Posted by Mrityunjay on March 7, 2010
If you travel by bus from Hyderabad to Tirupati, it will take you total of approximately 12 hours. Bus services are usually in evening. After 48 hours sojourn in Hyderabad, when I took the bus, I did not know I would be reaching Tirupati in a pretty bad shape. In that physical condition, it was a real pain carrying a heavy bag on your shoulders and trying to find a decent hotel. After 1-2 hours, finally I gathered the courage to take a bus to Tirumala. Initially, thought of dropping the ‘Darshan’ plan because of my health and my previous experience but then thankfully, decided against it.
I don’t know why but there is certain discomfort I feel at Tirumala perhaps because of administrative issues, language barrier or the rush factor. The whole excitement of visiting a famous Hindi pilgrimage place goes in ashes. While you embark on a religious journey, your heart feels in a certain way, full of devotion and positive vibes. But the place is very unfriendly. People don’t really help you if you are looking for some sort of directional needs.
The fact that, there are different fees for darshan puzzles me. There are different categories of Rs. 50, Rs. 300, Rs 500 and so on, so forth. The higher you pay, less time it will take you to have a glimpse of Lord Venkateshwara. Why is it that, Temple authorities have created categories like ‘normal fee’, ‘special fee’, ‘VIP fee’ etc. When you are standing at the gate of the lord, everyone should be treated equally, right? But no, equality has ceased to exist even at the doorsteps of God.
And if in case, a big time politician or film star arrives there, you are supposed to wait for him to receive his iota of blessings from the Lord before your number comes. Remember, you are an ‘Aam Aadmi’ (common man) and not even God will take away that curse from you. In my case, the visitors were left stranded in queue because some minister from Pondicherry had come calling. And a minister being a minister has some privileges that common people are not supposed to have. But compared to my last experience here, some 7-8 years back, this time it was less problematic. The system had changed a bit.
It took me ‘just’ 3 hours and this time the priests did not misbehave with me like last time. Perhaps the fact that, this time, some common people were acting in disguise of volunteers or service people hired by temple authorities or whatever, were managing queue, helped. No doubt, the sanctum sanctorum is exactly like how the God’s abode should be. Mesmerizing and lavishly decorated. The state of Andhra Pradesh can never be poor with the amount of gold being dedicated at Tirumala. Yes, I did feel all devoted and spiritual for a while but it was hard to feel totally immersed in the glory of Lord amidst the logistical issues. All in all, compared to last time, I faced fewer problems last month yet some of the problems are likely to stay there till eternity.