Feb 03 2013

Travel Guide – Bangalore to Tirupati via KSTDC Conducted Tour

Category: TravelKamlesh @ 11:22 am

I recently visited Lord Venkateshwara(Balaji) Temple via KSTDC Pilgrimage packaged tour. This is one of the best and easiest way to have a hassle free visit to Tirupti and have darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. If you plan to stay at Tirumala Hill for a day or two, then you need to plan for your travel and stay together.

A packaged tour involves planned timings and schedule, that every visitor/guest has to maintain.  To execute this, you will be assigned a Tour Guide at the venue, who will explain all the logistics.

Below is the details of my trip (this may vary a bit for every trip, based on factors like traffic and time management). All the below facts are as of January 2013.

Booking Options:
Online – http://karnatakaholidays.net/
In-Person – Visit KSTDC Office at Badami House, near co-orperation circle, Bangalore.

Fare: Rs.1,760 (Volvo Bus) per person

The above fare includes:

  • Travel for complete journey
  • Hotel/Stay facility for bathing/getting fresh
  • Lord Venkateshwara Temple darshan ticket
  • Prasad (2 Ladoos)

Keep extra money for the following items, which is not covered by the above fare:

  • Food (Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch) / Drinking water bottle
  • Padmavati Temple entrance ticket – Rs.25 (keep change handy)
  • Extra Ladoos (Rs.50/Ladoo) – Tour guide arrange for this
  • Ladoo covers – Rs.2
  • Offerings / Dakshina
  • Jeep Charges for those who are going for tonsuring (Assuming it will be around Rs.100)
  • Shopping Items
  • Mobile Phone security – Rs.10
  • Shoe keeper – Rs.2

Safety Tips:

  • Keep a disposable bag with you, if you have allergey for travel.
  • Keep a water bottle as your companion in the entire trip

The official itinerary for this trip can be seen here (http://karnatakaholidays.net/pilgrimage_holidays_tirupati.htm).

Frequency: Every Sunday to Thursday

Official Timings:
Departure – 10:00pm
Arrival – 08:00pm (on 2nd day)

My Trip Timeline:

Day 109:47pm Bus started from Badami House. Surprisingly it started earlier than schedule time(10pm), because all passengers reached in time. So please ensure that you report the counter 20 minutes (i.e. 9:40pm)
Day 110:00pmBus reached near Ulsoor
Day 110:34pmBus reached Checkpost / Toll Gate after KR Puram
Day 110:58pmBreak at Kamath Hotel for Food (~ 20 min - For people with travel allergy, avoid eating)
Day 202:25amReached Hotel Hotel Srinivasam Complex. A guide gets into the bus and informs the plan for the day. For the benefit of everyone, he speaks in English, Kannada and Hindi.
Day 202:35amChecked-in to the Hotel Room at D Block - 5th Floor (Guide asked us to fresh-up and come back to Bus by 04:15am). You may not get hot water for bathing. Be prepared to take bath in very little warm water.
Day 204:10amReached down to Bus Parking area
Day 204:15amBus starts to Padmavathi Temple
Day 204:30amReached Padmavathi Temple (Leave mobile/footwear in bus). Waited for queue for entrance ticket (Rs.25). Counter opened at 04:55am. Got the tickets.
Day 205:00amEntered the temple (first 50 ticket holders will be blessed to attend the Suprabata Seva).
Day 205:30amDone with Darshan, collected prasadam
Day 205:40amBus started for Breakfast. Guide informed these notices: Cameras and Bags are not allowed. Need to change the bus to travel on top of the hill. Leave bags in the same Volvo bus.
Handover Mobile/Camera and valuables to Driver (Rs.10 charge). Only carry water, medicines. Tonsure group take small packet for clothes. They will not have breakfast, instead start in separate Jeep.
Day 205:45amReached Hotel Bheema Paradise for breakfast. (For people with travel allergy, avoid eating)
Day 206:35amLeft Mobile with Driver and boarded local Bus which will take everyone top. Seat preference on first come first serve basis.
Day 206:40amLocal Bus halts at Bus Stand. Guide get down to buy tickets for all passengers (the ticket cost is included in fare ticket)
Day 206:45amLocal Bus resumes its journey
Day 207:00amGet down from Local bus for security check, before entering the hill.
Day 207:05amGet into the Local bus. Journey resumes.
Day 207:35amReaches top of the hill. Guide explains the location where you need to return back after Darshan (Check with Guide, if he can arrange for extra Ladoo's)
Day 208:00amReaches the point where the Queue starts for KSTDC tourists. All wait in queue based on the Seat Numbers.
Day 208:08amQueue starts moving
Day 209:08amQueue reaches main entrance (there is not much rush). Water bottles are thrown into waste bin before entering the main gate at temple.
Day 209:30amMost important part of this event - Venkateshwara Swami Darshan
Day 209:45amReached outside the temple and assembled near TTD Publication stall (as instructed earlier by Guide). The guide gets the prasadam (2 Ladoo's per ticket) for everyone. Shopping time...
Day 210:35amBoard the same Local Bus and start the return Journey from top of the hill.
Day 211:20amReached down and changed the bus. Back to Volvo bus which will take us back to Bangalore
Day 212:10pmStopped at Nandi Garden Restaurent for Lunch (For people with travel allergy, avoid eating)
Day 212:45pmResume journey after the lunch
Day 203:30pmStopped at Kamath Restaurant for Tea Break (~ 20min)
Day 203:55pmResume journey after Tea Break
Day 204:20pmToll Check gate (later there was traffic at KRPuram)
Day 205:00pmGot down at Byappanahalli Metro Main Station and took local transport to Home.

Important Tips:

  • Keep your Ticket always with you. Do not leave it in the bag inside the bus.
  • Listen and follow all the guidelines as explained by the Tour Guide.
  • Dress Code – Traditional dress is the best option.  Avoid t-shirts without collar. Avoid shirts/tops without sleeves. Avoid shorts. Avoid overexposed dresses.

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