Colloquially known as the spiritual capital of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati is located in its southern district of Chittoor. The name ‘Tirupati’ literally translates to ‘house of Lakshmi’, Lakshmi being the goddess of wealth and prosperity according to Hindu mythology.
The city is particularly famous because of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, one of the highest footfall-clocking heritage temples in India. Apart from various Hindu pilgrimage sites, the natural relief of the surrounding hills of Tirumala is a good reason to pay this place a visit. There are also a couple of popular waterfalls which are believed to be holy.
You can comfortably tour some important sightseeing spots in Tirupati by hiring a cab for the day. Read on to know more about the one-day itinerary.
Door-step pickup from your Home / Hotel in Tirupati at 6:30 AM
|Sri Tirumala Venkateswara Swamy Temple||4 hours||more..|
|Shila Thoranam||30 mins||more..|
|Srivari Padalu||40 mins||more..|
|Sri Venu Gopala Swamy Temple||40 mins||more..|
|Japali Anjaneya Swamy Temple||30 mins||more..|
|Akasha Ganga||40 mins||more..|
Drop back at your Home / Hotel in Tirupati by 7:30 PM
What to Expect
The cab trip for Tirumala Tirupati Balaji sightseeing will begin early in the morning and cover various points of interest below. You will be picked up from your home or hotel and dropped back to your place of accommodation.
After breakfast, the very first sight is the Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple – the richest temple in the world in terms of the amount of gold that decks the idols and the premises. The journey will take about an hour to the hill-town of Tirumala as the distance is 23 km.
The next spot is a 10-minute drive to Shila Thoranam. This National Geo-heritage Monument is a natural arch in the hills of Tirumala, barely a couple of kilometres from the temple.
From here, we’ll move on to Srivari Padalu. According to Hindu legends, it is here that Lord Vishnu first set his foot when he visited the Narayanagiri Hills (part of the Tirumala Range).
You will get to visit Sri Venu Gopala Swamy Temple before breaking for lunch. This temple was built to pay homage to the Hindu deity Krishna, and his statue is seen playing a flute.
After a hearty meal, you will go deeper into the forest to see the Japali Anjaneya Swamy Temple. This temple is dedicated to the monkey god – Hanuman. You will find a lot of devotees bathing in the pond near this temple as they believe that will wash their sins away.
A few hundred metres from there, you will see the beautiful Akasha Ganga waterfalls. The idol of Lord Venkateshwara from the Balaji Temple is washed with this water every day as it is believed to be holy. There is another theertham site here – a pool where worshippers take a dip.
Your final stop is Papavinasam which literally means ‘destruction of sins’. Papavinasam is a waterfall surrounded by a dam and a reservoir which controls the flow of water. This dam is the major source of water for the Tirumala region.
Now, you will relax with some evening tea and snacks before the car veers back to the main city of Tirupati to take you back home or to your hotel (hotel not included in the package).
Package Cost of 1 Day Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Sightseeing Trip by Cab
4 Seater / Hatchback
4 Seater / Sedan
Swift Dzire / Etios
4 Seater / Sedan
8 Seater / SUV
Innova / Xylo
7 Seater / SUV
7 Seater / SUV
Tempo Traveller (A/C)
12 Seater / Mini Bus
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Places to Visit on this One Day Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Sightseeing Trip by Car
While on this day-long cab ride, there are several points of interest that you will stop to take a closer look at:
Arguably one of the most opulent temples in the world, Sri Venkateshwara Swamy Temple (or Balaji Temple) is located in the Seshachalam Ranges of Tirumala. Spread over 16 acres of land, the temple has three grand entry gates to it.
The main entrance is called the ‘Maha Dwaram’ and is 50 feet in height. Next to it is the brass gate, then the silver gate, and ultimately, the golden entrance. Couples often visit here to pray that they conceive children. A common practice by parents who have children after their first visit here is to offer coins or silver worth the weight of their children.
This interesting natural arch is a National Geological Monument of India. In Telugu, ‘sila’ translates to ‘rock’, and ‘thoranam’ means ‘garland’. The attraction actually resembles a garland made of rocks. Measuring 8 metres in width and 3 metres in height, the arch is made of quartzite rocks.
Shila Thoranam was discovered in the 1980’s but its age is estimated to be 2.5 million years. The arch is best visible when the sky is clear. It is advisable to wait at the nearby garden if there is fog shrouding the geo-heritage monument.
This site is located right at the peak of the Narayanadri range of hills. Set in the middle of a forested area, Srivari Padalu has religious and mythological significance in Hinduism. It is believed that Lord Vishnu set his first foot forward on this hill when he visited Thirumala. In fact, he appeared in the form of Lord Venkateshwara.
The Narayanadri Hills are one of the 7 hills that make up the Tirumala Hills of Andhra Pradesh. Each of these hills is considered to be divine. Visitors have to climb up 300 steps to reach the top where a symbolic pair of footprint is made in stone.
Built some distance away from the famed Balaji Temple, Sri Venu Gopala Swamy Temple honours Lord Krishna. His statue at this shrine is particularly of his childhood. Still, he is shown as playing a flute – his favourite musical instrument. There are a couple statues flanking the central idol.
Those are of his first wife Rukmini Devi, and his third wife, Satyabhama Ammavaru. There is also a pot of butter in front of the idol of Krishna as that used to be his favourite thing to eat. This temple is open from 6 AM to 11 Am, and again from 4 PM to 8 PM.
