Important travel tips for Tirumala - Tirupati


Are you planning to visit Tirumala - Tirupati - the abode of Lord Venkateswara? In this article, find the important travel tips to visit the place.

Tirumala-Tirupati is one of the most important Hindu pilgrim places and the most important Hindu Vaishnavite temple. It is visited by millions of people round the year. This small and beautiful temple city is located on the 7th hill in the range of seven hills of Eastern Ghats. This important Hindu pilgrim center is located in the Chittoor Dist of Andhra Pradesh.

Tirupati which is in down hill is the connecting city to Tirumala Uphills. Tirumala-Tirupati is heavily crowded with pilgrims round the year coming from different parts of the country. So, it is important to follow travel tips on visiting this place.

Travelling in Indian Railways? Then follow these travels tips while travelling in trains

Plan your trip to Tirumala

Important tips to plan your trip:
  • Avoid visiting the temple on weekends, important festival days and during holidays mainly summer holidays when the crowd is unimaginable. During this period you literally need not walk in the temple premises but your will be pushed forward by the force of flow of heavy crowd.
  • Visit the official website of TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams). In the home page go through the online services where you will find availability of tickets for various sevas and accordingly you can book tickets for the sevas you like to attend well in advance. Please note that sevas available are: Archana, Ashtadala Paada Padmaarahanamu, Kalyanotsavamu, Nijapaada Darsanamu, Suprabhaata Seva, Tomaala Seva, Vasantotsavamu and Viseesha Pooja.

    For sevas like Suprabhaata Seva, you need to book tickets well in advance as there is a heavy demand for this seva. For some sevas like Kalynanotsavam tickets are easily available but there is a huge crowd for Kalyanotsavam. If you don't go early you will not get place in the first lines but you need to place yourself somewhere in the last rows.
  • There are tickets for darshan like Vaikuntham Q complex, Sarvadarshan, Seeghra Darshan, Special Darshan for PH and senior citizens and Divya Darshan. You can book tickets online for almost all of these darshans except for the Sarvadarshan which is a free entry darshan. Mostly this is preferred by the people of weaker sections of the society. And sometimes during heavily crowded days, these poor people stay in the lines for a couple of days to have the darshan of Lord Venkateswara.
  • After online booking of tickets, you need to make necessary arrangements for your accommodation at Tirumala-Tirupati. For accommodation as well, you can book it online for a cottage or for a room in one of the guest houses. Most of the accommodation in Tirumala are provided by TTD and there are even choultries of various communities. There are few private accommodation / lodges in Tirumala but these are not at a walkable distance from the main temple.
  • Once you are done with the booking part, you can happily reserve your train tickets online on the official website of the Indian Railways. As Tirumala-Tirupati is the most popular pilgrim place of the Hindus, it is well connected with almost all the places in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the parts of the country by railways. So there is no dearth for trains going to this place. There are even special trains to Tirupati during festive season and holiday season to meet with the requirement of the heavy crowd.
  • Once you are through with all the necessary arrangements for the trip, make sure that you carry certain important things:
    • Medical kit with important prescribed medicines including medicines for all kinds of infections particular stomach infection as Tirupati being heavily crowded place with pilgrims from different parts of the country, you need to take extra care on the health part and be very careful to avoid any kind of infections
    • Carry a kit containing antiseptic lotions, pain balms / sprays, general medicines like digestive tablets etc
    • Carry all important toilet items like soaps, talcum powder, creams and the like as the would cost more at this pilgrim center.
    • Make sure to carry one set of traditional wear - saree for women and dhoti / pajama-kurta for men as devotees are not allowed to visit the sanctum sanctorum in their Western outfits particularly for special seva darshan.
  • In this way you can plan well for your trip and make your stay at this Holy place comfortable with a touch of divinity.

