He who never sleeps

"Good morning!  You have one hour to get refreshed, take bath.  Be ready and come down here at 2.30", said the guide boarding our bus.  By 2.30, he meant 2.30 AM.

We were in Tirupati, as part of the APSTDC package tour to have a darshan of Lord Venkateswara.  The facilities in Srinivasam pilgrim amenities center were impressive - clean rooms and toilets, working lift, power and water supply - Sabarimala should learn from here.

From the Volvo bus which transported us from Bangalore, we relocated to an ordinary bus, better suited for Ghat travel.   This embarked on the climb to the top of the hills, but not before being subject to a security check in the checkpost.  At 3.30 AM, we could see about 500 vehicles in queues, being subject to security check. Luckily APSRTC buses had separate queues.

We were to have Sheegra darshan (literally meaning fast darshan) - a darshan, which cost Rs.300/- and was available at specific times on each day.  The guide was efficient and soon we were passing through the labrynth of waiting rooms - without needing to wait.  In less than twenty minutes we were face to face with Lord Venkateswara - if 10-15 metres distance can be called that.

The last time I visited, it was only the background noise of "move move" (in telugu) by the temple personnel, but this time there was a new dimension to it - physical.  Push. A classic case of physical abuse where pilgrims were just pushed to move them in the queue.  Incredible! I wondered (later) what would happen if someone fell down in the push.  Also, how would they recruit these people - who can push best, the fastest, the most...

Anyway, having got the fleeting glimpse of the Lord, we came out - it was only 5.30 AM. 

Lord Balaji has to work overtime to cater to an average of 50,000 pilgrims that visit him daily.  No wonder He has no time to sleep.  If it were other institutions, you would soon have branches in all towns, internet and email access to Him, twitter and facebook pages...  All these are present, but are not a substitute for the physical darshan (with the physical abuse that goes with it - unless you are a VVIP).

As I whiled away the time awaiting the bus to take us back, I wondered about introducing a quota system for pilgrims, with a view to reducing rush (and thereby allowing Him some sleep).   You could book a slot, await your turn. If you have visited Him this year, your next turn may come only a year or two later.  The new biometric system (UUID) could help implement this flawlessly.


  1. You won't even come to know that it's one year or more since i last visited the Temple.

  2. Very nice blog indeed! I would say you are super lucky to have finished the darshan within 30 minutes :)


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