When you think of Tirupati, what comes to your mind? The swirling masses of humanity and the intense aura of devotion surrounding the place? You’re not far off the mark.
Tirupati, the abode of Lord Venkateshwara, is one of the holiest pilgrim centers in India, attracting devotees and tourists from the world over. Tourist inflows, including both domestic and international, easily cross the million figure mark almost every year. Located on the 7th hill in a series of seven hills of the Eastern Ghats, Tirupati becomes a tourist magnet on festive days and weekends.
With over 50,000 tourists visiting the Tirupati temple every day, temple boarding lodges and Tirupati Hotels are usually booked well in advance, and operate at almost full occupancy every day. Some of the best hotels in Tirupati range from comfortable 3-star hotels to guest houses, hostels, and lodges to cater to travelers of all hues.
So before you set off on a spiritual jaunt to Tirupati, keep the following travel guidelines in mind for a smooth trip and a sense of fulfillment.
- Avoid traveling on major festival dates
Thinking of a weekend or a holiday season to plan a trip to Tirupati? This is a big no-no. If you thought you’d have more time on hand for your darshan and some tranquil time, guess what? Zillions of others think the same way too! So, weekends, festive days, and long holidays mean the number of devotees surges almost three-fold compared to a normal day.
With such huge influx of tourists, even if you have all your bookings and accommodations sorted out, there is a high chance of long queues for ‘darshan’ in the main temple shrine. This can be quite a bummer, especially when traveling with children.
Avoid planning a trip on special festive seasons and weekends to truly experience the spiritual high offered by the shrine at Tirupati. November to March is a good time to plan a trip to Tirupati considering the relatively cooler weather compared to the harsh summer months.
- Use Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) website for ‘darshan’ tickets
Historically, Tirupati has been synonymous with heavy crowds and long queues. But with the introduction of the online ‘darshan’ ticketing facility, things are easing out eventually. The official website of TTD or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams offers online booking for various ‘darshans’ as well as ‘sevas’.
The popular sevas on offer include Archana, Ashtadala Paada Padmaarahanamu, Kalyanotsavamu, Nijapaada Darsanamu, and even Visesha Pooja. The Tirupati ‘darshan’ online ticket costs Rs. 300 and can be booked a minimum of 1 day in advance to a maximum of 14 days.
You can also book darshan tickets online for physically challenged and senior citizens along with ‘divya darshan’ allowing you to bypass the long queue when on arrival for the elderly or those with any physical challenge.
3: Book travel and accommodation well in advance
Tirupati has a host of accommodation options for all kinds of travelers. From rooms to cottages and guest houses offered by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanamss to private hotels and lodges, you have a virtual smorgasbord of stay options.
A budget traveler? No sweat. You can make use of the free dormitories offered by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams and book the same online as per your travel dates.
4: Leave your gadgets behind
In today’s world of technology and digital information, traveling without your Smartphone or tablet may seem unthinkable. But when traveling to Tirupati, it is better to leave them behind in your hotel. The temple complex in Tirupati has a strict “no electronic gadgets” regulation and all such items must be deposited at the designated counters in the temple complex.
Avoid the long queues for deposit and subsequent withdrawals of your electronic gadget and phone—you’re better off traveling without your gadgets and seek pure bliss minus any social media posts or likes.
5: Strictly Follow the ‘Not to do’ List when in Tirupati
Tirupati is one of the most crowded pilgrimage centers and even with so much of management and online bookings there is still a chance that you may find yourself jostling for space amid fervent crowds. Leave all that heavy-duty bling or expensive jewelry at home or your hotel to avoid any loss or accidental slippage.
Alcohol, intoxicants, and non-vegetarian food are banned in the city of Tirupati!
Traveling to Tirupati can be both liberating and adventurous provided you plan well, book your darshan tickets in advance, shortlist from the many Tirupati hotels, and choose the best hotels in Tirupati as per your need.