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My Tour Diary to Tirumala/Tirupathi in 2013 – Day 2

As I have narrated my day 1 travel story of tirupathi and tirumala, the “sight” of Lord Venkateswara on the first day made our souls blissful with joy. The first day went on smooth with the “Vasanthotsavam Seva” and visiting “Sri Varahaswami Temple” before taking the vision of Balaji.

The second day started without much hurry and fuss. The main schedule of today’s programme was attending the “Kalyanotsavam” of Lord Balaji. We earlier booked tickets for this seva at our native place, Visakhapatnam. The price of this seva is Rs 1000 or almost $20.

You can book this seva online by visiting this site and registering yourself. This seva is done for married couples. That’s why only 2 people are allowed on this ticket. Kalyanotsavam starts at almost noon (around 12 pm). So we finished our bath, breakfast at our ease  and took some photos of ourselves.

IMG_4470 IMG_4472 IMG_4473I had to wear a special kind of South Indian dhoti for this occasion and ladies were to come in silk or “pattu” sarees. Later I was even asked to remove my banian which covers my upper part of the body.

We reached the “Q” complex much earlier by 10.00 am in order to seat in front of the “Kalyanotsavam” idols. Just like yesterday we were taken through a separate route apart from the FREE darshan devotees, but later merged with them. When we came inside the temple or “Mandap”, we were diverted to a separate place for Kalyanotsavam.

This place was narrow beside the main temple building and could accommodate 1000 devotees. The prasadam or “Bahumanam” for this seva consisted of the following.

  1. Two [2] Big laddus
  2. Two [2] vadas
  3. Five [5] Small laddus
  4. One [1] Art silk Upper
  5. One [1] Blouse Piece

The seva process started with a priest chanting mantras or hymns. The devotees sitting in front of the dias were also asked to chant the “Govinda” mantra along-with the priest. We were asked to raise our elbows and clap as part of the ritual. This continued for 1 hour and some of them like me fell into sleep in the middle.

After this ceremony was complete, we were asked to join the queue again to “sight” or darshan Lord Venkateswara again. This was the second time of our vision of Lord Balaji during this tour. My wife and I got a good glimpse of the idol and our hearts were full. By 2.00 pm we were able to come out.

We visited a nearby hotel for lunch, around the temple surroundings. There were lot of small shops which catered tiffins and meals. But I preferred the hotel. I normally go to the Annapurna restaurant which serves both North-Indian and South-Indian dishes, but was closed for now due to unknown reasons.

Later I and my wife retired to the (Panchajanyam) dormitory rooms. My parents were little late to arrive. It was almost 4.00 pm when we decided to visit the nearby places of importance. We booked a taxi for Rs 500 to visit the following places.

  1. Srivari Padalu
  2. Silathoranam
  3. Chakra Tirtham
  4. Venugopala Swamy Temple & Haathi Baba Samadhi
  5. Akasaganga
  6. Papavinasanam

The time taken to visit the above 6 places was about 3 hours. The most interesting aspect of visiting these places is that the whole drive goes through the forest area which is rich in medicinal plants. So this drive gives a refreshing breath and also good for health.

Cab drive in Tirumala srivari padalu Balaji view from Srivari padalu Silathoranam chakra theertham tirumala Lord Venkateswara near Silathoranam Tirumala Garden near Silathoranam Hathiram Mutt In Tirupati Venugopalswamy temple near TirumalaAfter coming back from the trip it was about 7.30 pm. My wife and mother went for shopping in and around the places of the temple. I and my father sat near the CRO office and chit-chatted for a little. I felt good to sit calm and idle in the midst of the pilgrims floating around. Unfortunately, the divine music which used to be heard from shops once we reach the Tirumala hills was not to be heard these days.

The second day of my visit to “Tirumala/Tirupathi” in 2013, thus ended on a peaceful note. We had to pack our luggage that day, as we planned to go down to Tirupathi on the next day.


If you need to travel to India, then one of the most sacred places you must visit is the “Lord Venkateswara” temple in Tirumala. This “Kaliyuga Vaikuntam” (home of Lord Vishnu in the last of the 4 yugas as described in the Indian scriptures) is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. If you go into details, this hill town is located in the Chittoor district.

