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.
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
- 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
Departure – 10:00pm
Arrival – 08:00pm (on 2nd day)
My Trip Timeline:
|Day 1||09:47pm||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 1||10:00pm||Bus reached near Ulsoor|
|Day 1||10:34pm||Bus reached Checkpost / Toll Gate after KR Puram|
|Day 1||10:58pm||Break at Kamath Hotel for Food (~ 20 min - For people with travel allergy, avoid eating)|
|Day 2||02:25am||Reached 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 2||02:35am||Checked-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 2||04:10am||Reached down to Bus Parking area|
|Day 2||04:15am||Bus starts to Padmavathi Temple|
|Day 2||04:30am||Reached Padmavathi Temple (Leave mobile/footwear in bus). Waited for queue for entrance ticket (Rs.25). Counter opened at 04:55am. Got the tickets.|
|Day 2||05:00am||Entered the temple (first 50 ticket holders will be blessed to attend the Suprabata Seva).|
|Day 2||05:30am||Done with Darshan, collected prasadam|
|Day 2||05:40am||Bus 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 2||05:45am||Reached Hotel Bheema Paradise for breakfast. (For people with travel allergy, avoid eating)|
|Day 2||06:35am||Left Mobile with Driver and boarded local Bus which will take everyone top. Seat preference on first come first serve basis.|
|Day 2||06:40am||Local Bus halts at Bus Stand. Guide get down to buy tickets for all passengers (the ticket cost is included in fare ticket)|
|Day 2||06:45am||Local Bus resumes its journey|
|Day 2||07:00am||Get down from Local bus for security check, before entering the hill.|
|Day 2||07:05am||Get into the Local bus. Journey resumes.|
|Day 2||07:35am||Reaches 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 2||08:00am||Reaches the point where the Queue starts for KSTDC tourists. All wait in queue based on the Seat Numbers.|
|Day 2||08:08am||Queue starts moving|
|Day 2||09:08am||Queue reaches main entrance (there is not much rush). Water bottles are thrown into waste bin before entering the main gate at temple.|
|Day 2||09:30am||Most important part of this event - Venkateshwara Swami Darshan|
|Day 2||09:45am||Reached 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 2||10:35am||Board the same Local Bus and start the return Journey from top of the hill.|
|Day 2||11:20am||Reached down and changed the bus. Back to Volvo bus which will take us back to Bangalore|
|Day 2||12:10pm||Stopped at Nandi Garden Restaurent for Lunch (For people with travel allergy, avoid eating)|
|Day 2||12:45pm||Resume journey after the lunch|
|Day 2||03:30pm||Stopped at Kamath Restaurant for Tea Break (~ 20min)|
|Day 2||03:55pm||Resume journey after Tea Break|
|Day 2||04:20pm||Toll Check gate (later there was traffic at KRPuram)|
|Day 2||05:00pm||Got down at Byappanahalli Metro Main Station and took local transport to Home.|
- 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.