Tirupathi Travel Tips

Please note : Change is part of the process at Tirupathi – so information shared here may change. Will try and keep updated as frequently as I can – This information updated post my Visit on July 26th , 2015.


I have been fortunate to visit Tirupathi multiple times. There is something with Lord Balaji that draws you to the temple again & again. In the absence of a good website, information for first time travellers is limited and sketchy. I hope this Blog can help such people.

balaji god

How to get booking for Tirupathi Darshan ? 

If you don’t have a VIP Connection there are 3 ways to get a Darshan

1. Buy a ticket for a confirmed slot or Seva from the TTDC Centres – prices vary depending on the Seva ( In Bangalore you can get this from Vyalikaval TTD Centre, Next to Chowdiah Memorial, or from the Jayanagar Centre – Open on all days barring Tue) – at the counter your photo is taken and you are given a ticket for a certain time slot – thats the time when you can enter the line. For details on Darshan Timing / rates / what it includes check out http://www.tirumala.org/Advancebooking.aspx.

2. You Can also book a Ticket Online and upload a Scanned Photo – the website is slow and this may not be working all the time.

3. Walk up the steps (There are two Routes – 1 Hr Walk and a 3 – 4 hr walk)  and they give you a ticket on the way up

Time Taken to Reach Tirupathi from Bangalore ? 

The roads are great – it takes about 4 1/2 Hrs. I normally leave at 4PM and reach by 830PM – with a 30 Min tea break stop. The first 120 Kms are Double Track Toll Road – post that its single Track. Near Chittoor after about 2 hrs of drive look out for a Bypass.

Restaurants En Route

Nothing great. There is a Cafe Coffee Day after Kolar – only place with a clean bathroom. All other places are very ordinary with poorly maintained bathrooms.

kumbakonam degree coffee

Where to stay in Tirupathi?  

No dearth of hotels but trusted proven ones are Bhimas & Fortune Kences (ITC). There are numerous Bhima’s so be careful while booking – some are good and some are not so good. (Avoid Bhima Deluxe near the Railway Station) The recommended one is Bhima Residency (Near Railway Over Bridge, Renigunta Road – 0877 – 6455371, 6455372) – Centrally located , easy to locate, good food. Rooms are about 2K / night. The Fortune Kences is located 200 m ahead – but rates can vary from 2500 –  3500/ night. Point to Note is that Bhima Residency does not come up on Makemytrip search – the Other Bhima’s do. However food at Bhima is the best – the Bhima Residency is a 5 min walk from Fortune Kences and we went there for all our meals.

dinner time

How much Time does it take to reach the Temple from the hotel? 

The temple is in Tirumala – thats on top of a hill about 1000 feet. It takes about 10 min to  travel to Alipiri – the main gate to the hill, get security cheque done (Budget 30 Min+)  and then another 20 – 25 min to reach the hill top – Tirumala. The road up the hill is broad & safe and one way – cars coming down are on another track. It however has many U Pin bends (Over 20) . Regular buses also ply to the temple top – the bus stand is located opp to Fortune Kences.

Keep the receipt given to you when you enter Alipiri – this will be asked many times. When driving don’t speed – they track the time taken by you to reach – and if you go well within that you may be fined.

How do you walk up the Hill ? How much time does it take ? 

There are 2 routes – the 1st set of steps start from near Alipiri ( the place where the cars drive up) – this is a long walk 3 – 4 hrs  and covers 7 hills – hill 1 is the steepest and so is hill 7  , the rest are an easy walk. All along the walk are shops selling water & snacks. This route has a total of 4000 steps.

The second route was opened a few years back (Srivari Mettu) this is on the backside of the hill. Its a 20 Km drive from Alipiri to reach this place. The climb is shorter 60 – 70 Min at a brisk pace and is not difficult. Has about 2400 steps. Clean track – no shops , not crowded.

Both the walking route at the halfway mark there is a ticket counter – where they take your photo and give you a Ticket.  You can climb with your shoes and carry your cell phone – carry some biscuits , dry fruits , juice…. in your backpack.

24000 steps

Can I manage to get a ticket / VIP Darshan / Special Q by paying money on the spot? 

Fortunately no – there is no black-marketing and money can’t buy you a ticket. There are no touts – no jugad in the last minute. Every ticket has you photo (earlier fingerprint) so you can’t beat the system – there are 3 levels of check. So if you have not planned – the only option is the free darshan Q.

