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Old 19th March 2009, 09:31   #1
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Default Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills

Bangalore – Tirupati (Tirumala) – Bangalore

Members: 3 Satyamites (Abhi, Manoj and Tapan) in AltoLXi

It was first week of Feb. During a quite chai session at the Cafeteria in Satyam Campus at Electronic City, Manoj was expressing about his Tirupati visit which is unnecessarily delayed due to some problem or the other. I replied, “Lets plan up and do it, I will also join you”. Tapan and Pawan joined as well. Immediately in the next weekend we go to the TTD Office at Bangalore (Malleswaram) to book the tickets. Much to our disappointment we find that there are no tickets for Feb, so anyhow we got Rs50 tickets for mid march and booked it.

As the time came in, Pawan had to drop out because he had to urgently go home. So it was we three who decided to go.

Day-1 (14th Mar): Bangalore – Hosakote – Kolar – Mulbagal – Palamner – Chittoor – Putalapattu – Tirupati – Tirumala

As planned I was ready to leave at 6AM but we got delayed as Manoj picked up Tapan from JP Nagar and reached my house only at 7AM. Manoj parked his Zen in my parking lot and we all hoped into the Alto and started the journey.

I did a tankful at OMR Shell pump and bought some snacks from there too. It was only at 7:25AM we start the journey from Shell. Soon we cross Krishnarajapuram cable stayed bridge and onto NH4.

Road till Hosakote was crowded with traffic. After Hosakote it was the diversions which slow us down considerably. 4 laning work is in full swing till Kolar.

Foggy Kolar: When we started our journey from Bangalore it was well sunny. By the time we passed Kamat Upachar before Kolar suddenly the weather got very foggy and cold. It was really an amazing transformation. Visibility suddenly was an issue now. Our speeds were down to 50kmph from 80 – 100kmph range.

Before entering Kolar BP
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4903.jpg

It was at 8:40AM when we reach Woody’s after Kolar BP for breakfast. After an amazing masala dosa and chai we again start at around 9:15AM. This time the weather became sunny and hot.

We put on the AC and start our journey further. There were four laning work till Mulbagal and only one lane was operational hence our speeds were in the 70-90kmph range. I was expecting the big pothole at the start of Mulbagal BP but didn’t find any. I think it had covered it with tar and the road the BP was smooth.

It was only after Mulbagal that the speeds could touch 100kmph+ range. After Mulbagal we were back to our old NH4 and it is still a beauty to drive on. We were always in the 100-120kmph range and within no time we passed Palamner ghats. Palamner Ghat road was excellent when I last drove on it but this time the surface had roughed up a bit.

Chittoor BP to NH24: At the entry of the BP there is some road work going on. Hence it is highly likely that one might miss it. The pointer for this was the FoodExpress Restaurant and the IOC Petrol pump adjacent to it. Immediately after that there is this left turn for Chittoor BP whose initial few metres were kachha road.

After about 8-9km we hit NH24 (Chittoor – Cudappah - Kurnool highway). We turn left from here. After passing through 2 railways crossings we turn right on SH61 for Nayudupeta (via Tirupati, Renigunta, Srikalahasti).

I can see SH61 lose its shine since my last drive here in 2006 (during my Kolkata drive). Although it was smooth and fast but had got a bit rough at places. But anyway it was still the 100kmph designed 2 laned highway. We were doing 3 digits speeds.

It was only 11AM and TIrupati was at stricking distance so Manoj wanted a break (In his words, “Mujhe Kheto ko pani dena hai”). Why only him, since we stopped we all did the job of emptying our tank. Then we had some snacks and spent some time there.

A small break on SH61
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4904.jpg
With Tapan
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4906.jpg
Hills near SH61
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4907.jpg
The beautiful SH61
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4910.jpg

At 11:20AM we start the journey again and reach hotel at 12noon. It took us only 4.5 hours (235kms) of driving time to reach Tirupati. After the 4 laning of NH4, I guess it will be even faster. We first went to book a hotel. Checked in Hotel Bhimas Deluxe and booked an AC room, then went to the next door Punjabi food joint for some hot tandoori roti, dal and sabji.

