Rajesh Travels, Bangalore - Tirupati package of Rajesh travels sucks
We three friends decided to hit Tirupthi over the weekend (07/24) and chose the package tour offered by Rajesh travels to make our trip hassle free.
We boarded the bus at Jaynagar 9th block at 7:45 PM and the first impression of the bus was good. Little did we know that it will be the only part of the package we will be satisfied about. The bus stopped some where in Kalasipalyam to get it’s top loaded with stuff to be transported to don’t know where and the whole loading process took 2 hours. I was cursing myself for ignoring my earlier experience of travelling in a private bus where again they had made us wait for almost 2 hours to load it’s top. Whenever you travel in a private bus, ensure that you ask the operators about the exact time it will start from Bangalore; else you will end up wasting time like we did. Anyway the bus headed to Anand Rao circle where we were supposed to continue our journey in another bus.
We waited for around 30 minutes for the bus to arrive and when it finally did we had our first major tryst with reality of Rajesh travels. Around 45-50 people where waiting to board the bus which was supposed to be an A/C Volvo. First of all it was not a Volvo and secondly our seat was second from last and the push back button was not working for one of our seats and thirdly it was not the bus which would take us all the way to Tirupathi. At Hoskote, there was another bus waiting for us and we were woken up from our sleeps at 12:00 in the midnight to embark the 3rd bus enroute to our destination. At around 4:00 AM we reached Tirupathi and the lights switched on and our beloved tour guide welcomed us to Tirupathi and started barking out few instructions in a language comprehendible only by him. It was neither Kannada nor Telugu nor Hindi nor English but all of them mixed up to make our lives worse. As people started getting down from the bus, we thought it would be in our best interests to do what other people were doing and decided to get down from the bus taking our entire luggage. We were in for a reprimand from the tour guide and bus driver for picking up the luggage to buy the darshan tickets. Realization dawned on us; we were at the foot of Tirumala and bus had stopped so that we could stand in the queue and buy the darshan tickets. It was a very wrong assumption we had made that the package tour included all the arrangements required for a hassle free darshan of lord Venkateshwara. Standing in the first never ending queue of Tirupathi yatra, we learnt that all the tickets to VIP darshan were sold out and all that was remaining was free darshan tickets. Wow! What a way to start our day. After standing in the queue for around 120 minutes in the wee hours, we secured the darshan tickets. Coming up next was the “resort” where we were supposed to freshen up and get ready to go to the temple. “Awful” would be an understatement for the short accommodation and breakfast we were provided.
Trivia: Huge tourist buses can’t climb the 7 hills of Tirumala. So after a brief wait of 30 minutes in the scorching sun, we got into an APSRTC bus which would take us to the hill top. Don’t miss the view of the valley on the way. It is legendary.
We reached the hill top, submitted all our electronics, footwear and headed straight to the temple. There were lots of pep talks by our useless tour guide and this time we tried really hard and understood what we actually wanted to say.
There we were in the next never ending queue of Tirupathi and this time we were seated in the queue for around 2.5 hours, . The temple gates were expected to open at 12:15 and we were there in front of the gate by 10:00, so we had no option but to wait. When the gates finally opened, there was lot of chaos with people pushing each other to get ahead in the queue. After going through all the queues we reached the main temple and we had a good darshan of the lord and the extraordinary temple. The sight of the almighty made us forget all the ordeals we faced to reach there.
Our rendezvous with queues was not over yet. To get the famous Tirupathi ladoo prasad we had to go through another huge queue and ultimately when we got out of the temple with the prasadam it was 3:30 PM. Our tour guide gave us the number of the bus that would take us down hill and vanished into thin air. We sat there all hungry and sick for another hour in the bus, waiting for it to start. It did start, but at 5:00 PM. 6:00 PM was lunch time for us and the place was again the same resort. Not sure if food was not bad or we were very hungry to distinguish between good and bad food. We hogged whatever was provided and were finally happy that the long day would be soon over. Wait! Our destiny had other plans. The breaks of the bus ( again, not the one which brought us to tirupati ) which had to bring us back to Bangalore were jammed and the search for mechanic was on. Thanks to all the guys who were part of this unfortunate group who chose Rajesh travels to visit Tirupathi, the bus started after they all gave a hand to push the bus and relieve the breaks.
We reached Bangalore around 12:15 and were stranded in Anand rao circle as it was the last stop and they didn’t have any provision for dropping people to the places where they picked up from. By god’s grace, we found an auto driver who agreed to bring us home in the middle of the night and he didn’t demand unreasonable fee. What a relief it was to reach home after the pathetic package tour.
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