We made a short trip to Tirupati in January 2017, to complete a prayer that we had.

Tirupati, the temple town in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, is about 5-6 hours of drive from Bangalore. Since we had planned to climb the hill this time, we took a cab ride.

The road from Bangalore to Tirupati is rather breezy drive, cutting across Kolar and Chitoor. After crossing the perpetually jammed KR Puram crossing in Bangalore, it is a neat 4 lane drive all the way to AP state border.

Since we had started early, we stopped for an early brunch shortly after Kolar, at a new Highway rest stop with a Maiyas (opposite the Adigas, another popular restaurant). The Maiyas restaurant provided a simple yet sumptuous fare of dosas and idlis. Further the new mall had clean restrooms and plenty of play space and pets for M (fishes, birds and ducks!). Don’t recall the full name, but would recommend this stop to any traveler on this route.

The road narrows after the AP border closer to Chitoor and is also heavy with commercial lorry traffic. We reached Tirupati in the early afternoon. After lunch and rest, we headed to a popular temple in town (not the main temple) called Alamelu Mangapuram. Had a rather crowded line, but was a rather beautiful temple, and M was rewarded with large ‘ladoos’ to gorge on, and a handle full of colorful bangles.

Next day was our trip up the Tirumala hill to see the main diety. We started post breakfast, and decided to take shorter Srivari Mettu route to the climb. Since had a little one to take along, we thought it would be prudent. The Srivari Mettu route starts at a distance of 20 kms away from the Tirupati town, and is closer to the Chandragiri fort.

The route has a distance of only about 2.1 kms, but is a rather steep climb at places with about 2300+ steps. However, it is very well paved and has vendors selling food and drink periodically. M loved the climb up, and herself climbed up almost 2000 of the steps! Goaded by her enthusiasm, the rest of us also climbed up without much rest in between. Still, it did take us about 3 hours to cover the distance.

Atop Tirumala, we had lunch at the Saarangi restaurant – a good dine, but with spicy food.

We had made pre-bookings online for an evening Seva (learning from a previous visit, where we had realized that an online booking is the best way to avoid the crazy crowds), and landed up just in time. Called the “Sahasra Deepalankarana Seva“, it is conducted at about 5.30 PM each day, and is a beautiful event where the Lord’s idol is celebrated on a swing, with chants and melodious songs. Since it is conducted outside the main temple, the crowd is much less as well.

After the Seva, we headed in to join the long queue into the main temple. This is, of course, where the crowds really converge. Took us over an hour to get into the main temple and pay our obeisance and say our prayers.

After the prayers, we drove downhill to fill our growling stomachs. It is interesting that they levy steep fines on vehicles that speed down hill and cover the 12+ kilometer distance in less than 45 minutes – tracked through a well managed technology system.

The Rainbow restaurant at the Fortune hotel is a great dine. Clearly has the best food we ever ate in the trip, but is equally expensive.

The day after, on our way out of Tirupati, we took a brief detour to cover the Tirupati Zoo. M loves zoos, and as a result we have been to zoos in almost every city or country that we have taken her along. The Tirupati zoo is close to the Alipiri gate of Tirumala, and is clearly one of the best zoos in the country. It is one of the few zoos in India which is allows one to drive through the entire length of the zoo. The area is rather large, and the animals seem happy and healthy (unlike the Bannerghatta in Bangalore, a disappointment for us). The White tigers were a special attraction, with 4 small cubs jumping all over their mother. While most visit Tirupati for a religious trip, the zoo is a gem – would recommend everyone with a kid in tow to definitely visit it.

All in all, a great visit for the grown-ups (as M puts it) and the kiddo.

vasantvTravelsIndia,temple,tirupati,travel,zooWe made a short trip to Tirupati in January 2017, to complete a prayer that we had. Tirupati, the temple town in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, is about 5-6 hours of drive from Bangalore. Since we had planned to climb the hill this time, we took a cab ride. The...Cataloging a wonderful world