On reaching Tirumala-Tirupati

Once you reach Tirupati - downhill station, you will be in a confusion what to do next and where to go immediately. Above all you will be feeling lost in the crowd and do not understand what would be your next step. To avoid all this confusion you need to understand certain things to make your trip a safe and comfortable one.
  • There are frequent buses run by the APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) from Tirupati (downhill) to Tirumala (uphill). So decide whether you want to go immediately to the uphill or you need a halt at downhill. Accordingly you can take the bus to uphill. If your stay at uphills is a short one, then you can take to and fro bus ticket which is valid for 48 hours. You need to confirm the validity period from the conductor.
  • If you are visiting in a big group of 12-13 people or more, then instead of taking the bus, it would be better to book a van for to and fro journey from Tirupati to Tirumala and back to Tirupati. If you wish you can use the van for visiting other places in and around Tirumala-Tirupati and thus have a comfortable journey. This would not cost you much.
  • If you wish to enjoy climbing up the seven hills by foot, then you need to take a halt at Srinivasam Complex which is opposite Tirupati Main Bus Complex. Here either you can take a comfortable room for refreshing yourself or you can even take a locker and secure you luggage inside it, use the common restrooms / bathrooms for refreshing yourself. The place is a very big complex and too spacious so you don't feel the space crunch here. Moreover you get all kinds of refreshments here including tiffins, coffee, tea and other such items. So happily you can take a halt here and refresh yourself before you continue with your onward journey to climb the seven hills by foot.
  • After refreshing, you can either take APSRTC buses which drop the pedestrians at the footsteps of Alipiri - the starting place to climb the hills by foot or you can take a private vehicle like auto up to this point.
  • On reaching Alipiri, at the entrance of the foot steps, there is a TTD counter for free transportation of the luggage of the pedestrians. Here you can hand over your luggage which will reach up hills at specified timings. Once you know the time your luggage reaches uphill, accordingly you can plan your upward trekking of the hills. However keep few important items which you might requie while climbing the hills. The best option is to keep a shoulder bag which would be easier while climbing the stpes.
  • Before you start climbing, it is advisable to remove your shoes / sandals, keep these in a carry bag and climb the hills with barefoot. As the seven hills are considered highly sacred.
  • As you start your onward journey of climbing the steps of the seven hills, you will really enjoy this trekking which though is tiresome yet enjoyable with rich flora and fauna around and the aroma of the medicinal plants spread in the area which gives a refreshing feeling to the mind and body as well.
  • There is a row of food stalls where the local people sell the hot instantly made local food items. You can really enjoy this food.
  • It is always safe to go in groups while climbing up the hills instead of going all alone for yourself as there are many wild animals that keep roaming in the hills particularly the leopards. And also to keep yourself safe from any one the thugs on the way. However at every stage you will find security check posts with the security people moving around with alert.
  • On reaching uphills, you can collect your luggage at the TTD free transportation counter at the entrance only and then you need to go to the Central Reservation Office (CRO) for the allotment of room which you have booked online. And once you get the reservation slip of the accomodation, you can straight away go to the particular guest house or cottage where you will be given keys at the counters.
  • Remember that in few guest houses, the bathrooms are not provided with geysers and you need to go to the common area where the hot water is available.
  • In almost all the guest house, there is tonsuring service and you need to buy tickets for tonsuring, in case you intend to tonsure your head, at the counter.
  • Even restaurants are open till late night almost near all the guest houses for the pilgrims who return late in the night after special sevas and darshans. However you need to take extra health care at these places as the sanitation and hygiene is not up to the mark in these places.

In Tirumala and inside the temple

  • Take extra care of your health in Tirumala. Do not take food at every available place, instead go to good restaurants where proper sanitation is maintained. For lunch / dinner, TTD Annadaana Nilayam is a good place that is well maintained with proper cleanliness and hygiene. You get tasty South Indian vegetarian food served free of cost to all the pilgrims.
  • For moving around Tirumala, there are TTD buses that run frequently and it is free for the pilgrims. However these are heavily crowded with the people of weaker section.
  • Non-vegetarian food is strictly prohibited in Tirumala. It is not available in the restaurants in Tirumala.
  • When you go for darshan or sevas please follow these tips:
    • Visit the temple in traditional dress and not in Western outfits.
    • Do not carry your mobiles, cameras, videos, i pads and other e-gadgets as these are strictly prohibited inside the temple premises. If you carry these by mistake, you need to hand over these at special counters in the Q complexes.
    • You need to go through security check before you enter the main temple in lines. So do any carry any of the prohibited items inside the temple premises as these might be seized in case the TTD happen to find these items.
    • There is special entry for senior citizens and for the mothers with infant babies, who are allowed to go directly into the main temple without going in the long lines.
    • At times, the lines suddenly stop moving for hours together and the devotees standing in the lines get impatient. So be prepared for long hour waiting in the lines. This is really a testing time for the pilgrims. And when suddenly the lines start moving after a long wait, there will be lot of pushing from all sides and you need to encounter these pushes lest you will be left behind. You need to be bold and strong enough to wade through this flush of flow of pilgrims.
    • At the time of entering the sanctum sanctorum - Bangaaru Vaakili, there will be very forceful pushes from all the directions and you will literally get squeezed in the infuriated crowd. Do not care for all such external pushes and pulls but concentrate on the darshan of Lord Venkateswara. The moment you enter Bangaaru Vaakili, line is pushed so fast that you do not know when you enter inside the main temple and get the darshan of Lord Venkateswara. Everything happens so fast that you just keep recollecting what happen inside and how the idol of Lord Venkateswara is. So while entering the main temple see that your eyes are concentrated on the beautiful idol of Lord Venkateswara only. Leave aside all the external forces.
    • Once you come out of the sanctum sanctorum, once again you will encounter with much of external pushes and pushes by the crowd for taking Swamivari Teertham and then at Srivari Hundi where you can drop your offerings if any to the Lord.
    • From there you can go to the Free Prasadam counter for getting the prasadam. Once you are out of the main temple, go to the Laddu counter for getting the laddus that you get for the your ticket.

