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Old 8th August 2008, 23:45   #1
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Default Tirupati!!

I suggested a location for the meet and when it was accepted there was much to do in terms of identifying the right location, coordinating with the organisers and so on.

But the very next day that I mentioned a farm visit, we were offered a difficult to get seva ticket at Tirumala.
We had just a couple of hours to decide whether we were to accept or decline.

My wife surprisingly got a day off and one of her colleagues also wanted to join with her husband.
But since it was a working day she could only leave office a bit early and so we decided to leave by 5 PM.

I got back home from work and checked on the progress of the meet planning and updated the organisers about my travel plans.
We left exactly at 5 PM and I had decided against taking the choked outer ring road out of Bangalore. Instead, we went on the new International Airport road till Bagalur cross and took the right turn towards Delhi Public School.
This road is in excellent shape all the way with zero traffic till old madras road and it joins the highway some kilometres before Hoskote.
After Hoskote, the highway widening work was happening and it was a slow crawl behind lorries till Kolar, after crossing Kolar, the speed picked up and we were crossing the Palamner ghat section as it was getting dark.

Before Chittoor town, we took the left turn into the byepass, this road is in the same condition it was in about 4 years ago. Not much of potholes but very bumpy.
Once we cross Chittoor and take the right turn towards Tirupati, the road is awesome.
Well marked with cat's eyes and lane markings, it is a pleasure to drive at night.

This stretch can be done at an average speed of almost 100 kmph. One should just look out for a few road humps which will make you brake from a high speed.
We reached Tirupati town exactly by 9.30 PM, so we had covered a distance of 255 kms in 4.5 hrs. We went to Bheema's Residency even though our contact in Tirupati had booked us rooms at Bheema Deluxe. At Bheema residency rooms cost 1750 plus taxes.
Called up our contact who happens to be the head of the famed Laddu manufacturing unit of Tirumala, apologised to him for having changed hotels, and he in turn asked us to call up his representative who was to escort us to Tirumala the next morning.

We enquired about some authentic 'Andhra Style' non vegetarian hotel and we were directed to Hotel Dwaraka opposite to the main bus stand.
This hotel looks deceptively down market, but the dinner was really very tasty, not too spicy like it was supposed to be but excellently mouthwatering.

Finished dinner and went back to the hotel for a few hours of shut eye.
Got a call from our escort at 5.30 am, and we were all ready to move.
Drove up the winding hill roads and reached the top in about 45 minutes.
Once on top we realised that the crowds were quite sparse, we were handed our seva ticket and asked if we wanted extra laddus, we paid up for the extra laddus and Bala our escort took us into the Vaikunta Dwara to enter the q-complex. We were made to sit in one of the enclosures with about a hundred odd people for an hour and then let into the temple premises.

Here again we discovered that the huge queues which are a hallmark of the temple was missing, there was just us.
We were again separated into couples who were actually performing the pooja and made to sit for another hour.
Then we were let into the main gold plated hall just outside the sanctum sanctorum, I was placed in such a vantage point that I could get a clear view of the deity. Long verses were sung and puja performed with heaps of 'Puliyogare' or tamarind rice placed in huge containers in front of the idol.

Once the puja was done we were ushered into the sanctum sanctorum itself and here our contact met us and told us to spend as much time as we wanted in front of the deity.
Another first at Tirumala, where you are usually herded out even before you get a glimpse of the lord.
After a long darshan, we walked out and were offered prasadam by this gentleman who asked us to consider it our breakfast and have our fill.

After that he took us around the kitchens where the famous Tirupati Laddu is made.
Huge taps when turned on have ghee gushing out! Big tanks of dry fruit, conveyors to carry the material, it was all mind boggling.
He told us that they manufacture 200,000 laddus a day. Most of the employees are in the manufacturing unit are working for generations. We thanked the gentleman for his favours and bid him goodbye.

We walked out in a daze and were met by Bala and another person carrying a huge basket which was the prasad for the seva performed. Loaded all this into the car and the whole car was smelling of ghee.
Drove downhill leisurely and reached the hotel by 12.30 pm. Decided to sleep for a few hours and then start our journey back.
We left Tirupati by 2 pm and had lunch at Chittoor at 3. After that it was the road back to Bangalore.
Now for the pics:

Me in Traditional attire
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Bird's eye view of Tirupati
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View of the ghat roads on the way down
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An exotic spotted at the hotel
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Some snaps during sunset taken at Mulbagal
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We entered Bangalore in pouring rain and finally made it home by 9 pm.

