Being in Bangalore and not visiting the vatican of India, TIRUPATI, is like being on the beach and not going inside the water. So i thought let me not waste this opportunity and go for it. Frankly speaking was not very keen on this but out of curiosity thought of visiting it. After all Lord Venkateswara has outsed Vatican , recently and has now become the richest God of world. Wow! Another feather in Mother India's cap.
Anyways, being new to the city and never having visited this holy place before, me and my hubby decided to opt for a registered Travel Agency. Finally we managed to go for one such agency which was recommended by our colleagues.
The tension and the burden of doing things on our own was relieved when we were offered a very attractive and reasonable package by this agency. It assured us of having VIP darshan (within 10 mins on arrival), giving food and accomidating us in a deluxe hotel plus the journey of to and fro by VOLVO. It sure sounded great and i started looking forward to this trip of mine.
We were asked to reach the pick up point sharp at 6.30pm, as the starting time was 7 pm sharp. Well having incorporated Deutschland's habit of reaching at destination point before time me, my hubby and my 5 yr old daughter arrived at Madiwala around 6.15 pm.
Eagerly we were waiting to board the bus. Very soon around 15 more passengers joined us and 6.15 became 7.15, 7.15 became 8.15. Still there was no sign of our VOLVO. We tried asking the officals when the bus is arriving and they kept on murmuring one thing, bus 5 min aur, bus 5 min aur. Finally we were asked to borad the bus at 10 pm and we all rushed towards it. Instead of VOLVO we saw small mini bus and when i inquired what happened the conductor said you are boarding VOLVO from Martahalli point. Ok we borded the mini bus, as had no choice.
We left Marthalli juction at 11.30 pm and when we asked the conductor when would you stop for dinner as our kid is feeling hungry, he replied ......Kya sahabh itna deer ho gaya abh bus Tirupati jake he ruke gee. We were zapped, pleaded to stop for 10 mins so that the kiddos get to eat anything but our pleas fell on deaf ear. Luckily we were carrying some eatables with us and my baby managed to sleep after eating in the bus. Strangely there were about 5-6 more kids in our bus and none of thier parents objected to which we had raised our voice.
Somehow we were given stinking blankets and at about 4.30 am in the morning we reached our Deluxe hotel at Tirupati. We were told that within ½ an hour board the bus again, as we will be leaving for darshan at Padmavati temple. So we had to freshen up and eat our breakfast too within the time given. We were given room no 102 and the moment we entered the room we noticed the bed and the linen was stinking and dirty. Mosquitoes were romancing around, fan was out of service and AC was missing. Went inside the washroom, another shock, no water and no toileteries. Managed to sneak in another room, took shower and rushed for dinning hall. There wada and idli were waiting for us.
We finished darshan at Padmavati Temple by 8 am and then we rushed for the darshan of Lord Venkateswara. For reaching there we had to change to another bus and it took it around 30 mins to reach the Tirumala Hills. On reaching our Raju guide handed Rs.300 to one passenger named Mr.Avinash and told him to stand in the Q for SHEEGRA DARSHAN and purschase the ticket. Like us he got zapped too. Why are you asking us to buy the tickets which might take the whole day, on seeing the no of devoteese, when our travel agency had promised us to provide us with VIP pass for darshan.?.
Raju guide was in no mood to listen either to Avinash, Siddharth or to me. He took 45 passengers alongwith him and asked all of us to stand in the Q, right in front of us. Almost everyone started for the Q but me, my hubby, Avinash and Siddarth decided not to. It was breach of trust and contract.
Avinash suggested we go for Police complaint. Lot of discussion took place and we requested others to join us but none came forward. Finally we four left for Police Station. Now you can imagine what it is like being in a police thana in India. These people tried for 2hrs to dodge me and even threatened me that you will get nothing .They made me talk to the agency owner too who also threatened me by saying that they are locals and they can do any damn thing with me as being outsider .So it is better to keep quite, shut my mouth and go and join the Q with other's. This bloody attitude made me more determined to go for it. I stuck to my guns and told them that i am not moving an inch till they register my complaint. On seeing my adamancy they asked me to meet the Circle Officer there.
I met him and explained everything. He seem to understand my plight and also the fact that no matter what she is not giving up. He agreed to register a complaint. In the meantime the agaency people also started realsing the fact that once the complaint gets registered they will be in soup. So they offered us a compromise. In presence of police they gave us our full payment back, besides this they put us in a luxury hotel for refreshing up,ordered a world class cusine plus the cops arranged for a VVIP darshan,too.
Now what transpired between the cops and the Travel people is known to them only. What i know is that i got what we deserved - The darshan and ashirwadam of Lord Venkateswara.We boarded the bus at 7 pm (since we had to wait for 40 passenger's to come after having darshan for which it took them around 6 hrs ), rest of the passengers rushed towards us and started complaining......aap ki vaje se hum fas jate aur kahan aap hume police ke chakaroon mein daal rahi thi. Chaleye aap to darshan kar nahin payee ,hum log khush hain ke humne darshan kar liye. I kept quite and looked at their tired faces and felt sorry for them.
We reached Whitefeild at 12:30 am and there all of a sudden, we were told that now we are changing the bus,as this VOLVO does not have permission to go inside the Bangalore city. Hah hah, a late night twist. Poor us, again we all boarded another Khatara Volvo with no blanket's and water dripping on top our heads and immediatly after taking our places an announcement was made---------This bus will stop only at 3 points as it is complimentry service .
Again there was a big silence and one could hear only mine and my husbands voice !!!
On reaching Marathalli the bus stopped, conductor came to us and said mam your TAXI is waiting to take you home.