Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TIRUPATI- THE TEMPLE TOWN -A TOWN THAT DOES NOT SLEEP



TIRUPATI- THE TEMPLE TOWN-
A TOWN THAT DOES NOT SLEEP




(Temple of Lord Venkateswara located in the hill town TIRUPATI/ Tirumala of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is built on the Venkatadri hill, one of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills (Saptagiri in Sanskrit). The presiding deity of the temple, Lord Venkateswara, is also known by other names - Balaji or Srinivasa..The temple is reportedly the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most visited holy place in the world.)


After a long and tiring hopper flight, with a 50 minute halt at Hyderabad, from Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi in the North of India to Tirupati down South and other activities on arrival, I was in a deep sleep when a strange rumbling woke me up. The time by my watch on the side table was 3 A.M.

Curiosity won over the desire to turn and fall back to sleep, I parted the curtains and witnessed a strange phenomena; a line of buses, nose to tail, chock full of people, all proceeding in the same direction, headed towards the Temple of Lord Venkateswara. Sandwiched in between and where ever possible were cars of all makes and sizes, scooters, motor cycles, three wheelers and the more devoted, barefoot, trudging in the same direction travelling on the road just across my road facing room.

Leaving the cool confines of my A.C. room and in my ruffled kurta pajama, I walk down the long corridor, take the lift down to the lobby already full of the more affluent, awaiting their cars and limousines . The two lifts are busy disgorging guests from upper floors: fat parents, lissome girls, press ganged teenage boys, shabbily garbed in loose T shirts with baggy shorts, sleepy with disinterest pasted on their demeanour. Large families, singles and newly-weds all on the same mission.

Some of them, with full heads of dark and curly hair and others with thick mane of shiny hair will soon return, sans their crowning glory with shining tops, having offered their most cherished possession to Balaji.

On a similar mission I see a large contingent of the IETE Council members, assembled for the MTS (Mid Term Symposium) and council meeting scheduled at Tirupati with their consorts, some limping and shuffling uncomfortably, due vagaries of age and assorted ailments, but with determination written on face for the climb and traversing of the long serpentine path to the ten seconds, allowed to face, pray, beg and say what one wanted from the idol of Lord Venkateswara.

Braving the searing heat of 43 degree Celsius, I walked out of the lobby of Hotel Fortune Kences towards the hotel gate bang on to the Renigunta road to watch the strange spectacle from close up. However, after three minutes of torture, with burning and smarting eyes from the diesel particles that has found place under the eyelids, I make a hasty retreat to the comfort of my room.

The double glass glazed window and the thick curtains are fighting a losing battle with the rumble of traffic outside, the banshee of the innumerable vehicle horns, some blowing in unison others piercingly individual . The annoying jingle repeated ad nauseam before and after the recorded announcements from the PA system of the APSRTC bus terminal, the buses emerging in an unbroken stream like ants from there subterranean abode. The Tirupati railway station is also within walking distance, not that I have walked it to, but it also makes its presence felt with the rumble and tooting of long whistles from the passenger or the frequent goods trains stopping or passing through.

Getting out of the confines of the AC room for a change my forays outside has been few and far between. Tirupati, with no respite from traffic, at least in the vicinity of the hotel, is the most polluted town. Even in the Metropolis the road traffic tapers down by 3 A.M but not so in Tirupati, “The Town That Never Sleeps”, and giving little time for the air to recharge.

The inauguration of the MTS on the theme “Taking Telecom & IT Revolution to Rural India - Bridging the Digital Divide”, where during the technical sessions I am also a speaker, is held in Shri Venketswara University auditorium, located in the green pollution free campus, so different from the main town but a welcome change. My Committee meeting, the first one scheduled for 9.30 A.M, has only me, the chairman, present at the venue: the Board Room of the Hotel. Members returning from their late night forays have more important agenda: wash, clean, change, breakfast and more importantly, in some cases, catch up on the missed winks.

MTS over, the committee meetings attended or not attended, having made their statements and presence felt, getting excused from the Council meeting mid-way to catch the return trains or flights, I am one of the few left ‘til the end of the day.

The hectic construction activity visible on the drive to the Airport for my return flight confirmed that development will soon catch-up and engulf Tirupati too. The vast open spaces would soon become concrete jungles.

For once my jacket and tie, ‘til now the butt of jokes from some of the casually and if I may say so improperly dressed council members, came in handy. The Airport Manger personally escorted me to the A/C Lounge to await the delayed flight while leaving other members to wait with sundry passengers in the sweltering hall with ceiling fans on the blink. This only strengthened my resolve to be dressed appropriately for the occasion whatever the environmental conditions are. One can always dress down if required, however the reverse is not possible and can leave one embarrassed.

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4 Comments:

At April 14, 2010 at 1:32 PM , Blogger Ram kumar said...

Dear Brig Saheb,
Your write up on Tirupati made a very interesting reading. At least you could go out of hotel for few mts. Weather was so bad that I could not venture to move out. I hope you were satisfied with over all management of MTS.
Regards
R.K.Gupta

 
At January 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM , Blogger Grand World said...

Awesome post, its wonderful information about tirupati and nearby Hotels, Thanks for information. Each and every Hindu should visit tirupathi, at least once in his or her life. Tirupati Hotel

 
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At January 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM , Blogger Hai Baji said...

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