Total distance covered : 550 kms
Fuel economy : 11.76 km/ltr
No. of passengers : 4 adults.
Car : Optra of course.
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Old 9th August 2008, 14:16   #2
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Are you talking about Tirupati Temple ?

The snaps are nice ( most of T-BHPians are excellent photographers it seems ).

The figures about Laddu are amazing.
IMO, the FE was very low for this car, but could be becasue of high speed driving.

For the first time I noticed the alloys. They are very good looking for Optra.
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Old 9th August 2008, 15:50   #3
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Nice writeup Luke, I am surpsied you were seemingly refreshed for the Bangy meet.
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Old 11th August 2008, 01:14   #4
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very nice indeed, loved the last pic, good photographer! btw which camera is that?
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Old 11th August 2008, 01:19   #5
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Nice. I remember going to Tirupati 3-4 years back. Was a wonderful trip.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:21   #6
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Quote:
btw which camera is that?
My humble Sony DSC H2 !!
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:53   #7
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Quote:
... they manufacture 200,000 laddus a day...
But no single laddu for us. :(
Agree that one has to be lucky enough to get one piece of those 2Lac laddu.

Quote:
An exotic spotted at the hotel
Umm. No one can stop the eyes of T-BHPian in spotting CARS!!! Wheather it is drive for dharsan or drive for meet.
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Old 11th August 2008, 11:53   #8
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Nice writeup Hari. Saw this travelogue just now.

How was the handling with new tyres? Any changes you could observe?

Abhi
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Old 11th August 2008, 12:04   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
Before Chittoor town, we took the left turn into the byepass, this road is in the same condition it was in about 4 years ago. Not much of potholes but very bumpy.
Nice. Weren't you with the toll they collect at the end of this super stretch?
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Old 11th August 2008, 16:07   #10
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@ Mjothi
Quote:
But no single laddu for us. :(
I did mention why none of you got a piece of laddu in the meet thread.

@ Akroy
Quote:
How was the handling with new tyres? Any changes you could observe?
Handling is excellent, no tyre noise, slightly reduced braking distance.
My wife was complaining I drove faster than usual.
The best compliment I got was from our escort who commutes everyday from Tirupati to Tirumala, he said he'd never seen anyone drive so quickly and confidently on the way up the ghats without scaring people.

@ Hrag
Quote:
Nice. Weren't you with the toll they collect at the end of this super stretch?
I was infact commenting to my co passengers about the same, but surprisingly they have done away with the toll booth.
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Old 11th August 2008, 16:49   #11
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So you had a great darshan, some great food and then the next day, a wonderful meet! What a life! ;-)
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Old 11th August 2008, 20:35   #12
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Lovely pictures there.Dont you think your car is giving less average figures.Are you using System-G because our car gives the the same average on a mix of 75% city and 25% highway driving and good alloys,suits the car well.
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Old 11th August 2008, 21:01   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.V.R View Post
Lovely pictures there.Dont you think your car is giving less average figures.Are you using System-G because our car gives the the same average on a mix of 75% city and 25% highway driving and good alloys,suits the car well.

Agreed on the fuel economy, I usually get around 14+ kms to the litre on long drives, but this time there was some spirited driving and one has to consider the uphill climb which I did at pretty high speeds (not normal) with the airconditioner switched on throughout.

I'm not using any additives. I use HP Power fuel only.

On my daily commute to work I get around 11.5 kms to 12 kms/lt, mostly without ac as I don't travel within the city.

Two more pictures of the car :

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Last edited by Lukeskywalker : 11th August 2008 at 21:11.
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Old 11th August 2008, 23:31   #14
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Climbing up the hill is a dream come true. nice roads and one way traffic. One more view from the top
Attached Thumbnails
Tirupati!!-pics-0491.jpg  

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Old 14th August 2008, 21:43   #15
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Nice write-up Luke. We went to Tirupati / Tirumala 3rd week July; but were not that lucky as you on the Darshan side. (no regrets, had been extremely lucky so many times before).

By the way, the T-Shirt of yours doesn't come under traditional attire :-)
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