Keeping my ear on the rail, i can hear the train coming. A long train. With no breaks. And its coming fast. Chugging away to glory. I realise that before i get on to it, i must do a few things. Well, thats the feeling that i have !
Inbetween jobs, I was at Tirupathi.
When the plans were afoot to get there, i discussed it with friends. And got some wonderful insights. Raghuvir told me that that the Lord Venkateshwara is an income tax assesse & perhaps has a pan number !! And Tirupathi is the second richest place of worship in the world. Second, only to the Vatican !
I was also told that the best way to avoid long and serpentine 4-5 hour queues is to take the AAD darshan arranged through APSRTC ( Andhra Pradhesh State Road Transport Corporation). It costed us Rs. 1000/- per head. (An air-conditioned Volvo bus journey will cost Rs.350/- extra, but we arent comfortable with them(air-conditioned buses). The journey starts from Bangalore at 7.30 PM. (sharp). Reaches Tirupathi by 1.30 in the morning.
They give you a room & an hour and fifteen minutes of time to frehsen up. At 2.45 am (sharp) they ferry you to Tirumala. 4.15 A.M you you are in the queue. And by 5.30 AM you are out after your darshan of the lord. The space , scope, belief levels and sheer energy of the place is something to experience.
Young & old. Rich & poor. Healthy & otherwise. Stingy & lavish. Show stoppers & commoners. Policemen. Shopkeepers. Housewives. Newly weds. Tonsured Heads. Long hairs. Bare chested. Tommy Hilfigers. Illiterates. PhDs. Abishek, Aishwarya, Amitabh Bachan, Anil Ambani. Me & my wife. All have visited Tirupati !
The sheer manitude of the thronging masses is electrifying to me. And by the way, i have prayed for you too ! ( No kidding !) And no you dont have to forward this ip address to 10 people to get blessings..!!
And we were back home at 4.00 PM after stopping by at Padmavati temple, breakfast and lucnh! I would say it is a very good option to go on the Archanantara Darsanam (AAD) & say hello to the lord early in the morning !
Its a little tiring. ( I would imagine that it would be a tougher ask on kids & toddlers). The bus doesnt play irritating music / movie until the return journey, which is bearable. The rooms, clean as they are, can be better, especially if you arent used to the Indian style toilets.
Contact numbers to book for the AAD is (just in case you are interested): (080) 22383361.
That was that.
In a couple of hours from now, i am going home. (Thats the song too). Home to Madurai. For five days. I am looking forward to this trip. I need to get back to the basics !
Wish me luck.