Complete guide to Tirumala Tirupati
India is the land of cultures and people from all over the world admire the different cultures this country holds with it. The land of Gods and the pure rivers, India holds a unique aspect with it separating it from the rest of the world. India is also famous for its amazing architecture which is usually seen in the temples situated all over India. One such temple is the Tirupati Balaji Temple, situated in the Chittoor district of Andra Pradesh. This temple is devoted to lord Vishnu who is known as the preserver of humanity in Hindu sculptures and texts.
The temple of Tirupati Balaji is situated in the Tirumala mountain ranges in the small town of Tirumala and hence this place is known as “Tirumala Tirupati”. One of the most famous places of the Hindus, this temple maintains a record of having around 60 thousand to 80 thousand devotees visiting the temple daily. Because of this reason, the darshan at the temple is somewhat time taking so it is suggested to reserve a complete day for visiting Tirumala Tirupati.
The best time to visit Tirumala Tirupati can be from November to March since at this time the weather is quite cool and helps to cope with the extreme crowd at the temple. Although devotees keep coming to the temple 12 months a year.
In this blog, we will guide you with in-depth knowledge of how you can reach Tirumala Tirupati and successfully do the darshan of Lord Vishnu. This article contains every minute detail which you need to know when visiting Tirumala and which will help you to ease your darshan at the temple.
How to Reach Tirumala Balaji?
People from all over India visit this amazing temple no matter how tough the journey might be.
The major cities that lie nearest to the town of Tirumala are Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.
You can reach Tirupati Balaji from your destination via train. There are two railway junctions near the Tirupati temple:
- Tirupati Railway Junction which is about 21 km away from the Tirupati Balaji temple.
- Renigunta Railway Junction is about 34 km away from the Tirupati Balaji temple.
After reaching any of the above railway junctions you can take a bus or car at your convenience to reach directly at the temple.
The cost of both bus and car from these railway junctions to the temple are as mentioned:
Bus: Rs 100/person
Car: Rs 800-Rs 1000/person (Four-seater)
Although, since these two railway stations are quite small, very few trains reach here directly. So, if you are someone coming from a far-off place you can choose to reach one of the major cities around Tirumala including Chennai, Bangalore, or Hyderabad.
Mentioned below is the approximate time taken to reach Tirupati Balaji from these cities:
Chennai Railway Junction -> Tirupati Balaji Temple (133 km): 3-4 hours
Bangalore Railway Junction -> Tirupati Balaji Temple (246 km): 5-6 hours
Hyderabad Railway Junction -> Tirupati Balaji Temple (562 km): 10-12 hours
If you are coming to Tirumala via Chennai then you can take the Bus service APSRTC to reach the Tirupati Temple. This bus journey costs between Rs 150-Rs 250.
Although the nearest railway station from the temple is Tirupati Railway Junction and if any train reaches directly to this junction it is suggested to take that train.
You can also reach Tirupati Balaji via flight at the nearest airport called the Tirupati International Airport. But since the airport is quite small only a few flights land here and in such a scenario you can take a flight to the Chennai Airport and then take a bus or car to reach the Tirupati Balaji Temple.
Hotels & Lodging
As soon as you reach Tirupati, you can easily find a lot of hotel rooms available near the temple, bus stand, and railway station. Since the railway station is quite far from the temple, it is suggested to take a room nearest to the temple.
The cost of a room at Tirumala can range between Rs 600-Rs 1000.
Along with this, the Tirumala Tirupati temple also has arrangements for a good and safe stay for devotees near the temple. The rooms are available within the temple premises ranging between Rs 100 to Rs 500 (2 Beds). To avail of this facility, you can book the rooms in advance online from the website of Tirumala.
There are several other facilities provided by the temple, which can be checked upon and availed from the official website of the temple.
Hair Donation at Tirumala Tirupati
Most people offer to donate their hair at the Tirumala Tirupati temple. The hairs are donated as an offering and as a sign of removing one’s ego before going to the gates of the almighty.
If you want to donate your hair at Tirumala, you can find this service available inside the temple premises where barbers are available to shave heads.
You can choose to get a haircut or complete shave (mundane) and accordingly take a token to donate your hair.
Timings of Tirupati Balaji Temple
Tirupati Balaji is one of the most highly visited temples in India and due to this reason the temple is open for devotees for about 18 hours a day, whereas on peak days when there is a maximum number of devotees visiting the temple, the timings are increased to about 20 hours in a day. Thus, you can visit the temple at almost any time of the day. Though the temple has different openings durations each day which can be checked either on their website or through a chart available at the temple.
How to do Darshan at Tirupati Balaji?
The temple of Tirupati Balaji holds thousands of devotees each day and in addition to this, there is an extreme increase in the count of devotees when there is a peak season. Thus to make arrangements for the successful darshan of Lord Tirupati, there are some specific darshan types made at the Tirupati temple.
