Road Trip from Bangalore to Tirumala and The Temple of Tirupati

When you are in Bangalore, Tirupati is so close to you that you cannot miss a road trip to the city. We decided to go to visit Tirupati to the temple of Venkateswara dedicated to Vishnu. The distance of 250 kilometers does not seem like anything. After spending the night in the bus we got up and arrived at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. It is a small but very busy city, but that was not the final destination as we had to go to Tirumala.

It is on top of the mountain. Where it ends is the heavenly path illuminated by the blessed light that levitates and takes us in the form of soul and spirit to the temple of Tirumala, above Tirupati. So we just got a local bus that took us for 20 minutes like a snail climbing the hill (one of the seven that is there) above which is the temple. The journey was slow as the road wound around the edge of the mountain but the driver did not go slowly. This last trip was fun, the bus was almost empty and the driver was going at full speed. So I was bouncing like in the samba.

Once arrived at the top the bustle was very remarkable because the temple of Tirumala is the largest pilgrimage center in the world. Here many pilgrims go with hair and return bare (they give their hair to the God as an offering). In addition, it is the largest religious temple in the world (and the richest too, possibly only surpassed by the Vatican). I do not doubt that it is the place with the most pilgrims. It receives between 50,000 and 100,000 people daily and 500,000 on special dates like Ratha Saptami. I, for a change, did not read anything before going there.

The first thing we did is find a hotel or something similar to spend the night there. But after going around the only thing they offered us was two hours in a queue for a commune (which we did not see) because we were not going to wait. At about that point I began to ask myself: Why did I come?

I guess there will be yes when they gave me the options. You can go on the common and free line, which lasts about 12 hours or you can pay 300 rupees and be on the quicker queue where you wait about 3 hours. The second option did not seem so bad. After taking so many means of transport to get there I will not back off so easily.

We got in the queue in a hallway with railings until someone tells us we cannot enter with electronic things or slippers or sandals. We went to the ticket office and again queue, about 45 minutes. When we arrive, they tell us that the backpack we carry is too big and it does not fit.

After having lost about 2 hours between one thing and another, we decided to visit the temple with the backpacks and leave the site. We went to the entrance of the temple and there was a small sign to leave everything because they did not let in anything, absolutely nothing.

I get very nervous and upset with the heat. The space for the row begins to shrink and people get excited and squeeze. The passageways suddenly have no guardrails but bars that make it impossible to go forward or backward, nor to the sides. In addition, my mom taught me that I have to be clear where the emergency exits are. I did it as well but I realize that they were locked. I should have suspected.

After a long line with people singing from time to time and men carrying bags full of coins for God, we reach the temple. My guarantee of safety was to see many families with babies but at the most important moment, in front of the God, I saw a baby crying and I also wanted to cry. But people are good here. They gave water in hands that people put on their heads and they also put a smoke on our heads. There were so many people and they were on the left that we used the left hand.

How can I synthesize all this? It was a unique experience in life. It will undoubtedly be unique because I never intend to do it again. Although I must say that the visit itself is very interesting. I also recommend that if you want to do it, be prepared for the troubles as well.

That's why until then I was driving more or less. We went down the hill (this time all squeezed into the bus) and ran desperate (not a literal expression). Rather we crawled and this is almost literal and we took a rickshaw for just 50 meters) to an AC restaurant because we needed AC and needed a bath. When we wanted to go back they told us there was no AC bus until 8.30 (it was 4).

By some strange logic at the time of more heat, there is no bus with air conditioning. It's okay, I said to myself, I can, I told myself. We expected some buses but they were already full. They offered us another bus and we said no because it was more expensive than the AC bus that we took on the way out, but without AC. Finally, instead of finding out where the common service departure was (which cost 50), we took this other one (the same bus type, but for 150).

But the bus did not move. When will it start? I asked my little head constantly. To summarize what happened 40 minutes later I could say I was crazy. These buses are like any but they have 5 seats per row. It is very easy to realize that 5 people cannot enter. My shoulders are wider than the seats themselves. And it was very hot and we were parked in the sun. At 40 minutes I was totally wet as a broth cube and I was falling apart and we were still waiting. There were less than 5 empty seats (including the one next to me).

So I went and asked the one who convinced me to go up when we were leaving. He gave me the 5-minute gesture (which, incidentally, is NOT 5 minutes NEVER). I spoke to him in my precise, very directive tone that we had to go ALREADY. Obviously, I do not care. I calculate that it will have been quite an experience for him to see someone angry with such character.

Then I went back to the bus but my anger was exacerbated when they sat someone next to me! Now I was in a sardine soup! And nobody said anything! When I got angry nobody participated! Nobody thought it was terrible that they were abusing us (because there were no other transport options) and that we were traveling worse than cattle. This feeling of fury for these things already happened to me before when I travel in a rush hour. We all accept everything. Here they have the religion to explain it, by karma some are rich and others poor.

Finally, we left! My neurons were still sticky fighting between them but the little wind that came through the window helped me although the torture found new veins. There was a local movie at full volume (when I say at full volume means so loud that I could not hear my MP3 at maximum). The driver goes at full speed in the right lane, beating cars as in the formula one and not slowing down.

After seeing everything and not being able to sleep on top of the mountain, we decided to go to Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
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