The Spiritual travel in India will be incomplete without the mention of Tirupati. The temple is located in the south of India. It is the temple of Lord Venkateshwara. It is located in the Chittor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is very well connected to many major cities. This shows the importance of the temple. It is about five hundred and fifty kilometres from Hydrabad. From Bangalore it is about two hundred and fifty kilometres. From Chennai it is closest about one hundred and fifty kilometres. You can take a train from these cities to Tirumala else you can also drive down as the road is good. There are trains from Mumbai too. The station in Tirupati is a big one with about five platforms. The plan is to add few more in future. Recently Tirupati has got an airport too. Many flights from various cities land there. This is exactly why you can also look at air as an option to visit Tirupati. Spice Jet has recently launched a packaged deal to Tirupati.
You will be surprised to know that it draws millions of devotees from all parts of the world. It is the busiest temple in the whole world. Everyday a huge number of people come to the city and visit the temple of Lord Venkateshwara. The temple is located in the Tirumala Mountains. It is proved that these mountains are the second oldest mountain in the world. The temple dates back to the fifth century A.D. Tirupati is one of the most well protected religious sites in the world. The temple survived two invasions from Muslims and two from British. This shows how powerful this shrine is. It is said that if you give ten rupees in this temple you will get thousand rupees back. Many people donate silver, gold and even diamonds. The devotees say that whatever you ask for the lord gives you that. Many people take their children and shave their heads in Tirupati. The hair is also donated as an offering. Even grown up men and women go to this temple and shave their heads.
Tirupati is very hot in summers. If you are planning a visit then do keep it in winters between the months of December to February. You can also visit it in rains. This is because the mountains look very beautiful in rains. The drive to the Tirupati temple is through a dense forest. If you are lucky you can even spot some interesting animals on the way. You can manage with Hindi and English. Although Tamil and Telegu are the local languages in this area. There are many options to stay in Tirupati.
You can get anything from budget hotels to five star hotels. We would advise that you book it in advance as the bookings are always very high. There are some more places that you must visit when you go to Tirupati and those are listed here. The Padmavati temple that is dedicated to goddess Padmavati the locals say that any unmarried girl who offers puja here will get married in a year’s time. Many believe that this is true. Another temple of importance is Kondanda Rama Swamy temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman. Kapila teertham is a temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. The temple also has a beautiful waterfall. There is a zoo in Tirupati that you can visit if you have children. For the nature lovers there are some rock cut sculptures that were created by wind erosion. The sculpture includes a natural arch, a parrot, etc.
The temple is one of the richest in the country. Whoever visits this temple they offer huge money there. As a result they have appointed a team who counts the collections made in a day and accounts for it. Apart from the finance team there are other teams that work day and night to manage the temple and maintain it for the devotees. If you want to visit the temple during some festival to experience it grandeur then you must visit it during Vaikunta Ekadasi, Rama Navami, Janmashtami, etc. The biggest festival of all is the Brahmotsava. This happens in September. In a week’s time about a million people visit the temple in these days. This happens in September. In February every year a festival called Rathasapthami is celebrated. In this festival the idol of Lord Venkateshwara is taken around the temple in a chariot. This too attracts a lot of devotees.
If you want to buy souvenirs from here then you can pick up red wooden toys. You can also buy statues made of brass and copper from here. The idol of Lord Venkateshwara is also a good buy. The temple is opened most of the time. Even at night. The Lord Venkateshwara is given rest for only half an hour. In spite of this rush the temple is maintained very well and cleanliness is given a lot of importance here. No camera or cell phones are allowed inside the temple. If you are carrying one you will have to leave it at the locker. The security check is very tight. Almost the whole dome of the temple is made of gold. No wonder it is the richest temple in India.
You have two options to visit the Tirupati temple. Either you can walk the stairs that start from the foot of the mountains and go up to the temple. Else you can just walk in. The devotees who walk up the mountain get fast darshan as they are the privileged ones. Some walk all night for Darshan. At various points in these steps water is provided to the devotees. The ones who come directly have to wait in a long queue. You have to be prepared to wait in the queue for at least three to four hours minimum. Sometimes the wait can be as long as twelve hours. If you are with a senior citizen or with a person who cannot walk you can take a wheel chair. The wait at Tirupati darshan is the longest in India. Yet people visit the temple in large numbers. It is said that whatever you ask for here comes true.
There is a morning Aarti Darshan that you will have to book in advance. It is called the VIP darshan. The tickets start from around five thousand rupees. If you book this then you can go for the early morning darshan where the door is closed and the devotees inside can enjoy the aarti of Lord Venkateshwara. You can book these from the official site of the temple. The bookings must be done months in advance. There are many more sevas that you can select from as per your wish. At the end of the darshan you will be given a prasad which is mostly laddu. You can also buy these yummy laddu from the stores that sale the prasad.
I hope we have given you all the information that you might need in case you are visiting the holy shrine of Tirupati. It is one of the most important and celebrated spiritual travel locations in the country. Each and everyone must visit this temple and get blessed with the divine blessings of the lord.