonna reach airport at arnd 2:00pm and I have come to know dat on Thrusday[our arrival day] sheegra darshan will be open upto 5:00pm. So what to do??? We can’t wait so long in sarvadarshan line as my parents are suffering frm knee joint and ache. Can we get Sudarshan ticket after getting there and how much we have 2 wait???

llchennai Says:   

August 10, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Reply   edit   

TTD has introduced a new ‘Time Spot Ticket’ from 7.8.14 called  SPECIAL ENTRY DARSHAN:

This Rs.300 ticket can be booked online 14, 7 or 1 day in advance; we can choose one-hour slots of our choice and check the availability; will bear the date and time slot; you can join the VQC-1 queue ONLY at the time specified; darshan will take about an hour only (this is the goal at least); no entry if you are late; 14 new counters are being opened in VQC-1 to process these 18000 daily tickets. Majority of these will be allotted to those who book online 14 days in advance; a moderate number will be allotted 7 days in advance; almost a similar number 1 day in advance. This facility is supposed to reduce the VIP darshan culture.

So please try to get your Rs.300 tickets online either 7 days in advance or on the previous day (before leaving for the airport) for the early morning darshan on Thursday. Rs.50 Sudarsanam tickets are available in many places in Tirupati (see my blog for details)

  1. CHITRA Says:

August 15, 2014 at 10:08 am | Reply   edit   

I am planning to visit Tirumala in the last week of August. I didn’t get accommodation uphill as I planned it only now. I am planning like this. My mother is a senior citizen who has problem due to her corns, so I need to accompany, so I am planning for that darshan along with her. What is the cost for senior citizen darshan, no mention is there for that. Is it Rs. 300/-. I am not sure if they will allow. The call center person told they will check and then only they will allow if needed. I have no idea how to convince them. Any tips on this is appreciated.

I would like to know the following things.

  1. Taxi fares from Tirupathi to Tirumala and places around. They say it depends on the itenary. I don’t know why all are insisting on that. In other cities it is 8 hour, 80 kms. If that exceeds then we are charged on hourly/km basis. Here it seems to be different.
  2. I did see the Time Spot Ticket option on the ttd website. It is not showing up. I have lost the 14 day window already. I need to check the 7 day window for booking. It is not listed on their web-site at all. If you can provide any link on the same, it will help.
  3. Also I am planning to do current booking for kalyanotsavam. They said only 80 tickets per day are available. Everywhere I have seen you mentioned current booking is at VQC. I want to know if there is a separate queue for all the sevas or it is the same queue.
  4. Can you please mention in which of the mutts one can get decent rooms for ladies.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Regards,

Chitra

llchennai Says:   

August 19, 2014 at 6:17 am | Reply   edit   

Senior citizens and handicapped persons are allowed thru main entrance along with an attendant free of cost at 10 am, 3 pm and 10 am as far as I know but the staff should be convinced that the elderly person cannot stand in a queue for a long time. May be a Doctor certificate might be useful. Availing a wheel chair from Ram Bageecha Cottage nearby might help if she cannot walk.

Taxi fares are normally daily rent+driver batta+ actual fuel charges basis; some cans charge Rs.x per km; they want the rough itinerary to know if you would travel outside Tirupati; Time spot ticket option is not there in their online booking yet, may be the local TTD Centres might be able to book if you go in person, just try out if you have a TTD Centre in your place. Current booking is there for most of the sevas and can be done only for that day’s sevas or the next day’s sevas; no separate queue; common queue for all sevas at the Vijaya Bank counter right opp VQC-1. Ticket is issued from 8 am but queue is formed from 5 am! Decent acco is available in Kashi Mutt or many others; see my blog; call them over phone and book; confirm to them one day in advance and even on the day of arrival; they do not take any adv, payment is to be made as soon as you check in. This is as far as I know. TIME SPOT TICKETS: SPECIAL ENTRY DARSHAN: Quota for Special Entry Darshan (Rs. 300) will be released at 09:00 IST every day soon (Will be Available Shortly), not yt released; keep watching www.ttdsevaonline that has e-Special Entry Tickets at the bottom left.

  1. CHITRA Says:

August 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Reply   edit   

I called up today and found out that Laddu padi seva is cancelled now and it is no longer available. Is it that it is not advertized anywhere?.

llchennai Says:   

August 19, 2014 at 6:17 am | Reply   edit   

I am not sure if it has been cancelled recently.

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