Travel, especially the pilgrimage are the great pleasure for Sunil Kunnoth. He loves to wander with his spiritual sojourns.
Though Keralites (Malayalees) make great pilgrimages, their journey to Tirupati, the busiest and the richest temple in India, is comparatively less. They make several trips to various spiritual circuits of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, yet most of them skip Tirupati for reasons best known to them.
Why Do Malayalees keep such a trend? My research on the topic gave me some ideas, which I brief here. The prime reason may be their thought that Andhra is a far away place. In a way, they are justified for both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka shares its borders with Kerala at various places. Naturally, they feel a proximity to these states. And in that sense, Andhra or for that matter Tirupati is a distant place. But is that so actually? No, in fact, Tirupati is even closer than Chennai, Malayalees' favorite and usual travel spot. Can you believe the fact that Tirupati can be reached within ten hours from Palakkad? For the Palakkad-Tirupati trip, the distance is 526 km and the journey time is mere 10 hours. Feeling happy? Fine, that is the fact.
Fear of language may be another reason. Though the language of Andhra is Telugu and it is what the main language of Tirupati too, people here can follow some other languages well. Tamil is widely used here. They also follow Hindi and English. Since most of the Malayalees have some basic knowledge of Tamil, communication is never a problem here. Above all, the people at this temple town are very friendly and help you when a need arises.
This article is to help pilgrims from Kerala to reach Tirupati saving time, money and labor. I often find and wonder why Kerala people go all the way to Chennai to reach Tirupati. It is a sheer waste of time, money and very tiring too. This article will help all who travel from Mangalore and Malabar side and also the pilgrims from Trivandrum-Ernakulam-Thrissur side. I have two sets of the travel itineraries for both Malabar and Travancore travelers.
The basic thing you need to understand is that Tirupati is easily accessible from Katpadi. The distance between Katpadi and Tirupati is just 105 km, which can be reached in two to three hours. Passenger Trains take maximum two and half hours and Express Trains just two hours or even less, to say 90 minutes, for the journey. You can also go by bus or taxi to Tirupati from here and the time taken is just two hours for taxi and for the bus, it is three hours. The Express Bus covers the distance within two and half hours and the charge is Rs.97/- per head. The bus will drop you before the Katpadi Railway station while you return. When Tirupati is just 105 km from Katpadi, why should you unnecessarily make a long journey to Chennai, 129 km away? Not only that, again you need to travel a distance of 151 km from Chennai to reach Tirupati. (The fact is that you can reach Tirupati even before you reach Chennai).
- How to Reach Tirupati and Make A Comfortable Darshan
Tirupati in Andhra is the busiest pilgrim circuit in India. It is also world's one of the richest shrines. This article gives you certain guidelines on how to reach and make a pleasant darshan here.
- How to Book Tirupati Darshan Ticket Online-A Step by...
Tirupati Balaji temple is the world's most busiest temple. Also known as Venkateshwara temple, it is the second richest temple in India. Situated in Tirumala of Andhra Pradesh, it is a must watch.
Tips for Booking Train Ticket
Though convenient, direct trains to Tirupati are almost fully booked. Hence getting a reservation is difficult unless you book very early.
You can easily get a reservation to Katpadi. Since there are several trains running between Katpadi and Tirupati (See the Table), this will be the best option.
Since most of the time direct trains are fully reserved well in advance, you need to reserve up to Katpadi in any Chennai bound trains from your boarding point. Then reserve Katpadi-Tirupati ticket, all through online. Actually, there is no need of reserving a ticket for Katpadi-Tirupati as it just 90 minutes journey for express and 3 hours for Passenger (local) trains.
Tirupati and Tirupati West are different stations. You need to alight at Tirupati. The Tirupati West is but about just 2 km before reaching Tirupati.
Renigunda railway station is another option to go to Tirupati, which is 10 km away. Some long service trains pass through that route skipping Tirupati.
Best plan for pilgrims from Mangalore/Malabar side
Reserve your ticket to Katpadi in Train No. 12686 Chennai Express. The train starts its journey from Mangalore Central at 16.20 (4.20 pm) and arrives Katpadi at 5.43 am. (It reaches Kozhikode at 20.10 (8.10 pm) and Palakkad at 22.45 (10.45 pm).