5. Japali Anjaneya Swamy Temple
Accessible from 5:30 in the morning until 9 at night, the Japali Anjaneya Swamy Temple or Sri Bedi Anjaneya Swamy Temple is dedicated to Hanuman. As the story goes, a young Hanuman wanted to go after a camel out of Tirumala. His mother, Anjana Devi tied his hands with handcuffs to restrain him until her return.
This unusual idol of Hanuman has both his hands cuffed, unlike at other Hanuman temples where he is seen in a powerful pose, holding the mountain Dronagiri in one hand, and his mace on the other. Hanuman is a pivotal character in the epic of Ramayana.
6. Akasha Ganga
Akasha Ganga is a teertham (one of the sites for taking a holy dip to wash off sins according to Hindu mythology). Named after our galaxy, the Milky Way, this teertham is considered to be the holiest of all other teerthams in Tirumala.
Even the idol of Sri Venkateshwara is washed with the waters of Akasha Ganga. If you don’t wish to take a bath here, you can always just watch the gorgeous waterfalls. The volume of water surges in the monsoon, making it a pleasant sight to behold.
Even though this set of waterfall is natural, it is directed through the mouth of lion faced taps. Hinduism believes in multiple births, and it is said that taking a shower under these taps will cleanse one’s sins from the previous births. For the ease of devotees, changing rooms are built, and there are separate ones for male and female.
The wall that the taps jut out from is also decorated with colourful murals, making it appear very beautiful. To ensure that the water does not overflow, a reservoir is used to store the excess water and to regulate the outflow of the nearby dam.
Shopping in Tirupati
One might think that the temple-town of Tirupati would only have idols that one can bring back home. Turns out, there are quite a lot of handicraft items and traditional paintings you can buy here.
The popular artwork of Kalamkari is very popular with the ladies as these paintings are done on silk sarees and kurtas also, apart from being sold as regular paintings to be hung on walls. In this artform, the sketches are made with special pens which are filled with natural dyes. These dyes are often derivatives of vegetables.
You can also browse for silver and imitation jewellery here, mainly bangles and bracelets. Most South Indian women are fond of their jewellery, and often wear multiple necklaces and bangles to enhance their femininity.
If you wish to carry 3-dimensional mural-paintings of idols, you can consider buying the intricate paintings of Thanjavur which are outlaid with gold but have a wooden base. The addition of gems makes these paintings very heavy on the pocket.
What to Eat in Tirupati
Being a religious site, Tirupati mainly offers vegetarian food to its visitors. You might still be able to order non-veg at some restaurants. The temples of Tirupati are famous for their prasad which is a big laddoo (a typical roundel of sweet) made of besan (gram flour). They are also known to serve sweet rice, curd rice and tamarind rice on banana leaves. Rice is often served with rasam – a spicy kokum based soup which is tangy in flavour.
Tirupati is a part of Andhra Pradesh, and the spicy flavours of Telugu cuisine are evident here also. Try the different types of steamed idlis which are rice cakes. Normally served with sambhar (spicy lentil soup with drumsticks, okra and pumpkin) and liquidy coconut chutney, you will also be given podi (spice powder) here. Sometimes, masala idlis are entirely coated with podi and immersed in the chutney.
A delightfully healthy meal here is the ragi khichadi. This is made with finger millet and mixed vegetables. Some yellow lentils are also added to the mixture and it is pressure cooked, with red chilli powder and other spices for a flavoursome taste.
Puri is another item that is quite a hit with everyone. The puris in Andhra Pradesh are mostly made of ragi and whole wheat, making them healthier than the maida versions. These are dark brown in colour, and not white like in the rest of India.
Puris are eaten with different types of pappu which is thick lentil paste mixed with vegetables such as ridge gourd (turai), bottle gourd (lauki) and others which can easily be boiled with lentils in a pressure cooker.
Curd is not only used as an accompaniment with rice, but is also an important ingredient in cooking certain vegetables in the Andhra style. The use of yogurt or curd brings down the level of spice in the dish, making it more palatable for those who can’t eat spicy food.
The Telugu people are also quite big on pickles. Mango pickle, locally known as ‘avakaya’, is the most popular. Pickles are usually eaten with rice or rotis. It is rare to consume pickle with idli or dosa.
How to Reach Tirupati
There are multiple ways to reach Tirupati. Depending on your convenience and budget, you may opt for any of the following:
Flights: Tirupati has its own airport which operates only domestic flights. Located in Renigunta, the Tirupati International Airport has scheduled flights to the nearby cities of Chennai, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Bangalore and even Mumbai and Delhi. If you are flying from other locations, you can easily find a connecting flight on the same PNR.
Trains: Tirupati Railway Station is the city’s only railway station. Dozens of superfast, express and regular trains service the city of Tirupati. It is possible to reach here from most parts of India via trains.
Buses: Tirupati can be reached from the nearby cities of Chennai, Vellore, Bangalore, etc. via long-distance buses that are run by private operators.
Car: The roads that lead to Tirupati are mostly excellent in condition. Driving can be a very exhilarating experience here. But if you are not so fond of driving, you can hire a cab to take you there.
Tirupati is 254 km from Bengaluru (or Bangalore), 109 km from Vellore, 136 km from Chennai, 400 km from Tiruchirappalli, 557 km from Hyderabad, 234 km from Pondicherry (or Puducherry) and 400 km from Mysore (or Mysuru).