Places to visit in and around Tirumala-Tirupati

There are other places in and around Tirumala-Tirupati which are worth visiting. These are:
  • Silathoranam or the natural rock formation in the shape of an arch near Chakra Teertham
  • Chakra Teertham a place with natural / beautiful surroundings with rich flora around and with rocky formations.
  • Sreevari Paadaalu located on a peak of the 7th hill. One can find the foot impressions of Lord Venketaswara at this place and can have a wonderful view of the temple complex.
  • TTD Museum and Paapa Vinaasanam are other important places to visit in Tirumala.
  • On getting downhill, you can visit Kalyana Venkateswarulu at Srinivasa Mangapuram, Sri Vara Siddhi Vinayaka Temple at Kaanipaakam, Ardhagiri also known as Arakonda
  • , ISKON temple and Govindaraju Temple at Tirupati and Padmavati Temple at Mangalapuram.
So plan your trip well in advance and know about the various places to visit and things to do at these places for an enjoyable trip. Get back home cherished moments.


Article by Kalyani
Kalyani is basically an educationist and presently a home-maker who is fruitfully utilizing her free time in freelancing, online content writing and above all blogging. She is an active lead editor at IndiaStudyChannel.com for over 2 years. She is an environmentalist who strives to protect the environment through the revival of age-old eco-friendly practices. She also strives to preserve the rich cultural heritage of India.

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Comments

Author: Mandeep02 Nov 2013 Member Level: Gold   Points : 45

This was really a very great article and had covered almost all the important points regarding Tirumala-Tirupati. I am the local resident and Can give you some more information.

As you have said that there are 7 hills and the names of those 7 hills are

  1. Vrushabadri
  2. Anjanadri
  3. Neeladri
  4. Garudadri
  5. Seshadri
  6. Naraynadri
  7. Venkatadri

And the Tirumala town is on the hill "Venkatadri". There are buses from all over A.P and trains from all places of country to Tirupati, which is just below the 7 hills.

The best days to visit Tirumala is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There will be very heavy rush in the Tirumala with Piligrims from all over the country. It will take some hours for the Darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. There will be heavy demand for the Sevas, so you have to book them in advance, some Sevas are booked for many months in advance. It will take less time for Darshan if you reach Tirumala on foot. You will be given "Divya Darshan" Token. There was a special queue for the people who come to Tirumala on foot. However pilgrims with health problems relating to heart, lungs and other severe health problems are advised not to go on foot to Tirumala.

How to reach Tirumala on foot?


There are mainly two ways to reach Tirumala on foot.
  1. One way from Alipiri, Tirupati
  2. Other way from Srinivasa Mangapuram


Way from Alipiri, Tirupati


This is the most used pathway to reach Tirumala out of the both. Daily some thousands of piligrims will fulfill their promises to the god by reaching Tirumala through this path way. It starts at Alipiri in Tirupati. To reach Alipiri there are local buses available from Busstand and Railway station. You can also take an auto to reach there. The footway is about 9kms long. It is tough to climb but will be aweful experience. There are total 3550 foot steps to reach Tirumala and in between the steps , pilgrims have to walk for about 4 kms on road. You have to start climbing the steps at the Padala Mandapam at Alipiri, After climbing 2200 steps you will reach “Gali Gopuram” where you have to take the Divya Darshanam token from the Counters of Bank of Baroda, your photo and the time before you have to go to queue is printed on the token. While climbing there will be lots of shops and persons selling various items to eat on the foot steps. It will be a very great experience to climb in the midst of the forest. After climbing few more hundreds of steps, you can see a Deer park beside the path way where there will be hundreds of deers in the protected area. Pilgrims can also give them food which will be a very nice experience. After that you will see a big statue of Lord Hanuman. Then pilgrims will reach a road path, pilgrims have to walk around 4 kms on road before they reach “Mokalla parvatam”. From here foot steps will be steeper and it will be a slight tough task. After climbing 1000 steps from there, you will reach Tirumala. In between before the road way , you should take the stamp on the Divya Darshan token from the official which is the verification that you came on foot. Don’t forget to take that stamp, it is compulsory. There are lots of temples in between the foot way and don’t forget to visit them. There are few view points and there are excellent sceneries in between and it will look like a paradise for the nature lovers. The 10 statues resembling the ten Avataras of Lord Vishnu are also a special attraction. When you like to climb on this way at night times, go in groups as there are some incidents that some wild animals attacked the pilgrims climbing the footsteps. Note the emergency telephone numbers displayed in the boards in between the steps so that you can use them in case of emergencies. There is hospital and ambulance facility available at Gali Gopuram. If you are coming down hill on foot then be careful while coming down as there is more chances of slipping on steps. As the hills are considered very sacred, do not climb the steps with foot wear. Drinking water and Washrooms are available through out the path. An average person will take 3-4 hours to reach Tirumala through this way.