Your next train is Train No. 57404 Katpadi-Tirupati Passenger, which starts at 06.15 am and reaches Tirupati at 09.10 am. Since the train starts from Katpadi, there is no problem in finding seats. It is economy too with a fare of Rs.25/- only. No reservation required in this train. You can get the ticket from the station easily as you have a time gap of half an hour here. If you have a direct ticket to Tirupati from your boarding point, then you can just resume your journey. In that case, you can continue the journey on the Passenger train without any problem. But I must warn you one thing that the journey in the Passenger train is not comfortable. Finding a seat is sometimes difficult since it has only three or maximum five compartments only. So what I advise you is to travel in the Express trains departing at 7.25 am. Its charge is Rs.50/- per head.
For Pilgrims from Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Thrissur side, they have some easy option since there are three direct trains to Tirupati running daily. These are Sabari Express (No.17229/17230), Cape Mumbai Express (No.16382/16381) and Kerala Express (No.12625/12626). which reach Tirupati at 00.30, 03.15 and 03.55 am respectively.
From Katpadi, apart from the Passenger train, you can also try any of the following Express Trains running on daytime:
1) Train No. 16787 Ten Jammu Exp. (Leaves Katpadi at 7.25 reaches Tirupati at 9 am)
2) Train No.16317 Himsagar Exp. (7.25 - 9.33)
3) Train No.16780 Rameswaram Tirupati Ex. (7.42 – 10.35)
4) Train No.12659 Gurudev Exp. (7.25 – 9.33)
Note: The departure time at Katpadi and arrival time at Tirupati are mentioned in brackets above. Also, check the following tables for more information on Passenger Trains between Katpadi and Tirupati to and fro.
The most notable point while booking railway ticket, whether you come from Mangalore/Kozhikode side or Thiruvananthapuram/Thrissur side, the best option will be definitely a break journey from Katpadi since the direct trains (to Tirupati) are most of the time fully booked. But, you won't find any difficulty in finding a reservation in Chennai Mail and Chennai Express up to Katpadi. As already mentioned Katpadi-Tirupati journey is short (105 km) and there are plenty of trains plying between these two stations. Some Express trains just take one and half hours to cover the trip. You can check these facts by entering the IRCTC site. To help you further I have given the timetable of trains running between Katpadi and Tirupati and vice versa. Please study the same and arrange your travel plan accordingly.
Food & Accommodation
It is a relief that we get decent vegetarian food both at Tirupati and Tirumala and that too at a nominal rate. Though the food served here is mainly South Indian. Other cuisines like Punjabi and North Indian also available. And for accommodation, you have two options-either you stay at Tirumala (where the temple situates) or at Tirupati. The best option is staying at Tirupati as it has a variety of hotels suiting all pockets. Also, this will help you to explore other temples and attractions in Tirupati. In fact, the rates at Tirupati are so cheap when compared to other pilgrimage centers. You can find plenty of budget hotels at places around the railway station and the APSRTC bus stand.
At Tirumala, the lodging facilities are fully controlled by the TTD and to reserve your rooms, you have to book online in advance. Getting an accommodation through online is rather tedious. Most of the times, the rooms are fully booked. You can opt rooms for prices ranging from Rs.100/- to Rs.2000/- at Tirumala and the range starts from Rs.200/- and goes up to Rs.1000/- at Tirupati. You can find more information about the accommodation at the Homepage of TTD or at the following link: http://www.tirumala.org/Accommodation.aspx. The rates offered by TTD are attractive and the facilities are decent. But don't worry the private hotels also offer rooms at attractive prices but only at Tirupati, whereas TTD offers accommodation both at Tirumala and Tirupati.
Comfortable darshan and offering of Seva are other concerns for a pilgrim. You need to be well aware of these facts too before proceeding your journey. But don't worry, I have written some detailed articles with relevant information, all based on my several trips to the hill temple better known as Tirupati Venkateswara Temple. Links to these articles are given in the box column above. Please read the same for more information on Tirupati.
My Other Hubs/Articles on India's Great Temples & Pilgrimage Centers
- India's Ten Magnificent and Most Popular Temples
India is a great nation with lot of tourism potentialities. Apart from other attractions, it has a fine scope for making some great pilgrimage as the nation houses some wonderful temples. Read more.
- Thanjavur, A Classic Display of Arts and Ancient Dra...
Thanjavur is the 'Rice Bowl' of Tamil Nadu. It is also a temple city. The Brihadeeswarar Temple here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanjavur and the temple are related to art and architecture.
