After thinking on what to do on the long Diwali weekend, we decided to go to Tirupati. It was a sudden decision. But the planning was good. I evaluated the options available.
1. Goto the TTD office at Malleshwaram - get a booking for the weekend - take a bus to tirupati separately - Stay in a lodge - Do the darshan - Come back in a bus. Up and down bus reservation was available in KSRTC.
2. Take a semi-organised package tour. Darshan time will be decided when we reach Tirupati. It could take anytime, but the acco will be provided by the package tour guy. Return time is not clear.
3. Take a fully organised tour. Darshan time is clear. Return time is also known upfront.
We chose to go by the 3rd option. I decided to take APTDC bus. The cost was 1200 per head. The bus is a volvo Ac coach. We left Bangalore at 2000 (on time). First stop was at Kamat hotel between Hoskote and Kolar. The food was good. All aprehensions on the bus stoping at a non-veg hotel came to an end when we saw the "Kamat" board. The next stop was at 0200 in the morning at Tirupati. We were given a room to take bath. The time given was 45 mins. The guy gave room for every 3 or 2 people. After the bath, the tour guide gave us a room to keep the luggages. At 0300 we started in the APSRTC bus to the abode of Lord Venkateshwara - the hill of Tirumala. By 0420, we were in front of the temple. The guide asked us to leave our chappals \ cell phones\ cameras in a shop. He took us to the enterance of the temple and split us into groups of 10, 20 and 20. He appointed group leaders, who would take us in and also collect laddus for the members of the group. At 0445 we started in the queue and at 0545 we were outside. The darshan was very smooth. There was less of jargandi and the police inside the temple seemed to show more patience. After the main temple, we went to the Varaha Swamy temple too. At 0645 we assembled near the Ram Bhagicha busstand and ready to comeback to Tirupati.
At 0745 we were back with hungry stomachs. Punnami restaurant invited us for the breakfast. The restaurant is pretty average, but the cost is on the higher side. After breakfast we were back in our Volvo bus at 0845 towards the Padmavathi temple at Tiruchenoor. There was an option to take a 10Rs ticket or a 40 Rs ticket or take a free darshan. Because of fewer crowd, we opted for the latter. After the free darshan of Padmavathi, we were on the way back to Bangalore. Here chappals and electronic goods were left within the bus. Yes, our Tirupati tour was over by 0930!! After the half night sleep, everybody in the bus were flat once the bus started. At 1200 we were woken up by the driver in front of "Green Park" Andra style hotel for lunch at Palamner. The curries were hot but tasty. At 1300 we were back in the bus. It was 1550 sharp when we were back at the race course road office of APTDC.
All in all a very good trip. I would recommend this service to anybody.