Whats the Waiting Time and which are the best days to travel? 

Tirupathi is never empty – its crowded or very crowded. ( Low Crowd is 50K / day – peak Crowd is 5 Lacs / day) Basis multiple options I have finally discovered that the best day to travel is Thu. Choose non peak season – Clearly avoid Vaikunt Ekadasi, Navratri. Good time to travel is  immediately after school holidays, after a grand function etc. If you can travel on Diwali the crowd is light. Wait time depends on how blessed you are and can take anywhere from 60 minutes to 10 hrs. ( I have been lucky – in my 30+ trips mostly on Thu mornings the wait time has been 60 – 120 Minutes)

Are there special Q’s for the Old and Babies ?

Yes there is a time slot reserved for the Old , Disabled and for parents with new born babies – This is in the afternoon – check the TTD website for details.

Whats the central point in the Hill Top? 

There are multiple Q’s and almost all the entry points are around a place called Vaikuntam ( Old Vijaya Bank)

What is not allowed inside the temple? 

Cell Phones, Cameras, Belts not allowed. Good to leave in car. If you are carrying Cash – carry it in a cloth bag. The temple has lockers but avoidable.

How bad is the Q? 

The Q’s are chock a block – there are multiple Q’s and they all merge near the main temple. 6 – 9AM in the morning is the time for VIP Darshan , Special Tickets etc hence most Q’s operate only after 9 AM. Crowd is mainly rural.

Pointers in Q when you are pushed ? 

Be careful of the floor – steps suddenly come , there are some places where there is water leaking , be alert so that you don’t fall or twist your leg. Once you enter its almost impossible to get out of the Q as its barricaded.

How much Darshan Time do you get? 

The last leg of the Q in front of Balaji is about 25 M long. You can start seeing Balaji the minute you take this left turn. Try and stick to the right side of the Q to get a few precious seconds more of Darshan. In all you can get a darshan for a max of 1 Min – before you are pushed out. There will be ushers inside shouting “Jaracandi Jaracandi” which in telugu means move – some even push you out forcefully. After you come out you visit the Hundi – and then on the way out collect the prasad and come out.

Where do you get the famous Laddu’s? 

Normal tickets are entitled to 2 Laddu’s each. Most days you don’t get extra laddus. On some days when the crowd is less you can pay and get extra laddus by paying Extra. The laddu counter is in a separate building. During summer as you walk in the temple complex towards the Laddu Centre and Back – the ground can be scalding hot, keep a pair of socks to protect your feet.

Is the Place Clean ? 

Tirumala is very well maintained –  there are dustbins all over , the gardens are well landscaped. Given the crowd I would give them a 10/10 on cleanliness.

Any other interesting things in Tirupathi to note ? 

  • Most Special darshan tickets like Vasantutsav/ Kalyanutsav etc where you enter from the Vaikuntam entrance mandate that you wear Dhoti / Saree / Kurta . Pls check the back side of your ticket
  • There is accommodation on the Hill Top – most of these are very ordinary, however some business houses have set up 5 star guest houses. You need contacts to be able to use these.
  • Food on top is OK. Mayuri was a good choice many years back – now the quality is poor , best bet for fine dining now is Saarangi – this is a 5 min drive from the Vaikuntam entrance.


  • Two other temples to visit – Padmavathy (Consort of Balaji) and the Shiva (Rahu Ketu) Temple at SriKalahasti. Former is in Tirupathi Town and the latter is a 45 min  drive. SriKalahasti is one of the 5  Pancha Bhoota Temples dedicated to Vayu – its an ancient Shiva temple and has a lot of mythology associated with it – the story of  Kannappa Nayanar and how he gouged his eyes out to stop the bleeding of the Shiva Linga is also associated with this temple.

tirupathi temple

  • There is a unique natural stone arch called Silathoranam – this is located very close to the main temple – 10 min drive – the arch is 1500 million years old and is one of 3 in the world. Its located in a well maintained garden



Spread A Few Good Things
  • 24

48 comments on “Tirupathi Travel Tips

  • shrenik , Direct link to comment

    Can you please tell me the time at which alipiri ghat road opens early in the morning for cars…planning to go at the end of this month. ..

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      The time keep changing – but I have travelled as early as 4 AM for the morning 6 AM Special Pooja .

