So, I’m finally in Tirupati after 14 long years. The last time I had come was for my sacred thread ceremony.
Last time, I had taken a much simpler route too. Mumbai to Renigunta in Chennai Express; Renigunta to Tirupati by bus. This time, though, I found all tickets booked. By chance on Indian Railway’s website I found a train to Tirupati that had many seats empty. This was Haripriya Express from Kolhapur to Tirupati/Hyderabad.
So, I took the night Volvo (Rs. 630) to Belgaum, where the train halts – Belgaum is a night’s journey from Mumbai. The bus leaves from Borivali at 6.00 p.m. But I suggest you catch the same bus from Sion at 9.30 p.m.! The journey on the whole was pretty comfortable, but 600 bucks is a bit steep – in comparison, the train ticket from Belgaum to Tirupati is worth Rs. 281 (Second Class Sleeper).
The bus reached Belgaum at 5.30 a.m., half n hour before its scheduled arrival. Though I didn’t travel around much, Belgaum seems like a charming old town with a pleasant weather. The train arrived on time and I was on my way to Tirupati.
After reaching Tirupati, I took an autorickshaw to the University Guest House where a room was booked for me (sorry no details on hotels in Tirupati this time).
I had a look at the Tirumala mountains – the first one of the seven… on the top of the seventh mountain is the Venkateshwara Temple. The view was breathtaking and vindicated my theory – humans build temples wherever nature awes them.
I feel a bit sad now that I can’t fit Tirumala into my schedule. It’s going to be pretty hectic down here in Tirupati and I am leaving tomorrow for Bangalore. Until then Lord Venkateshwara accept my prayers from down here.