Srivari Mettu, Srinivasa Mangapuram


This is another way to reach Srinivasa Mangapuram. For the people who cannot climb and walk long route from Alipiri can opt this route because it is short and less tough to climb. It is 3km long. It was built recently and developed by TTD. This way is open only from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. To reach Srinivasa Mangapuram, you have to take a bus from Tirupati and it is just a 40 min journey from Tirupati. TTD is also running free buses from Tirupati to ‘Srivari Mettu’ and RTC is also running a bus between these two places. Otherwise you can hire an auto from Mangapuram to “Srivari Mettu” which is 6 kms from Sreenivasa Mangapuram. This way consists of around 2200 foot steps. From 1200 steps are quite easy to climb and remaining are slightly steeper compared to from 1200. This way is less crowded than the foot way from Alipiri. Here also you will be given Divya Darshanam token at around 1100 steps and you have to take the stamp at around 2000 steps. Here you will not find much shops as it is new way and less pilgrims will go. However there is drinking water and washroom facility available through out the way. It will take around 2 hours to reach Tirumala.

Other important tips to be taken in Tirumala


  1. Do not believe people who say that they will provide you darshan and Prasadam quickly

  2. Better prefer APSRTC buses to reach Tirumala than by Private taxis as RTC has better experienced drivers who will make your journey safe

  3. To get correct information, contact the Information centers opened by TTD at various places in Tirumala

  4. To get accommodation in Tirupati, you can contact at Srinivasam Complex or Vishnu Nivasam which are built specially to provide accommodation to the pilgrims and in Tirumala also TTD built several cottages for pilgrims

  5. For pilgrims who reach Tirumala by foot can give their luggage at luggage counters at the starting of foot steps and collect them at Tirumala for free

  6. To move in Tirumala, TTD is providing free bus service, utilize them

  7. Non-Vegetarian food, Liquor, alcoholic items and all tobacco items are prohibited in Tirumala. Do not carry them to the Tirumala, if you take them with you, police will file a case on you.

  8. For VIP darshans now the traditional dress is compulsory. Pilgrims are not allowed in western outfits

  9. Visit other important places like Papavinasanam, Aakasha Ganga, Japali theertham which are around Tirumala and enjoy the trip
Guest Author: Karthik12 Aug 2015

Very useful info. It remembers my memories of last visit to Tirumala - Tirupati.

Author: Kailash Kumar12 Apr 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Those who prefer to travel by air, the nearest airport is Tirupati airport or Renigunta airport which is located at about 14 kilometers from the Tirumala city. The airport is well connected to Tirumala city and is easily accessible by bus. Taxi services are also available at the airport. Regular flights from Tirupati to important cities like Aurangabad, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Madurai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam are available. The closest international airport is Chennai International Airport which is 130 km from Tirupati. There are plans to upgrade Tirupati Airport to international status.

Author: Umesh14 Dec 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

An exhaustive article on Tirupati temple and it works like a ready reckoner for a visitor there. I have visited the temple once and as per my experience, one should plan to reach there early in the morning so that even if there is a huge crowd one can be free by the afternoon and there won't be much hassle of returning back.

When I visited this temple for the first time, I realized that there are such temples in our country where you have to be in the queue, sometimes for hours together. Another thing is the huge offerings made by the devotees in cash or kind which are the highest among anywhere in our country. This shows how much faith people have in this place.

Guest Author: ilitha26 Apr 2019

Are electric cookers or water boilers available in guest houses at Tirumala? As we are taking our 1.5-year-old baby, she needs boiled water to drink. We are concerned about her health and if electronic items are not allowed, her health may be upset. Can anyone please give information and suggestions?



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