      Budget sufficient time since checking & scanning can take a lot of time if there is a crowd – good to travel light with no suitcases

  • Raghu , Direct link to comment

    Hi just one question. Is it economical to use own vehicle to visit Tirupathi from Bangalore or depends travel agents and their packaged services?

      • VENKAT , Direct link to comment

        Thanks for the write up. I am planning to visit Tirupathi from Bangalore by my own car. I am travelling with 2 senior citizens. and 1 infant (18 months). Could you please let me know what options I would have. This might sound trivial, how far is the vehicle allowed from the sanctum sanctorum. Do we get any electric vehicles that can ferry us close to the q entry point for senior citizens.

      • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

        No electric vechiles – parking can be a problem – the hilltop is confusing

        Best place to park is the road that is closest to the Vaikuntam area – its a by lane – finding it is tricky – from there its a 5 min walk

        Do you have a Special Darshan ticket

        Leave belts / bags / shoes etc in Car

  • sree , Direct link to comment

    Interestingly enough, Thursday is known to be crowded than other days !! Not sure on the suggestion that it it best day in terms of crowd. However, in terms of divinity, after all the most important one as you visit a temple, yes !! Thursday is the best when you can see the Lord dressed in very simple dresses without much ornaments when you ‘ll actually be able to see the Lord completely including his eyes, which are not fully seen on other days!! His view on thursdays is termed ‘Nethra darshan’ and is considered very divine. !!

  • kumar yashaswi , Direct link to comment

    hi, i am from new delhi , i am planning to visit balaji on 25th of dec, i will arrive tirupati stn at 2 am , can u tell me how many hours it take to darshan , or when shall i take tickets for darshan plz help me;

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      You are coming on a very Busy day – Darshan time could be more than 5 – 6 hrs, difficult to commit

      Please visit a TTD centre in Delhi and get a Confirmed Darshan (Seva Slot) – you can also try online – it normally opens for booking 3 months in advance

  • Sreekanth , Direct link to comment

    Helpful information. Adding to it, there is no separate counter for chappals at Srivari Metlu, you can pack them in the luggage bag itself. It took us 5.5 hrs on Saturday, 06-02-2016 through Divya Darshan(on foot pilgrims).

  • Prasanna kumar ys , Direct link to comment

    Thank you sir for the excellent info and intricate detailing. Venkataramana Govinda govindaaa!!

  • Prashanthi.B , Direct link to comment

    Thank you very much sir nice information. we are going on 4th of this month by divya darshan.

  • Ankita , Direct link to comment

    Good Info . Very useful . Planning to visit in mid of July . Is that a right time . Please advice

  • raj , Direct link to comment

    Hi sir, i’m planning to visit tirumala on 9th may (special darsana) and i had issue wid my leg pain, can you tell me is it best time for Balaji darsana ,about crowd and “Q”

  • Bhagwat Shah , Direct link to comment

    Very practical information 🙂
    Having visited Tirupti often, I hope you can help me understand the seva cycle at Tirupati.

    In terms of seva of Shri Tirupati, how does it change through the seasons and for festivals? Does Tirupati dress according to season? Are there times when you can have better darshan of Tirupati’s shri-vigrah?

    Reason I ask is at Nathdwara in Rajasthan, the shringar changes as per weather and for festivals. In the summer Lord ShriNathji is lightly dressed with only a few jewels. This allows vaishnavs to have wonderful darshan of shri-vigraha. Those who love jewels should visit during main festivals, especially between Navratri and Dev-Divali.

    Does similar thing happen at Tirupati?
    Is there a website that details the annual cycle of seva and festivals at Tirupati?

  • Gopinath , Direct link to comment

    Hello Sir, what is the difference between Seva dharsan and Special Dharsan.

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Special Darshan gets you in faster – shorter Q – Tickets are more expensive and needs to be bought many months in advance

  • Balaji , Direct link to comment

    I planned to visit Tirumala on Ganesh chadurthi, i hope crowd will be less than any other day, is it so. please reply.

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Not sure – I have never visited on Ganesh Chaturthi – but many years back I visited on Diwali and it was empty

  • Jithin , Direct link to comment

    Thanks for the information.

    I am planning to go on Diwali day. I am buying e-Darshan ticket of Rs 300. I am planning to go by a self drive rental car. Please let me know if anything to taken care before climbing the hill at vehicle security check.

