Tirumala & Tirupati Travel Guide
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- 98%Local Culture
- 98%Spiritual Seekers
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- Tirumala & TirupatiMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsAdventure TravelersFirst to ReviewAug 01, 2013
Tirupati is the service town for the hilltop temple city of Tirumala, and for millions of Hindus, Tirumala is the service town to God. Home to the Sri Venkateshwara Temple, this town in southern Andhra Pradesh sees as many pilgrims as Mecca or Jerusalem, who come to make a wish before its wish-fulfilling idol. The day-long wait in metal cages can be truncated with a special ticket to just a few hours, but a visit to the temple is still an intense and sometimes difficult experience. However, if you want to see a genuine show of passionate Hindu spirituality that has not been cultivated in any way for the benefit of the western visitor, Tirumala is the place to go. It's a one-day visit only, to be sure, but also one of the hidden highlights of South India.Recommended for:
- Tirumala & TirupatiFeb 06, 2013
For the Muslims there is Mecca, for the Jews it’s the western wall (wailing wall) in the old city of Jerusalem. For the Hindus, especially for the followers of Vishnu/Krishna it’s Tirumala temple. More than fifty thousand (and in some days over a hundred thousand pilgrims!) pilgrims visit the Sri Venkateswara Temple every day, which makes this place not only the biggest pilgrimage site in the world but also the most-visited place of worship in the world. Not a lot of western tourists make their way here and it is not really on the classic tourist map of India, but once you make the effort to arrive there, it is defiantly worthwhile. Here you can find and feel an authentic religious devotion. Hindu devotees flood this remote town in the south of India from all over the sub-continent and even from abroad, walking days by foot, and waiting in huge queues (sometimes more than 12 hours!), only to get a glimpse of the site and a five second quick peek (called Darshan in Sanskrit which means a glimpse of the eye) in the presence of the icon of god. As said, the Holy Mountain of Tirumala is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in India. There is a massive organization that takes care of the crowds and the religious practices at the mountain and in the temple that is on top of it. This organization has established a complete system of accommodation for the pilgrims (mostly huge halls in which families are sprawled out in and also separate rooms for wealthy families), shops, special buses and transportation, donations and much more. This whole industry creates massive profits that is used for charity and the temple is the richest pilgrimage center in the world, of any faith.
Many pilgrims shave their heads before entering the temple and there are dozens of barbers in a special space provided. These barbers are just a small part of the thousands of employees of the Temple. There are many religious practices that take place such as sharing of candied sweets called Laddu, giving of offerings and donations. In order to enter to the holy room in the temple there is a two and a half mile stretch of people and waiting in line for at least 12 hours and you will need to be checked and searched for security measures. If you are willing to pay a small amount of money, you can wait for a shorter period of around 3 hours. The road up the hill is beautiful and the scenery is almost surreal, as you are able to see thousands of people scattered everywhere. You have to see it to believe!
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