Saturday, June 17, 2006

Yelukundalavada Tirupathi devasthanam welcomes me……

It was one of the religious centres of the country. Located in the south of India in Andhra Pradesh. My day to visit it from Chennai with my family started.
16th June, 2006:
4:30 – alarm rang bells in my ears….
4:40 – mom shouting at me and my bro to get up, or else we might miss the bus…
4:43 – I got up; my bro is still sleeping…
4:50 – I rush out of my room dressed for the journey in a traditional silk chudithar…
5:00 – every one at home is almost ready… doing last minute chores at home.
5:15 – ready to lock the house, checking all the locks in each room, seeing if everything is properly done.
5:20 – leave house to catch auto, to go to the tamilnadu tourism office, where our bus is going to come.
5:45 – reach the office after a bit of searching. It was our first experience with the Tamilnadu tourism board.
6:00 – our bus arrives; it is a mini van with 15 seats.
6:10 – we board the bus; I take the window seat as it is my custom!
6:30 – the bus moves at last… we start our journey.
8:40 – we stop for breakfast at thiruthani, not a bad breakfast… and it was supposed to me limited breakfast with 2 idlis, 1cup of pongal, 1 vada, and sambar and chutney. But the restaurant guy wished to give me a second helping of pongal, I never asked for it. And I myself was trying hard to finish my plate. Lol. Anyway I refused; he tried to persuade me, but then left.
9:00 – we boarded again and resumed our journey; I can’t much account what happened in the next two hours, because I was sound asleep…
11:15 – we reached lower tirupathi; from there we had to change our bus with the local Andhra Pradesh devasthanam bus. The bus wasn’t worth noticing. All that I knew was it wasn’t comfortable one and a very rickety one, in this bus we were going to climb the hill.
12:25 – we reached upper tirupathi, the journey up was quite tiresome, with all those hairpin bends, but the climate was great…
12:30 – our guide made us leave our entire luggage in the cottage and we started walking to the temple. The climate was in such a state that we guessed it was going to rain.
Yeah, it had to rain; I had finally come after some years to this place!
12:45 – we were moving in the long queue for our 100 rupee ticket… inside the temple. Outside, as I said it was raining nicely, it was a lovely sight to see, with the fresh smell of the earth arising by the rain…
1:45 – I guess that was the time we reached the main entrance. Till now the crowd was tolerable. I was beginning to believe that it is not going to be so crowded, and I will have an easy darshan with lord Venkatachalapathi. But how will that happen, once we entered the main entrance, all other people from other queues also joined us, and it was a big queue. No that would be wrong, it wasn’t a big queue, and it was a BIG crowd. I never had to move, they just pushed me in, and I went along with the crowd.
2:00 – still pushing among the crowd. My brother got separated from us, lucky fellow, he went inside and got darshan and came out. We were just trying to get in, when he waved us from outside. My mom called him to come in again. He jumped through the barriers and joined us again. Finally I met lord Venkatachalapathi. Lol. For like 2 seconds. All the security was inside pushing us out. There was no one outside to manage the crowd.
2:15 – we finally made it to the hundi, and gave our offerings. But now we were stuck inside the main entrance, we couldn’t go out. The stupid security was letting everyone in and no one out for a certain period. How dumb can that be? As usual, we pushed through the crowd with great difficulty and managed to get out. Once outside, another security was pushing us out. Hmmm…. Indeed great organization. Even the lord can’t question them, because even the lord will be handcuffed if enough money is not collected in the hundi. I couldn’t believe it when my mom said this. With so much pride to the place, must not they have a proper administration?
2:30 – we finally reached out after getting prasad, we went to some temple nearby, and was going to the cottage. I was dead by that time. My legs were begging me to rest!! But we had to reach the cottage at 3:00 as our guide said, so that then we can go down hill and have lunch.
3:03 – we made it to the cottage, our guide asked us to once again board the local bus down. But we were not moving, why? One north Indian family who came with us were missing, no not entirely, the men were there, their wives were missing, Lol, and our guide was trying to trace them. And also all the cell phones were with the guide, so the ladies in that family did not have cell phones, so no way to contact them, but to search..
3:45 – finally, found them. The bus started. It went pretty fast then the one in which we came up hill…
4:30 – we reached downhill, and had lunch. It too wasn’t bad.
5:00 – we were going to this other temple, which is the temple of the mother of lord Venkatachalapathi. It was a nice one; we went in the quick darshan. It was all good and nice, but here too, you could get to see the goddess for just a maximum of 2 seconds.
5:45 – we were out of the temple, and boarded our bus.
6:00 – we started back to Chennai.
I did not sleep much, but then too I can’t say much about the journey back, as it was all very dark outside.
7:45 – we reached the same restaurant, where we had breakfast in the morning. No one was very hungry, so we had a light dinner. The restaurant had a T.V. and we asked him to change the channel to Espn, to watch the world cup football match. We were the only one to ask for it. You know my brother can’t miss the opportunity to see the match. But, one thing I regretted was that the restaurant T.V. got all the channels, there was no CAS system there. Why should chennaities alone suffer?
8:10 – we boarded the bus again.
10:15 – reached Chennai –guindy, back to home sweet home.
10:30 – reached home finally, I then had to sleep, and I had a class at 6:15 the next morning.
Overall a nice journey, perfectly after my college reopened. The irony was all through my holidays I was at home; once college starts I go out of station.
Zany child as always…

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