Start of the climb to Tirumala
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4911.jpg

After we freshen up in the hotel, we soon move out to go to Temple at Tirumala. The temple is located on the Venkatachalam hill that forms part of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence the temple is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills. The Tirumala hills comprising of the seven hills of Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri are the abode of the Tirumala Venkateswara temple. The Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala is located on the Seshadri hill.

We had to do the initial car check at the foothills and then start the climb. The climb was smooth and the car could do it mostly in 3rd / 4th gears with AC on. By 3PM we were atop Tirumala. In another 10min we were at the long queue. It took us almost 1.5 hours at the queue to reach the temple. Being the richest temple it was covered with gold.

After offering our prayers we finally came out of the temple at 4:40PM, then went to pick up our laddoos at the adjacent place and finally reached the car park at 5:20PM. The drive downhill was a different road mostly hairpins. Ascent and descent are both one ways. We did click some pics while driving down.

At Car Park, Tirumala
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4914.jpg
Tirupati while descent
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4917.jpg

Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4919.jpg

We reach our hotel at 6:40PM. Rested there for a while and moved out to a hotel serving Marathi food where we had a delicious Maharashrian thali. We returned to hotel and started our regular discussions like what we generally do in office e.g., projects, future of company, recession etc. All of us finally slept by 10PM.

Day-2 (15th Mar): Tirupati – Chittoor – Kolar – Bangalore

Alarm rings at 4AM. I always take bath before driving and others decided to do so after reaching Bangalore. After settling the bills, we checkout of the hotel and start the car by 5:10AM.

I always enjoy night drives as you find lesser surprises on highways. We cruished at 100kmph till Putalapattu. We saw sunlight only at Chittoor BP. We were doing the distances very fast. Except for a small loo halt we did not stop anywhere till Kolar. The drive was fast and smooth.

NH4 near Palamner early morning
Weekend Travelogue: 3 Satyamites seeks blessings from the lord of seven hills-100_4930.jpg

Worst breakfast at CCD: Although our initial plan was to halt at Woodys for breakfast. It was at 8AM, we were passing CCD about a few km before Woodys and let’s try out here (Our decision was based on big hoardings of Aloo paratha breakfast at CCD). Personally I never liked these CCDs specially the expensive coffees as a total waste of money. Anyway we went there for Aloo parathas but was served with Parathas which comes from Bangalore and just microwaved there. They don’t prepare it hot and serve at that time. That put us down. It was an horrible experience plus Rs253 bill for 3 plates. A day before we had delicious and fresh masala dosas and chai in Woodys which just costs us Rs 111.

Tapan wanted some omlettes but they didn’t have any. So immediately called up wife at home and told her to prepare some French toasts for all of us as we had the worst breakfast in our life.

The last leg of the journey was slow with diversions and traffic and finally reach OMR shell pump at 9:40AM. I refilled again and found that the car drank 27.57 lits of petrol for 530.1 km. With high speeds and full AC from Bangalore till Tirumala I felt the 19+ average was indeed good.

Finally reached home at 10AM and had our French toasts and juice. Not only the drive was great but the darshan was greater as well as we could spent some time to see the lord balaji at the temple.

Total distance travelled: 537kms (home to home)

Signing off
Abhijit Kumar Roy
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Old 19th March 2009, 10:33   #2
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Abhi - Nice write-up. 1.5 Hrs in queue is not bad at all by Tirumala standards. Did you find any additions/improvements in Tirumala (I am presuming that this is not your first trip to Tirumala)?
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Old 19th March 2009, 10:40   #3
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Good report, Abhi. And the pics too.

