Tirupati – Abode of Lord Balaji
Tirupati is regarded as Abode of Lord Balaji. Tirupati is regarded as one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites because of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, besides other historical temples, and is called as the “Spiritual Capital of Andhra Pradesh”.
Tirupati is known for world famous Tirupati Laddu. It is the prasadam at Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala.
Accommodation at Tirupati is Sreenivasam Complex, Madhavam Guest House, Sri Venkateswara Dharmasala, Sri Venkateswara Guest House, Sri Govindaraja Dharmasala, Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy Dharamsala, Vishnu Nivasam. You can also check accommodation at Vishnu Nivasan situated near the railway station.
On day one – We reached Gudur by Tamil Nadu Express and took a connecting train to Tirupati. We landed in the Tirupati station and as we moved out of the platform we found government buses running for Tirumala. You can get the bus tickets from there only. Other private vehicles like jeeps and taxis also run. You choose your preference according to your comfort level and decide which vehicle to choose. We boarded the jeep for Tirumala Hills. On reaching there, we checked in the accommodation. we had booked accommodation and darshan tickets one month in advance from Buldana Bank, Nagpur, Maharashtra (You can get the Darshan tickets booked by taking your Aadhar Card. Please do not forget to carry your photo Id’s with you during darshan since they will be checked later in the entry gate). We got fresh and left for our Darshan at 3 PM in the afternoon. We got the darshan tickets checked (Note: – Ladies should wear Indian dress i.e Salwar, Kameez with chunni or Saree. Gents have to wear Dhoti or lungi. If you forgot to carry a lungi with you, do not take tension you will get it near the entry gate. Just pay the price and purchase your lungi). You have to deposit your mobile phone and get the receipts so that you can collect them after the darshan.
There was a lot of rush and everyone was in a hurry for Lord Balaji darshan. The queue moved at a turtle pace and sometimes it stopped. People really pushed each other to stay ahead of the rest of the crowd. You have to maintain your pace, space and should have patience if you are planning for lord Balaji God darshan. There are lots of chambers through which the queue passes. There are chairs for sitting. sometimes you will get to sit and sometimes you may not. You should have stamina within you. It took us 3 and a half hours before we got to see Lord Balaji. The very sight of lord Balaji will remove all your exertion, tension, stress, problems everything. I would say that the effect is so mesmerising that you will feel at peace when you see Balaji God’s face. You can never forget that experience. It is an experience of a lifetime. When you move out of the temple you can touch the outside of temple with your forehead. You will get real peace. Though there is so much rush in the temple but you will feel internal peace when you are here. You will not hear any voice, no sounds and nothing will exist for you. It is just you and your God. It was a great experience. whenever I come here I feel at peace. You can do donations in the Hundi which is kept outside the main temple premises. The main temple where lord Balaji is residing is made of pure gold. The whole temple really shines a lot at night with all the evening lights on. You can collect your Laddu from the laddu counters by showing the darshan tickets.
We moved out of the temple and went for head tonsure. You can get the head tonsure done before and after darshan. We decided to get our heads tonsured after Balaji God’s darshan since we were running short of time. You do not need any entry tickets for head tonsure. You can drop you chappal and shoes in the shoes counter and get the tickets. We went inside. You will get a card which will carry a number and half blade to get the head tonsure done. Ladies will get their head tonsured from a lady and gents from males. You can check your card number, reach the person and get your head tonsured. You also have the option of just cutting small bits of hairs from three sides so that you have a feeling of head tonsure. We left the tonsure room, collected our chappals and headed towards the hat selling vendor. You can see lots of vendors selling colourful hats. Choose the right one for you.
We left for Tirupati by jeep and checked in a hotel near the railway station. On the second day, we booked a, AC taxi for doing temple darshan. We woke up at 5 AM in the morning and got the feeling of 8 AM. There was so much movement in the city that you won’t feel it is early morning. You will find people who are boarding the bus for Tirumala for Lord Balaji darshan. We had to see Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Sri Kalahasti, Sri Govindaraja Swamy Temple, Sri Kapileswara Swamy Temple and Iskcon temple.
First we went to visit Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple. It is the temple of Balaji God’s wife Padmavati Goddess. There is a long queue. You can escape the queue by getting darshan tickets or get into the long queue. You will feel at peace. You should do Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple darshan since it is said that lord Balaji’s darshan is incomplete without Padmavati Mata darshan. You can do donations in the hundi.
Then we went to Sri Kapileswara Swamy Temple. It is a famous Shiva temple. The best part is the waterfall inside temple premises. You can bath in the water and change your clothes there. The water falling from above the mountains gives a great feeling. You will have a nice feeling here when you just stand near the waterfall. You will be fascinated by the beauty of the temple. There is also a small lake where water accumulates from the waterfall.
We went and did Shiva God’s darshan and left for Sri Kalahasti Temple. It is a large Shiva Temple located on the banks of River Swarnamukhi. The whole temple is made of single stone and Shiva God’s statue is made of single long black stone. The idol of lord Shiva is big. You will have a very different feeling when you see Shiva God’s idol. Here Rahu God and Ketu God puja are performed to lessen the ill effects of both the planets. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee came here to this temple and did Rahu God and Ketu God puja. You will see a long queue in the Rahu and Ketu God’s puja so if you want to get the puja done you should have ample time to devote for the puja Archana.
We visited Lord Krishna Iskcon Temple. The temple premises is grand and you will have a nice feeling here. We entered inside the temple. It is a well-built temple with lots of marble work. You will have a feeling of the royal palace when you enter inside the temple. Inside the temple, you will find statues of Lord Krishna, Radha and other statues. You can sit there and chant –
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”
and feel God’s presence. Just close your eyes and chant the above mantra, you will feel at peace. There are books counter, fortune stone counter and other gift items counter inside the temple premises. You can do shopping from here. There is a fine dining area on the ground floor of the temple premises. The food served here is very tasty. You can quench your hunger with the right kind of food here.
We went to Sri Govindaraja Swamy Temple. This temple is located near Tirupati Railway Station. This temple caught my attention because I saw a big sign board where it was written “Beware of pickpocketers”. Sri Govindaraja Swamy is the elder brother of Lord Balaji, who accomplished the magnificent marriage between Balaji God and Padmavati Maa. Here the Lord is in a resting position. You will have a nice feeling when you see the idol of God. The pandit will put a silver crown on your head and mind it you should be wearing any caps. If you have got your head tonsured and have worn a cap, you can take out the cap so that you can receive full blessings of the lord. You will have a peaceful feeling when the puja pandit will put the crown on your head. I cannot express the feeling in words but it was something which pacified my mind.
You will have a heavenly feeling when you do Lord Balaji darshan on Tirumala Hills and other temple darshan situated in Tirupati. Tirupati is really abode of Lord Balaji.