It’s a major pilgrimage centre for Hindus and is situated 26 kilometres (16 mi) north of Tirupati, 86 kilometres (53 mi) north-east of Chittoor, 160 kilometres (99 mi) north-west of Chennai and 573 kilometres (356 mi) south-east of Hyderabad.

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I already narrated, my travel story to tirumala and tirupathi in 2010, with scenic photographs. It’s a common practice in our house-hold to visit the “Balaji Temple” (Lord Venkateswara is also known by that name) once in every year. I recently visited this pilgrimage cum tourist spot in Dec, 2012 with all my family and 3 aunts. But due to health reasons, I was not able to blog my travel story at that time.

Lord Venkateswara - Real Image

But in Feb, 2013 I was married to “Venuka” and the Kalyanam seva was due in Tirumala. You can read my blog article on how I booked my seva tickets and accomodation tickets from Visakhapatnam.

We planned to stay on Tirumala hills for 2 days and then visit the local temples in Tirupathi, the next day. So we started our journey on 1st Sep by boarding the Tirumala Express. As on date the train starts at 14.00 hrs. I took some pictures of the railway station.




The total travel time from Visakhapatnam to Tirupathi is about 15 hrs by train. The air travel time takes approximately 2 hours en-route Hyderabad. The total distance covered is around 785 kilometers by train. 

Our group included 4 of us ( which included my parents, myself and my wife). The journey was smooth except for the climate. Though it was rainy season in India, it was like hot summer. We time-passed our time by reading newspapers and magazines. There were also lot of vendors selling domestic eatables. Since I’m a fan of such items which are not available at home, I tasted many.

Once we reached just before Vijayawada, we had our dinner. It was almost 8.00 pm in the night. I went to bed immediately after taking my medicine.

The train was supposed to reach Tirupati by 5.00 am in the morning. But due to some delay we reached only by 6.30 am. As I already told you the “Samaikyandhra bandh” which was against the Telangana agitation in the State has brought all the daily services to halt.

So we had to hire an auto from the Railway station to Alipiri ( which is also known as Balaji Bus Station) to board the Tirumala bus. This bus price costs Rs 41/- (or almost $1) from Alipiri to Tirumala top. The whole journey is picturesque with the scenic beauty of the hills. It always advisable to sit on the left side as you can see the valley.

Once we reached Tirumala (by 8.00am), it was time to check for our tirumala accomodation. In order to check-in our rooms we must first report at the CRO(Central Reception Office), Tirumala. Presently this office is located very close to the Tirumala Bus station. (Earlier in Dec, 2012 it was moved to a different place).

We were allotted the “Panchajanyam Guest House” which costs Rs 500 daily. We need to do a little walk backwards in order to reach the guest house. This accomodation centre is almost 5 storeys high. We were allotted room nos. 128 and 204. (So this was the ground floor and the next above).

We immediately had breakfast and then went to the tonsure halls (place where we give our hair as prasadam to Lord Venkateswara). Luckily this task was finished very quickly as the “Q” we were standing in was less. My father believed it was the grace of Balaji, as some other people had to stand for 4 hours.

In the afternoon, by 12.30 pm we reached the “Lord Varaha Narasimha swamy” temple which is close by to the main idol. It is located on the shores of a temple pond, called the Swami Pushkarini, to the north of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Pilgrims should first worship Lord Varaha and then Lord Venkateswara. We had to take an auto which cost us Rs 80, as my feet were feeling numb due to diabetes.

Immediately afterwards we went to the Vaibhavotsava Mandapam near the main temple to sit for the “Vasanthotsavam” seva which we have booked earlier. Since we were early we could also watch the earlier seva, “Arjitha Brahmotsavam”. I was unable to sit properly on the floor due to the earlier reason. Luckily an elderly lady suggested me to sit on a nearby wooden item which was little comfortable.

After completion of the seva by 4.00pm we had to go to the “Supadham” gate in order to see the “Balaji” idol of the main temple. Through this gate the queue is cut short to some extent. But after a while we were mixed with the free darshan people. But in an hour, 5.00pm we were able to see the godly gracious “Lord Venkateswara”.