- Trichy, The All Religious Hub of Tamil Nadu, South I...
Trichy, a major city in Tamil Nadu in India is considered to be a great hub for all religious people. Hindus, Christians and Muslims have their important religious places in and around Trichy.
- Tamil Nadu- The Land of Temples
Tamil Nadu has the correct ingredients for a good travel destination. What makes it a different travel spot is the presence of a large number of temples in the state. Read this article for more.
- Kanyakumari: The Land's End of India And The Conflue...
Kanyakumari is the land's end of India and the confluence place of three sees. Swami Vivekananda got enlightenment from the medication he made on the rock here. A beautiful and must see place.
- The Twelve Holy Jyotirlinga Temples in India
The twelve Jyotirlinga temples are very sacred places for Hindus and considered the most revered pilgrimage circuit in India. Devotees, who visit these places are believed to get great blessing.
- The Sacred Places of Hindus-Some General Information...
Pilgrimage is soul searching experience. All religious people love it. Hindus are the most traveling folks in the world. Of the vibrant pilgrimage centers Char Dham is the main attraction.
- What Makes Odisha A Different Travel Destination in ...
Odisha, a state on the eastern part of India attracts tourists from across the glob. The Golden Triangle of Puri-Bhubaneswar-Konark is its main point of fascination. Odisha pleases all travelers.
- Konark Sun Temple in Odisha - A Display of India's ...
Sun Temple, Konark in Odisha is a great monument. It is now a world heritage site declared by UNESCO. Also, a fine display of India's ancient temple architectural brilliance and a great tourist hub
- Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Kerala, South India- A Un...
Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala in South India is a different and vibrant shrine welcoming all religious people. Though the pilgrimage is too tough, millions visit the temple every year.
- Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, The Most Visited And W...
Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala is a famous and most visited temple in South India. Millions of devotees visit and pray before Guruvayurappan. It is one of the richest temples in Kerala.
- Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple-A Unique One in...
Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple in Kerala has lot of special features. The temple welcomes all kinds of people. Situated on the banks of Valapattanam river, it attracts pilgrims and tourists.
- Kollur Mookambika Temple in South India-A Holy Place...
Kollur Mookambika temple in South India is a resort for writers, singers and artists for it is believed that a visit to the temple will help you improve your artistic and creative pursuits. Read on..
- How to Reach Kollur Mookambika Temple
Kollur Mookambika is a famous pilgrimage center in Udupi district in Karnataka state. A visit to this temple is believed to improve your skill in music, writing and academic performance. Read more..
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2014 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 16, 2014:
Thanks for stopping by and leaving some comments on my hub. But as you know it is exclusively written for Malayalis. It will also help people from certain places of Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Since you are from Mumbai, I request you to read my article meant for the whole Indians titled "How-to-Reach-Tirupati-and-Make-A-Comfortable-Darshan". It has more information and tips to make your Tirupati trip a comfortable one. Hope you will find the same and plan your journey accordingly. Please find the following hub also for more information: "How-to-Book-Tirupati-Darshan-Ticket-Online-Step-by-Step-Guide" Thanks for your voting and sharing.
Radhika Sreekanth from Mumbai,India on December 16, 2014:
Tirupati temple is in my wish list and if I get a chance to visit, I will certainly follow the instructions specified in this hub. It's surely a great guide to the Malayalis to travel to Tirupati.
Voted up, useful and interesting. Sharing in Hubpages.
Skp on December 12, 2014:
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 06, 2014:
I am happy that you had visited Tirupati and enjoyed your trip. Thanks for stopping by and leaving some comments. Thanks also for voting and pinning.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 06, 2014:
Another wonderful travel hub shared by you!
I am fortunate to have visited Tirupati twice, although not from Kerala but from Bombay.
Thanks for sharing this informative hub, voted up and pinned on my travel board!
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 05, 2014:
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a few words as comments. Glad to know that you have visited the shrine half a dozen times. Thank you for sharing on twitter also. God bless you.
Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on December 05, 2014:
Helpful Hub! I have visited Tirupati half a dozen times. Sharing on twitter.
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 05, 2014:
Happily noted your comments. I am glad to hear it from you that it has interesting facts and are helpful to the pilgrims. Thank you for the tweet and sharing. I hope you reach this holy temple once. God bless you.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 05, 2014:
I tweeted and shared! I enjoyed learning so much more about another great travel destination from you. Interesting facts and very helpful indeed.