01st March 2016

Surprisingly, I slept well. Woke up just as my alarm went off sharp at 3.30am. Washed up, still in the clothes I wore yesterday morning. Cleared the room, tidying the place a little, packed up my things and was out of the room in a flash. I was so glad to be out of that room, being alone, I hated it. Once I was out, it was so quiet. No hustle and bustle to get ready to go to the Kovil. Weren't there other pilgrims in this hotel? Are they not hurrying to the Kovil? Their elevator at the place was old fashioned with a grill gate to shut. I just took the stairs as its something I know. Didn't want to be stuck in an elevator right now, probably the last thing I need. Where have all these people gone? Down at the reception one man was sleeping there. Told him that I will be checking out now. But he said just go on to the Kovil and come back, then you can check out. I told him I won't be coming back, I will be going back directly from the Kovil. But still he just said to go and come back. I have paid them INR1000/= for my stay. INR500/= for the room and INR500/= a refundable deposit. And now these people are not paying it back to me. What the F*** is this?! I was starting to get annoyed. I have gone through enough for one trip right now, that I didn't have time to deal with bull****. Then an elderly man came up to me and spoke to me in Hindi. "Madam, don't worry, they will pay your deposit back. Just go to the Kovil and come back at your leisure.Your bags and room will be kept till then". I told him I don't have any bags and I wish to check out, but he assured that there is no hurry for me to do that and I will get my money back when I come after the Kovil. Ok, I had the receipt with me anyway, so nothing to worry about. I didn't want to cause a scene, more so didn't want to miss my bus. The hotel will be here when I come back.20160524_093223

This is the card of the place I stayed. I would definitely recommend it to anyone to stay when in Tirupati. Click here for the Website

Crossed the road and to the bus stand right opposite.  There were crowd already lined up to the Kovil. I asked someone which is the bus to the Tirupathi Kovil, I was shown a bus and a que waiting to get on aboard. When I was standing in the que a person who looked like the conductor told me I had to get a ticket from the counter. Went again and bought a ticket. Walked back to the bus and sat next to a lady. I asked her if it was the bus that goes to the Kovil and if it goes all the way. She said she is also going there to do puja, so to stay with her.

It was still dark and the bus went quite far. It felt like a rural area, although all I could see was darkness outside. It must have been an hours ride by bus. It was cold. Thank God for my newly bought covered shoes. I can't understand why I forgot my dupatta [shawl]. The lady seated next to me guided me through the journey. Once we got off, she asked me to follow her and took me all the way to the Kovil. She was like a God's send. She dropped me right at the entrance and said that she will join her group. She was limping on one leg. A small stature woman. But with a big heart. After dropping me she just vanished. At the entrance in the dim light of the lamp posts I could see pilgrims sleeping all over the place. There is no puja at this time for sure. So now what? I started walking not knowing what to do or where to go, but I couldn't just stay in one place. I had to find out what happens now. I walked towards the Kovil. It was a huge area. For some reason I didn't take pictures. I can't understand why. I just started walking around the Temple trying to find a place of entrance. I could hear some chanting happening. There were some policemen. I was confused. Asked a policeman how to enter the Kovil. He told me to go straight and turn right and then left and go straight. I went along the directions. But according to his directions I would be going out of the temple area. Therefore, instead of taking a left turn, I turned right and just walked around. Still no entrance. There were other pilgrims dressed in traditional pilgrimage clothing. I asked a few people, but no one seemed to know how to get in to a Darshan. It was like hopeless. I walked all around the Kovil and still was outside with no knowledge of how to get in. It wasn't that cold but the place was wet. Clean though. After a full circle I started following some direction boards. They directed to a place to leave shoes. But still even they confused me. The final one directed me out of the Kovil. I just followed. Some people were not very eager to help me. They looked at me in a weird way. I was a misfit for sure. I didn't understand why. After walking around and getting lost, after about half hour of wandering I found a place that said FREE FOOTWEAR KEEPING PLACE. Ok, this is a start. I went there, and there was no one inside. But the light was on. I called "Suniye" "Hello". Nope, nothing. Again I called, Then some male voice, angry, asked me what I wanted. I said I want to keep my shoes. So he said just to leave the shoes and go. I was like "huh?". "Open the door, leave the shoes and go" he said. Was pissed at me for disturbing his sleep. So I kept my shoes there and left. Then went back to the Kovil area where I was wondering about before. Asked a group of female pilgrims "Sarvadarshan" [meaning the show for all a.k.a. free showing of the God].. I got that word from one of the boards I saw in the area. There has to be a free darshan after all. Again back to where I started and was walking around the temple. Asking from people where to go. Finally ended up at the same place where I took a right turn instead of a left like the policeman instructed. Took a left turn as other people were going there. Strange because it was outside of the temple and not in. Why are all these people going OUT of the temple? I followed. Then there was this route, with boards to give directions. Where to go if you have tickets, where to go for free viewing. Sarvadarshan, that's where I should be going. Just followed people, asking when I was lost. Finally was at a long que. HERE are all the pilgrims! I was starting to wonder where they were. If it was a pilgrim place and being India, it HAD to be overcrowded. The lack of people were giving me goosebumps. But now everything made sense. I was obviously at the wrong place. In the meanwhile everyone else had headed to the right place. Although the que was long, it moved fast. There were places where men and women lined up separately, which made things even easier. But atleast I am in the right place now and hoping to see the Darshan.

Original post on www.thesathiworld.wordpress.com