This is the booking for god darshin , God of venkataswBrahmotsavam of Lord Venkateswara is the most magnificent festival of the temple of Lord Venkateswara, the Lord of seven hills. Same epithet Brahma
is the glory and rightly attracts a large number of pilgrims from all over the country, a picturesque hill in the transformation process in Kaliyuga Vaikuntha , heaven on earth.
The timings of the BLR-TPTY bus packages are odd. We had a pick-up bus at 7:15pm on Road and we changed to the main Volvo bus at main bus depot around 9:00pm. We got some parcel food and that worked out well. The multi-axle Volvo bus is highly regarded in the industry for its smooth ride. It is a 5 to 6 hour ride where one needs to sleep and so the bus is a big factor. The ride and roads were smooth, and the driver did a good job as well. The seats were designed like airline seats and were well-cushioned and comfortable. There was good back & neck support. However the tilt/angle was strangely less-comfortable for a long ride than one would expect. The seats reclined quite a lot but full reclines caused problems to the person behind. Seat was a little cramped for big/tall people. It was however better than a car, and we managed to recline and sleep. The AC worked well. It had rained and it was humid and warm even at night. There is a small luggage rack on top, and also a hold below. There was also a water bottle holder which was useful. The tour guys provided a large water bottle, snacks, and (clean) airline-like blankets. People joined at one or two intermediate points. It was a good mix of friendly travelers in the group, with a larger-than-expected proportion of young guys, thanks to the IT industry. We left our town at about 9pm, and the lights were dimmed for people to sleep and there was a curtain blocking headlights from the front. We had a rest stop around midnight just after the border, and reached Tirupati at about 2:30am. Our destination was the 7 Hills hotel. We got assigned to 2 small rooms (for 4 people). The room was very small, but neat and clean, and designed for short stops. We had 30 minutes to take a bath. Had a ceiling fan but no AC, but did not need one. There was hot water and a clean western-style toilet. After the bath, we all filed into a dining hall (chairs, no tables) for a complimentary buffet-style south-Indian breakfast (at about 3am!). The food was fairly good but not all would be hungry at this time. Then we put all our luggage in the hold of the Volvo bus, took a small bag and boarded a local bus for the uphill trip to Tirumala. It is a nice 45 minute ride at about 4am in the morning on a way to a temple!
At Tirumala, we went to a designated shop no. 93 where we deposited footwear, cameras/mobiles (got a small handwritten receipt). No mobiles/cameras are allowed in the temple, and so we missed a chance to take photos outside the temple. Walking barefoot in Tirumala is not that bad. The queue complex is behind & left of the temple. We walked past the temple to our Sheegra Darshan queue entry point. We learned that waiting times are unpredictable, and I think we had a medium wait of about 1.5 to 2 hours before darshan at about 9am. For most of the time, it was a very well-behaved queue. One person said that a govt tour operator might have a little more clout and could have their group enter a little earlier and wait less. But we did not see evidence of people entering the queue earlier. The queue wound thru special facilities and it was difficult to know one’s exact location. But it is all pre-arranged and one simply needs to move along. Water and biscuits are handy (esp for kids) since the wait can be long. Towards the end of the wait, people started pushing and had to hold up smaller kids. We had a good darshan, and we forgot all the wait after the major collective darshan experience. Our tour guide had collected all the laddoos (2 per person/ticket). There is no time to get additional laddoos at the TTDC counter but can be gotten from the souvenir shop (Rs 50).
After Balaji darshan, we collected our footwear/mobiles and bought souvenirs. The shops were reasonable. Then the local bus took us down the hill (45 minutes, many hairpin turns) to the Padmavathi temple in Tirupati. It was about 12:00 noon by the time we reached there. The guide collected money for the tickets (Rs. 100 per adult, children free, one laddoo per ticket, some people stayed in the bus). We left footwear in the bus and this barefoot walk was worse than Tirumala since it is a public road, which was hot and more rough/dirty. There was only a small queue for our ticket, but it was moderately crowded. After this darshan, the bus took us back to the same 7 Hills hotel. We had a complimentary buffet-style south-Indian lunch in the same dining hall. Food was again quite good, spicy for kids but normal by Andhra standards. There are also cold drinks and ice-cream available for purchase. We could use the clean, western-style toilets in one of the rooms. Then we boarded the Volvo bus for BLR. We stopped at the same rest stop at about 3pm, and reached the Tin Factory stop in east Bangalore at about 5:30pm. We got good advice from fellow travelers and got off there and took a 500-series Volvo bus (Rs. 65, 1 hour, comfortable, not crowded, got seats) from there to Silk Board. Going to the last stop at Majestic and then finding another transportation would have added about 2 to 3 hours since it was rush hour. We were pleased to learn that the Infinity mall with its food court and clean bathrooms was near the Tin Factory bus stop (needed to take an auto who charged a high rate of Rs 40 for the short 1 km ride but was worth it).