The Richest God on the planet: Tirupati Balaji
It was just a thought that occurred in my mind one day that I should visit Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh. I don`t know whether it is still in Andhra or it is now in Telengana. Not very informed person on these matters.
I boarded kerela express which was supposed to drop me at Tirupati around 9:00 pm and go late by 4 hours and I reached at around 1:00 am. It was not difficult to find an accommodation as it is a 24 hours happening place due to the mad rush to have "darshana" of the deity. I checked in to a hotel and planned to visit the temple next morning.
The mistake I made was not finding out the procedure of the darshana. I asked the hotel reception and they said there ae only two ways, one is free darshana and the other one is for rupees 300 which is to be booked online only. I went to a net store and checked out whether the online darshana is available for that day and to my surprise it was not avaialbel for coming 15 days!!! I had to take shelter of free darshana so i took the government bus service there and went up to the Tirumala mountain where the temple is located. I reached there at 11:00 am and took the prasad tokens and was moving inside when one volunteer asked me to show my card. He told me to sit in the room c-18 and that was hardly 11:00 am. I thought in some time all the people will move ahead and will have darshana of the deity soon.
After some time there were refreshments and it was being distributed for free to all. The quality of the food was excellent and it was very hygienic too. I filled my belly and just out of curiosity asked one volunteer there that when will the show move ahead and to my utter dismay I was told: 10 pm is the scheduled time. I was literally heart broken. He said the paid crowd is constantly moving and the free ones will have to wait. I was literally going out of mind and was asking Balaji why he made such a rule in the first place? Since i have faith in God and I talk to him only instead of beating around the bush.
It was really difficult to pass the time and the crowd in the room was also getting frustrated. the feel which one carries when one is going to have darshana melts away in such a long time. But anyways, there was nothing one can do except to wait. Then one volunteer came and told to all that if some one wants to go outside he can go and come back from the re entry gates. So I rushed away and had some fruits and cold drinks. Then I came back. Things are being sold at a higher rate and one can do nothing except to pay for it.
Finally, at 8:00 pm the doors were opened and we started to move ahead and had the darshana after one and half hours late. My whole heart went out in respect and devotion when the Idol was in front of me and the entire feelings came alive with which I went to have the darshana. The idol is very graceful and I can feel the energy there. There is something more than just a temple there in those mountain ranges.
When I was moving up in the bus, I was sensing lord Hauamana and Sugreeva in the mountains. I concentrated a lot and tried to think that it is all not there but the vision I was getting was so powerful that I could not believe in myself. I can now say that there is some power there which is definitely connected with Lord Hanumana and Sugreeva.
What to do and not to do:
I think you should know what not to do when you are in Tirupati. It is more important than what to do when in Tirupati:
1. Do not go for the free darshana. It is utter waste of time and patience. Although if you have time and have patience then there is no issue. you will get food to eat and Telugu bhajans to hear all day which you may or may not understand.
2. Take the online booking and after that only book your tickets by flight or train.
3. Avoid summers and prefer winters.
4. Stay near to the railway station if you are using trains for commuting. It will save a lot of time.
5. For 1000-1500 you will get a good air-conditioned accommodation for one night.
6. Always carry your aadhaar card or PAN or DL or Passport because in South India security concerns are very high and you may not get a place to stay if you do not have a proper government ID.
7. Try to go with at-least one person so that you are two in count. You will find it very difficult to get an accommodation if you are single. For some reason, these people in South India will not give you an accommodation if you are single. I could not fathom the reason behind it.
8. Do not drink or eat non veg food there. It is written in our holy scriptures that bad deeds done at holy places gives multiplied ill effects in this life time and in next lives.
9. Do donate your hair there as it is considered to be very auspicious as per the rituals and ancient beliefs.
10. Do charities and donations as per your capacity to the poor and crippled there, remember just like bad deeds will have increased ill effects, the good deeds will have increased good effects.
11. Carry an extra pair of slippers and keep them in the safe lockers as many people lose their slippers daily and there is not footwear shop atop the Tirumala ranges. I was one of the victims and I had to walk bare foot for long time and had minor injuries on my foot.
For Women folks:
When you are in south India, do have the "gajra" or the flowers on your head which will make you feel great. Watch the video to see how it is done there:
Pictography at Tirupati Balaji
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