Before going to the Tirupati Balaji temple, it is a ritual to get the darshan of Varaha Swamy. The temple of Varaha Swamy is situated inside the temple premises, just close to the Tirupati Balaji temple.
No cameras, phones, or electronic items are allowed inside any temple including Varaha Swamy temple and Tirupati Balaji Temple.
At Tirumala Tirupati, darshan is divided into 4 different categories for people to choose from. These categories are known as Sarvdarshan (darshan for everyone), Divya Darshan, Special Entry Darshan/Sheegra Darshan, and Senior Citizen/Divyang darshan.
We will now let you know about every kind of darshan in detail so that you can decide the category through which you want to visit the temple.
Sarvdarshan (Darshan for everyone)
The first category through which you can do the darshan of Lord Tirupati is the Sarvdarshan category which also means “darshan for everyone”. This is the general category of the darshan. Here you just need to line up in the queue and wait for your turn to reach the idol of Lord Vishnu. Although this is one of the most time taking categories. In this category, you will have to pay nothing nor there is any special requirement to be a part of it.
The Sarvdarshan category is generally heavily crowded and can it can take up to 10 hours for you to get the darshan of Lord Tirupati. On peak days of the season, this duration can exceed even more. Although daily thousands of devotees do darshan through this category only since it is free of cost and the easiest method.
The next category to get the darshan of Lord Tirupati Balaji is the Divya Darshan category. This category means reaching the lord through some hardships or hard work. To stand in the Divya darshan category, you need to reach the temple by doing a trek on the mountain of Tirumala. This is a completely different path from the Sarvdarshan category and is generally not suggested for old age people or heart patients.
The trek to Tirupati Balaji is about 9 km long and includes a lot of stairs as well.
If you want to do the darshan through the Divya darshan category then you need to reach Alipiri, a place from where you can start your trek. To reach Alipiri, you can directly take a bus from the railway station. There is also a free luggage counter at Alipiri where you can drop your luggage and immediately start the trek if you wish to.
Note: This category is a quite tough one to do and so it is suggested not to choose this category if you are an old aged person or a heart patient.
The trek of Alipiri is generally chosen by those who decided to visit Tirumala after the post-completion of a wish they dearly desired. And thus, it is a ritual to complete their word after their wish has been fulfilled.
Special Entry Darshan (Sheeghra Darshan)
“Sheeghra” is the Hindi word for quick and thus it can be understood by the name of the category what it is. The special entry or sheeghra darshan is the third category to get the darshan of Lord Tirupati. In this category, you need to purchase a token for yourself and then be a part of a comparatively small queue than the Sarvdarshan category which will help you to get the darshan in very less duration.
To be a part of the Special Entry Darshan you need to buy a token. The cost of the token/ticket is Rs 300 per person.
You can book this ticket/token either by reaching the temple on the spot or a much more convenient and suggested method is to do an advanced booking online through the official website of Tirumala temple. The advanced bookings are done almost a month before you visited the temple, so make sure you take your slot at the correct time.
Senior Citizen/Divyang Category
The last category through which you can get the darshan of Lord Tirupati is the one applicable if you are a senior citizen or a physically challenged person. This category is reserved for people who cannot withstand the heavy crowd at the Tirumala Tirupati temple. So, if you are a person above the age of 65 or if you are someone who has a disability of any kind then you must prefer going through this category to get the darshan of Tirupati Balaji.
To get the darshan through this category you will have to book a ticket for yourself which is free. You will have to get this ticket from the Baikunthdham queue complex.
You will be needing an ID proof, or your disability certificate/proof to register yourself for the darshan.
You can book your ticket from 7 a.m. each day. There are two slots available for darshan whose timings are from 10:00 am and the other one at 3:00 pm. Although, these two slots are available every day except Friday and Wednesday when there is only one available at 3:00 pm.
Note: There are only 1400 tickets for this category. So, you must get yourself registered before the tickets are finished for a particular day.
In this manner, you can do the darshan easily even if you cannot afford to deal with the huge crowd at the temple.
Total Cost & Expenses
The trip to Tirumala can be a budget-friendly one since it doesn’t include many luxuries and unwanted spending.
This can be your estimated spending on your trip to Tirumala Tirupati.
Hotel: Rs 600
Food: Rs 300
Special Entry Ticket: Rs 300
Transport: Rs 500
Total: Rs 1700
In addition to the above expenses, there can be the Prashad or Prasadam which costs Rs 50/laddu.
You can also take complete packages from the Srinivasa Complex which lies opposite APSRTC. These packages are provided by the temple and cost around Rs 250. The package will include the darshan of several other temples situated around Tirupati Balaji.
We end this guide here hoping to have helped you in every aspect of queries related to Tirumala Tirupati. The trip to Tirupati Balaji is affordable in terms of money. The only thing which stops people is the time and heavy crowd for which the temple is famous.
But by following this guide, you now can easily get the darshan of Lord Vishnu in a quick time frame.
We hope for your safe journey to Tirumala Tirupati.