After that we retired to our rooms, though my parents went to TTD annadanam counter nearby the main temple. Every day nearly 60,000 devotees are availing the free Annaprasadam under the scheme in Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba Nithya Annaprasadam Complex.

So this was my Day-1 diary of my visit to the pilgrimage centre of Tirumala.



How To Do Tirumala Seva Booking from Visakhapatnam?

Things looked little bleak when “we” started for our Tirupati and Tirumala journey on Sep 1st, 2013. The main reason was because of the agitations going on for the “separate statehood” of Telangana. We reserved our train tickets and seva services 2 months back at the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) e-seva counter in Visakhapatnam.

Tirumala Seva Booking and Prices

How To Book Seva at Tirumala from Visakhapatnam?

You can reserve for the various sevas of “Lord Venkateswara” 60 days in advance, if you visit the TTD eSeva counter in MVP Colony, Visakhapatnam. It’s very close to the MVP Raithu Bazaar. One can watch for the availability of the sevas in local newspapers of Visakhapatnam. You can also book rooms and accomodation from this eSeva counter itself.

We booked Rs 500/- worth rooms and registered for the “Vasanthotsavam”  which costs Rs 300/- or $7 for one person. Later we found that this seva is very convenient as it starts at 2.00 PM. So we can have our lunch and sit comfortably in the function hall.

Since I was newly married, my parents also booked the “Kalyanotsavam” which is a paid service done FOR couples. This service costs Rs 1000/- per couple. The “free gifts” or prasadams available with this seva are Two [2] Big laddus, Two [2] vadas, Five [5] small laddus, One [1] Cotton Upper, One Blouse Piece. This seva starts at 10.00 AM.

As part of the TTD services, tirumala online seva booking is also possible by visiting the official site.

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The month of October-November is a feverish festival season in India. This year, the festival of lights (Diwali) was celebrated on 26th Oct. Very soon, 4 days from Diwali, is celebrated Nagula Chavithi, which is nothing but a festival to worship the Serpent Gods.

This festival normally falls in Kartika masam (a month – according to Telugu calendar), where people of Andhra Pradesh (state in India) organize picnics to celebrate this month. It so happened that my family and relatives planned the auspicious day of Nagula Chavithi to organize a picnic.

We started earlier at 6 am from Visakhapatnam (my native place) in 4 cars. First we reached my sister’s new apartment which is under construction at around 9am. Then we set for Dharapalem or Panchadarla.

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After we reaching the spot, my parents and aunts selected a suitable “putta” (holes where snakes live – sometimes it may not be a real snake hole) and started doing the puja. They spread turmeric and other powders around the hole and drop eggs and milk into the hole. After the puja is finished we take the sacred earth of the “putta” and put it on our ear tips and forehead.
Nagula_Chavithi_at_Dharapalem    Serpent_God_puja_at_Dharapalem  Nagula_Chaviti_at_Panchadarla    Author_at_PanchadharlaWe burn the remaining crackers left over from Diwali. The Dharapalem village is situated 30 km from Vizag steel plant and is renowned for the 5 jets of water coming out in the form of fountains. It is hence called “Panchadarla” and is becoming a favorite tourist spot.
A Siva temple is situated at this place ( in the form of Sri Uma Dharmalingeswara Swamy) and is worshipped by many Hindu devotees. My family and relatives performed “puja” to the SivaLinga with the chanting of mantras by the head-priest present over there. (the head-priest pronunciation was very good).

Nandi_Idol_at_Dharapalem    Siva_idol_at_Dharapalem  Dharapalem    Back_of _Nandi_Idol_at_Panchadarla

From there we left for Thanthadi beach.

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We had to drive back from Dharapalem to reach our picnic spot. As we reached the spot by 11am, the place was quite peaceful and nobody to disturb. We dragged the lunch cans and luggage from the cars to a spot close to the beach. The wind was gusty and the view was scenic. Thanthadi_beach_scenic_view         Thanthadi_beach_view Author_at_Thanthadi_beach_coconut_tree   Rock_projection_at_Thanthadi_beach         Close_up_of_rock_view    Author_near_Thanthadi_beach

We ate the lunch brought from home which considered of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. ( Though according to Hindu law, its forbidden to eat non-vegetarian in Karthika masam, some of couldn’t resist the aroma of the dish prepared by one of our aunts).

