Sunday, July 6, 2008

Balaji Darshan

A visit to the Tirumala is un raveling in terms of the organizational ability of the TTD board. The TTD board has performed wonderfully in developing the tourism network in terms of roads, accommodation, transportation ( free bus service ) management of crowd inflow, distribution of Prasadam, water management, free food, etc.

Tirumala visit can be lesson for any tourism operator in terms logistics management around 50,000 tourists on an average visit the temple. The sheer no of piligrims visiting the temple is more than 2 crores per annum. No where in the world there is a parallel for such numbers to visit a single destination year after year. There is no sign of crowd declining, the collection in terms of donation is around 600 plus crores which makes it the second highest temple after the Vatican church.

Each city has TTD booking counters to stagger the visitors according to the quota allotted for each state. One has to go to the TTD book counter and confirm their entry along with finger prints and photo being scanned, even though the technology seems a little outdated. The chances of impersonation is very limited. This eliminates black marketing which is hall mark of good management in a country which is always plagued by shortage in case of good product or service. In case of accommodation too one can get to book well in advance 30 to 60 days on line as well as TTD office. In case one does not get the facility of booking at short notice, one has to take a chance and stand in a queue at TTD central reservation office. A double room accommodation at Rs 50/- per day is quite an economy, further the entry fee for special dharsan is only 50/- per head, which has been recently raised from Rs 25 per head, one is eligible for a free Ladoo Prasad.

One gets to complete the dharsan through special entry within 2 hours standing in queue. Free dharsan will take anywhere between 2 to 4 hours depending on the rush. On Karthik poornima day one gets closest to the lord Balaji. On other days the pedestal is elevated so that everyone can get to see lord Balaji clearly. The temple fa├žade and gopuram is being fully decked with Golden roof. In view of the recent temple at Ranipet being named the golden temple, TTD authorities have woken up to making the temple more plush. Massive renovation is underway to deck up the main temple.

There are number of sight seeing places in and around Tirumala, Silathornam, an ancient fossiled rock formation is a wonderful location to visit, Papanasam is a good bathing spot, Akash ganga and Kapil teertham is a good rainfall time visit. Sivari Padam is located right on top of the peak which gives a birds eye view of the gopurams at Balaji temple complex.
Best of the shopping experience or momentous can be bought from Leepakshi Handicraft showroom, an AP govt. enterprise. Books and VCDs can be bought at TTD stalls

At Tirupathi one can visit the Padmathi temple at Manglapura, Govindaraja temple near the bus stand, Sreenevasa temple at Srinivasapura, Kapila teertha at Alipiri, Iskon temple near alipiri etc. Sri Kalahasti temple is another powerful diety which is located 40 kms away from Tirupathi.

One should not miss the Chandrigiri fort and palace which is still intact. These monuments date back to Vijayanagar empire, with a lovely view the entire Seven hills. In case the Vijaynagar empire had to survive I am sure the entire mountain ranges would have been converted to fortress and better edifices built in an around Tirupathi. Most of the temples inside the chandragiri fort have been destroyed, two temples are under salvage by the ASI department. There is beautiful sound and light show with voice of Amitabh Bachachan every night at 7 PM. This place is closed on Friday as weekly holiday. One has to make a private arrangement by auto or Taxi to visit this place, which can cost around Rs 300 plus depends on the bargaining power.

Overall a visit to tirumala is spiritually uplifting experience along with a good lot of sight seeing thrown in. There is no restriction on any caste or religion as per my knowledge. Bolo Govinda Govinda ki jai.


cannons ready to fire

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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Basically i am down to earth, take friendship to its logical end. It is my endeavour to create a wealth of co-operative ventures. Basically being a marketing man i have the acumen to spot winners. I am privileged to travel the length and breadth of the country, courtsey my father, who was with Indianoil, my employers such as Nutrine, Kurl-on, Hindustan Pencils, Prestige, Crystal, Bell Ceramics, Pentel, Sezal, Commander. Currently i am involved in Tourism, Booking Air Tickets, Agent for Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited and Taj Group of Hotels and a numerous hotels across India. Depending on the needs of a traveller i would recommend the destination and accommodation best suited to their budget. Humour takes me on. Let us have a win win situation for all. I love travelling for sake of adventure, photography and discovering the heritage. Life is a journey and let us enjoy our drive. Come share your travel experience on indiabackpacker.