Tirumala, Tiruchanoor, Vellore and Sripuram.

Tirumala, Tiruchanoor, Vellore, Sripuram, Golden temple, Tirupati, TTD, Krishnagiri fort, vellore fort, Jalakanteshwara

Parkinson’s Law goes something like "Work expands to fill up all available time" and so it had been for the last couple of months. With work often spilling over into the weekends, we had not gone out for any serious long drive after our Hoysala Temple trip in March 09. It was also around two years since our last trip to Tirumala and we decided that our next long drive was going to be to the 7 hills.

A couple of weeks before our trip, we visited the TTD center in Malleshwaram to get a darshan slot for a weekend and we got one for 3pm on Saturday 23rd May. Till around a week before the trip, it was still not sure if we would be going ahead… but finally things fell into place and we made the trip!

Since I heard that the normal route via Kolar (old Madras road) is in quite a bad shape due to the 4 laning work, we decided to take the better but significantly longer route via Hosur road, Vellore, Chittoor and thereafter to Tirupati.

We also included the Vellore-Sripuram Golden temple & the Vellore fort into our itinerary on the return leg of our trip.

Travel dates: 23rd & 24th May 09
Total distance on trip meter: 727kms

Route map:

Some quick pointers:
[1] You can get your darshan bookings done from the TTD office in Malleshwaram (Address provided below).
[2] The timings of the office are 9.00am to 4.00pm (1pm to 2pm lunch break), Tuesday Holiday.
[3] TTD accommodation at Tirumala can also be reserved from here or just check around once you reach Tirumala. Else, there are plenty of places to stay in Tirupati.
[4] The Old Madras road > Chittoor > Tirumala (Approx 280 Kms) route is shorter than the Hosur road > Vellore > Chittoor > Tirumala (Approx 350 Kms) route.
[5] 4 laning work is underway on the OMR route, check with anyone who has done that route recently for route conditions; else the Vellore route is a safer bet.

TTD Information Centre
16th Cross, Vyalikavel
Bangalore – 560 003
(This is on the same road as the Chowdiah Memorial Hall)

* If you are planning to book darshan timings at the TTD office, all the members planning to visit Tirumala need to be present in person while booking, since all pilgrims are finger printed and a photo taken on a web-cam; the photo is cross verified in the darshan queue.

Started off from Old Airport road at around 7.30am on the 23rd and reached Hosur road quite fast, thanks to the light traffic.

The Hosur road elevated toll road is just a few months away from completion… (Edit: The elevated toll road has been open for traffic since Feb 2010)

First pit stop, after Hosur…

Though the Hosur road route may be longer, the average speeds are much better, so the time differential may be Tirumala Tirupati Tiruchanoor Vellore/143721D1.jpg” />

The Krishnagiri fort…

And we reached Vellore…

The Vellore > Chittoor road is a two lane state highway. Almost no potholes…

The Chittoor > Tirupati road…

And we reached Tirupati…

Near Alipiri…

Follow the sign-boards to take a left turn from the Alipiri gate to reach the vehicle security check area. A quick check and we were cleared…

Just after the Alipiri gate, looks like a new security check point & toll collection plaza is being built here…

There have been quite a few improvements to the Tirumala ghat road since the last time we drove up. Some of the hair-pin turns have been smoothened; the gradient after the turns has been reduced at many places…

Our reporting time was at 3.00pm and we reached Tirumala by 2.30pm. Parked the car and joined the queue. Though the crowd was probably quite reasonable, the unnecessary pushing was not. Some irate words were exchanged in the queue without improving the situation.

Eventually we completed darshan and were out of the temple by around 5.30pm and decided to drive down to our next destination, Tiruchanoor, which is around 8 Kms from Tirupati.

Some pics on the way down…

A pic at the deer park near one of the places where the foot path to Tirumala cross the road.

Right after the pic above, I somehow managed to drop the camera and the lens assembly was bent out of alignment. So no pics from Tiruchanoor.

Anyway, Tiruchanoor was another ‘crowd’ experience, with people falling over each other to get the special darshan tickets. The temple opened at around 7.00pm that evening and the irony was that the Rs.40 ‘special darshan’ queue was much longer than the ‘Free darshan’ queue. So we switched queues and we were in and out by around 8.00pm.

Our plan was to halt overnight at my uncle’s place in Chittoor and proceed further the next day. Reached Chittoor by around 10.00pm, had dinner, caught up a little on the T20 match and hit the bed.

With only Vellore on our itinerary next, we woke up late, had a leisurely breakfast and I even managed to get the camera back into action with a few whacks to get the lens assembly back into track. Though there are some dents and bent metal on the camera, it is working fine!

We left Chittoor at around 11.30am and reached Vellore by around 1.00pm. Road conditions are pretty good and the distance is around 40kms…

Sadly, no photos are allowed at the Golden temple. The photos below are from the temple website Golden temple – Amma – Welcome to the official site of Sripuram.

Got into the queue and it was a loooonnnng walk along the winding path in the campus. Quite a grandiose construction, with a campus spread over 100 acres, landscaped gardens etc., the temple is worth visiting. I would have preferred to visit the place late in the evening when the temple is lit up with flood lights…

Road widening is going on the approach roads to the temple and the situation was quite messy…



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