In the afternoon, some adults and kids started playing Housie, while the rest of them enjoyed the coconut trees surrounding the spot. We also took various snapshots holding the coconuts which were low on the trees and easily reachable.

In the evening, we went to the sea and my nephews played with enthusiasm and ecstasy. After spending some time at the beach, we returned back to our native place Visakhapatnam, in the cars we came from.


I have been writing many technical articles, but have never written an article about myself. Now a chance has come my way, to blog about my journey to a epic place, the wonderful and pious place for the South Indians, known as Tirumala and Tirupati. Lord Venkateswara, an epic god for the Hindus, is located on the hills of Tirumala. Below the hills is a city known as Tirupati. We have many temples in Tirupati and sight seeing locations in Tirumala.

Lord Venkateswara with his wife Author at the Hotel Reception

First of all my journey started on Feb 20th, Saturday, 2010.

We reserved all our train tickets to and fro from Visakhapatnam to Tirupati. The train ticket cost is around Rs 300/- per each person. We were totally 5 members. We booked ARJITHA BRHAMOTSVAM SEVA for seeing the Lord Venkateswara idol in Tirumal. It cost around Rs 1000/- which allowed 5 members to see the lord’s idol.

Day 1: Feb 20th, Sat.

I started with my family (Mom,Dad,2 relatives) from Visakhapatnam. We boarded the Tirumala express at 1.50pm. The railway station gives an endearing look from the top.

Visakhapatnam Railway Station Rajmundry Bridge

Scenic Locations on Travel

We started watching the nature as we passed many stations like Samarlkot Junction, Rajmundry, Elore, Vijaywada etc. By the time we reached Vijaywada it was around 9pm. I had already gone to sleep by then. We played some cards in the middle to pass some time.

Day 2, Feb 21st, Sun.

We reached the Tirupati railway station by 5.45am.

My Family at Tirupati station 7 Hills view from Hotel Room

We came out of the railway station and then took an auto to reach the Srinivasan Pilgrims Amenity centre, which is close to the bus station. The auto charged us Rs 50. The Srinivasan centre is just a 1 km distance from the railway station. As we booked the room in the Srinivasan centre in advance we could easily get a room. The room cost is Rs 200/- each day. All the reservations were made in advance at my native place, Visakhapatnam, TTD centre, MVP colony.  We finished our breakfast by 9am at a near by food stall just opposite the amenities centre. Then we booked a Tata Indica for Rs 2200/- to see a few places. The places included Alivelu Mangapuram,Kalahasti,Srinivasa Mangapuram, Kanipakam and Golden temple. First we went to Alivelu Mangapuram, but, had to return without seeing the deity as the darshan of the goddess was not still open to the public. From there we went to SriKalahasti, a Siva temple.

