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It was indeed a very long drive and by the time we reached the Tirupati borders, it was 8.30 pm . At the borders, we had to pay a state entrance permit for a fee of INR 2200 . This is interesting as no receipt is issued by these officers and no one dares to challenge them. I was told that should one challenge them, then they tend to get fussy and deny you entry and tell you to go back to Chennai to sort some papers out which is all a hassle. I heard ...
... complex from the distance after we got back to the Jeeps. On the other hand, Tirumala is one of rather few temples where non-Hindus are allowed into the inner sanctuary where the idols are kept. After taking off our shoes and paying for darshan (devotional visit) we sat in one of the cage areas for a while until we were able to join one of the queues snaking through fences and waiting in the crowd.
Apparently it wasn't a particularly busy day and it ...
... and arrived inside. We pulled off to the side to re-group as the men in our group were still were going through the checkpoint (for once there was more men than women and they had to wait). Once re-grouped we joined the crowd once again and got pushed along the passage to inner sanctum. Reaching the inner sanctum there were workers there to push you along so people really only had about 3 seconds to say their prayers as they were pushed past. Immediately afterward ...
... and a silver hat. We then were given a small bowl of curd rice, and were able to receive a laddu (a local sweet ball made with ghee), if we handed in our tickets. It was a great finish to an amazing experience. Hindu people are amazingly devoted people who go through a lot to worship their gods. This was one of the most unique visits to a Hindu temple we have had the pleasure of experiencing. It took hours, we had to jump through hoops, but all in all, it was so worth ...
... if we were willing to pay 300 rupees each (like 4 €). Hmm. Normal queue, at least 10 hours. Basement queue, between 1,5 to 4 hours. Tough choice, or?
We paid and got lucky so after only an hour and a half we were passing by the very holy god statue. Along the way there were a lot of other stuff happening like putting your baby (or yourself) and a big pair of scales and then donate something that was as heavy. It could be ...