I had been to Tirupati for the first time in life (yes, the first time) during a long week end starting Good Friday 2007. I went with my colleagues and had a wonderful time around. But the heat was unbearable and we were happy we werent staying there any longer. We had booked our darshan time 3 weeks prior from Bangalore itself. So we had not much of trouble getting over with the darshan. But still my mind asks the question – What strange drive does a simple rock formation have that draws thousands of devotees everyday from the world over to the temple literally 24/7!! And they do it not once or twice, but its in their quarterly or yearly calendar to make this trip. Strange isnt it. Not so for them all.
The Tirumala temple resides in a small valley atop a hilly region and has a very good ambience if there wasnt so much popluation and noise. Now buses ply right to the entrance to the temple but its considered sacred to actually climb the way up the hill.So we decided that we had the energy to climb the 4000 steps. Although it was not a cake walk, since we started at 3AM, the climb was pleasant. Doing that in the afternoon sun would be impossible. Even then, the path is actually painted white so that one could walk on it even if the sun was beating down on the ground. The advantage of this, one will realise only when he tries to walk on a black tar road that has been open to the infrared rays of the sun for a coupla hours. We reached the top, collected our luggage which was transported up the hill by the temple authorities free of cost, had breakfast, decided to book a room in the Karnataka Bhavan instead of the Tirumala Temple rooms which had a long queue.
The Tirupati area is full of temples and visiting all of them would easily take a month. We visited another 2 commonly visited ones and actually slept in the temple as we had checked out of our rooms. The best part was that we went into an AC hotel for lunch, and to beat the heat, we did as much timepass in the hotel as we could before they threw us out. So all in all, a pretty cool trip – in the hot scorching summer.
Photos at: TirupatiTrip