The history of the temple says that the Siva linga in the temple has been worshipped by spider, snake and an elephant. It is a very ancient temple. Here is a wikipedia link to the total history of the temple. The story of Kalahasti – Siva temple. Before we enter the temple, there is a Vinayaka temple (the elephant god) which is below the Ground level, almost inside the river bed. It is believed in the Hindu circle, that first praying to Lord Vinayaka and then praying other gods is very sacred. Lord Ganesha Then we went inside the temple and took a special darshan ticket of Rs 10/- for a faster darshan of the god. It is common in hindu temples of putting a price tag for faster access to god, though even free access is there. We also drank butter milk there, which was very nice. Just before coming out of the temple there is a Suryanarayana temple ( the sun god), which looks neglected and is missed by many pilgrims. Kalahasti temple From there we went to Srinivasa Mangapuram. It was almost lunch time by this time. So we had to stop by at a hotel to have lunch. The heat was unbearable although it was only february. The story of Srinivasa Mangapuram can be accessed from this link. Srinivasa Mangapuram and its Sevas When we reached Srinivasa Mangapuram, it was around 2pm. The place is always peaceful and very little rush can be seen here. Srinivasa Mangapuram temple We took a few photos here and we finished the darshan of the god with very ease. Then we left the place for Kanipakam, which has become famous recently. Here Lord Vinayaka (elephant god) is worshipped and is said that the lord is found in a well, and also said that the lord grows each year. The history to Kanipakam can be found from this link. Kanipakam History   It was almost 4.30pm by the time we left Kanipakam. From there we left to Golden temple which was in Tamilnadu state. We reached Golden temple by 6.30 pm. All the temples visited till now are in Andhra Pradesh, Chittor district. The golden temple is in Vellore city. The history of the temple can be found from this link. Sripuram – Golden temple – Vellore – History The temple is to be seen in the night as the gold glows in the night decoration. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped here. The temple is surrounded by a Hindu mechanism known as SriChakram ( which is a star shaped construction). It took us around 2hrs to see the goddess and travel all the srichakram. We came back to Tirupathi by 11.30 pm. The driver who drove us was very young and enthusiastic. Though he studied only 10th, he spoke of driving big cars and wanted to win race. Oops! Too enthusiastic perhaps!!

Day3, Feb 22nd, Mon.

Today we visited all the local temple in Tirupati. First we visited the Govindaswamy temple. Here the brother of Lord Venkateswara is worshipped. The temple is peaceful and does not pull much of rush. Also, the god can be seen very clearly in a sleeping position. Author at Govindswamy temple From there we went to Alevelu Mangapuram. Here the wife of Lord Venkateswara, Alevelu Mangamma is worshipped here. Here also we took a special ticket for quick darshan and finished the darshan in an hour. After the darshan, there was also free anna danam ( free meal) which is considered very sacred by the pilgrims. The free lunch was good. The link to Alevelu Mangapuram. Alivelu Mangapuram – History Then we reached our guest house again. By this time it was around 2pm. We took a nap and by 5.00pm we were awake again. I still had some cramps so i could not see any more places. The rest of the tour gang went to Kapil Teertham, a waterfall place.

Mangapatnam Day4, Feb 23rd, Tue.

In the morning we got ready early and started our journey to the real god, Lord Venkateswara, up the 7 hills. The bus fare was Rs 54/- to and fro from Tirupati to Tirumala. There is also a facility to climb the hills by foot. But we preferred the bus. Scenic View from Tirumala After we reached Tirumala, the top of the 7 hills, we had to stand in queue for allocation of lodging room. We already booked the reservation but still we had to stand in queue. This was given at ARP counter which is at the the very starting of Tirumala. By 9am we were given the room. My father and aunty gave away their hair completely, while my mommy , me and other aunty just gave a few strings of hair. At around 1pm we went to the function hall, for the ARJITHA BRHAMOTSVAM SEVA. At around 2.15 pm the Utsava deity was brought into the hall. My parents were given some gifts too. This idol was placed on different vahanams or vehicles like Anjaneya and Garuda vahanam. After that we went into the queue for our main purpose i.e visiting Lord Venkateswara. By 3.15 pm we were able to see Lord Venkateswara idol, which is very enchangting to see. The Lord is full of garlands, diamonds and the inside temple itself is full of gold. After the darshan, we went to sleep and my other members of our family went for shipping.

Tirumala Goddess Tirumala temple night view Praising Lord BalajiMy Aunt at Tirumala

Day 5th, Feb 24th, Wed.

We again got ready by 9am, to see Lord Venkateswara for one more time. This time it was Rs 50/- darshan. It took us almost 3hrs to complete the queue and visit the lord. In the afternoon, we went to some sight seeing places like Akasam Ganga, Venu gopalswamy temple and Papa Vinasanam.

Author at Tirumala Temple near to Tirumala My Daddy and me

By 9pm we reached the railway station at Tirupati and boarded the train back to Visakhapatnam. One good thing about the railway station is it is very nice and also has a good Vivekananda stall. Also India was on the verge of winning the cricket series with South Africa and also Sachin Tendulkar scored a double century, for the first time in one day cricket history. Ha! That is my tour diary. Next time more pics and more stories.