    I have heard about some band or token to be taken before climbing. Please let me know more about it.

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Good Hope you have a great darshan.

      They scan all the bags – so travel light , if you can leave the bags at the hotel and pick it up on return preferred. Once the car in which we went up had a Jesus Cross – they took that out – so avoid cars with any Muslim / Christian religious symbols – drive slow – even if road is empty – they time you – if you are speeding they can fine you when you reach the hill or while coming down – finding parking at the hill top is tricky – no proper directions – all the best

  • Radhika , Direct link to comment

    We are planning just after navratri i.e 16-17th oct. Monday may be less crowd. We are 4 senior citizrn and 3 kids. Hope it is asier.

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Not sure – Normally navratri is very crowded – if schools start back then crowd eases

      With elders always better to buy the 60 day advance Special Seva Tickets

  • varun , Direct link to comment

    is it possible to climb 2400 steps by once knees like Guru sri Ramanujam

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      No idea – even walking up is challenging – point it on your knees is brutal! Don’t hurt your knees – the good lord never asks for such things – do good to others – live a genuine pious life

  • vineet mishra , Direct link to comment

    Dear sir,

    We are six people (including 3 children, planning for darshan in January (Wednesday)). We will be reaching to Tirupati at around 1.pm. And to temple at around 5pm. If i book 7pm slot for darshan through online booking, will it be fine. Or there is any difference in different slots of darshan as I am seeing 1 pm slot is almost full but as the time increased, crowd is less. is it? Or we should choose next day slot at 1 pm. Kindly revert asap. Thanks.

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Difficult to say – when in January ? its very crowded as a lot of people come to Tirupathi before going to Sabari Mala

      At times night booking can become very late – try and get morning slots

  • Velarasu.S , Direct link to comment

    Thanks a lot. You have explained very clearly the details which are required for the pilgrims to reach Thirumalai for the Perumal’s dharsan.
    Happy to see my friend Vishwanathan in the group.

  • Venkateswara Rao , Direct link to comment

    You have provided a valuable info.. I am thank full for that but one thing that you may don,t know – “for climbing tirumala hills we have to prefer barefoot only”, you may observed that the people are doing pooja with Haldhi and Kumkum for the stairs, more over many stories tells that “should not wear footwear for climbing tirumala hills”.

  • Srikanth Dhulipalla , Direct link to comment

    For Special Darshan(300/-), if you didn’t book the tickets in advance..Here is the Chance for you..

    Everyday at 5AM in the morning, TTD will release 100 tickets for every time slot from 9:00 to 17:00 of the same day, and it carries accomdation facility(not assured).

    Hope this will surely help unplanned.. Happy Darshan..


  • Dhanashree Barve , Direct link to comment

    Could u guide me if we can drive down late evening post darshan. Our darshan slot on dec 2, 2017 is at 5pm. But not getting accomodation in Tirumala and might have to drive down to tirupati fr stay at night as we wil travel wth a senior citizen and a child. Is it advisable to drive down late evening, are there any restrictions from theur side?

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Darshan time at 5 PM means you will complete by 6.30 or 7 PM – it should be comfortable driving down after that . please check when you are going up , I have never driven down in the evenings – but my guess is upward vehicle travel may stop by 8/9 PM but downward vehicle will not stop

  • Rajesh Kaje , Direct link to comment

    I am planning Lord Darshan in the Month of Feb-18, Week 2, on Monday,
    Accompanying 1 child and 3 Senior citizens,
    Can u guide on the specific precautions to be taken ?

  • Dev Apartments, , Direct link to comment

    Every thing is Good!!!! But the Mountain is also as Holy as the Temple and we should not wear Shoes to climb…. My view and it will vary…….. Om Namo venkateshaya…..

  • Princess , Direct link to comment

    We have planned a family trip to tirupati during the end of May by a package tour by bus. I plan to take my dslr for taking photos of our travel from coimbatore to tirupati and back. How restricted is a dslr in my travel. I think there will be a high restriction in the temple. I still can capture exterior. My concern is will my dslr be a concern as you keep saying travel light

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      You can’t take it inside the temple – but yes lots of areas on the ride up to the hilltop and on the hilltop that you can shoot. keep the camera inside the bus – as the counters near the temple may not be ideal

Leave a Reply