It is a wonderful feeling when you see Lord Balaji which cant be described in words !
However, it doesnt come easy – be prepared for long queues, madness of the devotees, constant pushing in the queue, and overall the way the volunteers hurry you up within the 5 seconds that you get to see the Lord.
After reading on the internet, and asking around, we took the ticket for Sheegra darshan @ INR300 per person. “Sheegra” means quick and that took us 5 hours to finish the darshan. Probably if you stand in the queue at 05:00AM, you have a chance for a quicker darshan. We were there at 06:15 AM and by that time, a lot of people were already in line. We managed to come out around 11:30 AM.
Some good things –
Overall, didnt find too many instances of people jumping and bypassing queues. It was well-controlled with one or two exceptions.
The place was very well-maintained and clean, much better than many places I have visited in spite of the crowd it handles.
After 2-3 hours in the queue, they served Upma in paper plates and not all, but a lot of them got that. It was really welcoming when the kids began to feel hungry. We were hungry too when the biscuits do not help beyond a point.
In general, toilets also were clean and well-maintained and there are access to toilets in the queue now and then.
Volunteers were less pushy this time without the ususal “jaragandi” shouts (meaning move in telugu).
Tips for the first-timers – For those who are planning to visit for the first time, this might just help –
Keep away from touts and middle men.
Do not carry mobiles, camera and other electronic items.
Have a small backpack with just water and some eatables like biscuits, etc etc. That is allowed.
A wallet/purse is allowed.
Wear full-pants, dhoti, pyjamas, etc. Shorts are NOT allowed for adults. I saw a few people being asked to go out of the queue because of this.
If you want to buy something, buy it from the shops @ the shopping complex, or beside it, not from people trying to sell them on roads.
After the darshan, buy a cover for laddus first for Rs 2 and then go to the laddu counter 🙂 Or you will end up struggling to buy a cover with the laddus in hand 🙂
If you have a car, make sure you know the name of the place where it is parked. The place where you enter the queue and the place where you come out after darshan are not the same. You have to find your way by asking unless you know the place well. Experience 🙂
You can have a glimpse of the counting of rupee notes and you will know why He is called rich God.
Overall, It is a feeling which has to be experienced to be believed !