The roads look very inviting.
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Old 19th March 2009, 11:08   #4
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Good one there Abhi. You Satyamites will be blessed for sure. Enjoy
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Old 19th March 2009, 11:14   #5
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What is Rs50 ticket which needs to be purchased. I think it was not there when I went 2 years back. Only people with ticket are allowed to have darshan
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Old 19th March 2009, 11:51   #6
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another satyamite seeking virtual blessings from the almighty via this travelogue
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Old 19th March 2009, 11:59   #7
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Hey Satyamites, Wishing you all the best. That was a very interesting travelogue. I too will be driving to Tirupathi during the summer.

Last edited by chaxy : 19th March 2009 at 12:00.
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:06   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aka_iitd View Post
What is Rs50 ticket which needs to be purchased. I think it was not there when I went 2 years back. Only people with ticket are allowed to have darshan
There are two types of darshan. one is free entry, called sarvadharshanam, which generally takes more time. another type is sudharsana darshan, where the tentative time of darshan will be indicated in the wrist band. the cost is Rs 50. sarvadarshan people have to wait in the complexes while sudharshan token holders can directly report at the entrance on the indicated time and the darshan can be finished within 2 hours.

anohter type is special early morning darshans everyday.these are called Seva. sevas starts at 2.30 am or 3.30 am and closed at 6.00am. the lord is decorated with flowers depending on the type of seva. entry ticket for these sevas are around Rs 200. the waiting period in the queue will be less than an hour.

TTD has information centres in major cities one can easily book their type of darshan and seva well in advance.
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:09   #9
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Nice travelogue & pics Abhi - car is gleaming as usual
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aka_iitd View Post
What is Rs50 ticket which needs to be purchased. I think it was not there when I went 2 years back. Only people with ticket are allowed to have darshan
Many of you may not be aware of this facility. All you have to do go to TTD office next to Chowdiah Hall near Sankey Tank and get your e ticket for 2 or 3 time slots available everyday for any day you wish. Your finger print & photo are scanned and fed into system . You need to go and join the queue at that specified time at the temple and show your ticket. Your darshan should not take more than 2 hours. There are only limited tickets available for each time slot (around 1500). You can book these tickets quite in advance by paying Rs.50 per head, this includes 2 free laddus.

Note all the persons who plan to visit should be present while purchasing these tickets.
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:25   #11
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@Abhi: Nice Travelogue! It would help anyone who intends to visit Tirumala. Thanks for sharing.

P.S: I didn't knew that you are from Satyam, I am an ex Satyamite.
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benkey2 View Post
There are two types of darshan. one is free entry, called sarvadharshanam, which generally takes more time.
-------
TTD has information centres in major cities one can easily book their type of darshan and seva well in advance.
@Benkey2, that's very comprehensive. Sudharsana darshan system is a great concept - though its not new, it is amazing that they successfully implemented it at Tirumala where all sorts of "by passing the rules" takes place.
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Old 19th March 2009, 13:17   #13
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akroy:
It was a neat & crisp travelogue. 19+ mileage for a petrol car is too good. Whether the slow down/recession is good or bad, it gives us some leisure time to enjoy our personal life.
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Old 19th March 2009, 13:56   #14
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kreddy This is good option but problem is person should be there while purchasing the ticket. May be not a good option if someone want to take their parents but they are not there. Yes it avoid black marketing
I remember we used to get these bands also once you reach there rather than taking it from here. Is this discontinued.
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Old 19th March 2009, 14:15   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aka_iitd View Post
kreddy This is good option but problem is person should be there while purchasing the ticket. May be not a good option if someone want to take their parents but they are not there. Yes it avoid black marketing
I remember we used to get these bands also once you reach there rather than taking it from here. Is this discontinued.
aka_iitd,

Yes I agree that it's a problem that everybody has to be there at TTD centre. These bands are available at several places in Tirupathi & Tirumala. But this is a complicated system which calculates the approximate time of darshan based on number of pilgrims visiting that day and darshan time could be at any time and not fixed time like e ticket. Last time we took e tickets for 2 pm slot , left in the morning from Bangalore and entered queue at 1 30 pm and were finished by 4 30 pm.
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