Friday, October 21, 2011

My step(s) up to Tirumala via Srivari Mettu

When I decided to join my husband for the trek to  Tirumala, our friends discouraged me by telling that I would’nt keep pace with my husband ( he is a jogger and walks upto 6kms /day)and it would’nt be possible for me to finish, but I was keen on going with him rather than stay alone in the guest house, after all the Kapoors too were going for the ‘Mundan’( tonsuring). I told them I regularly walk for an hour and so I would join him.
We off-loaded our back packs into their cab which they had hired to tirumala and with just a waterbottle and handbag we took an auto to Srivari mettu.
There are two trekking paths to tirumala – the regular one is the alipiri route( 4kms and 3000+ steps)  which is in use for a long time and the other is the Srivari mettu which was renovated and thrown open to the public some two years back due to the  increase in the number of pilgrims trekking to Tirumala. This is supposed to be the shorter  and arduous of the two.
Srivari mettu is said to be older than the Alipiri route and is believed to have been used by legendery emperor SriKrishnadevaraya and even by the saint composer and singer Annamacharya.
I was too eager to trek up the hill, after all we had done it before too at the rugged mountains of Abbey falls in coorg, Bhramagiri hills(coorg), in Kodaikanal but all these were long back, I did’nt realize that I was 10 years older now to those times.
       All along the autodriver was telling us it would take just two hours and it was just 2 to 2.5kms, but when I reached the base of Srivari mettu and enquired at the base camp office  the real length of the route. He told me 2300 steps.

Now  that was a dampener for me, walking on plain surface is easier but to ascend the steps......

Putting all my doubts aside, I ascended the first few steps motivating myself that with each step, I was closer to the target, I easily ascended 200 steps, there on it became slightly difficult, I started panting and had to take rest at the landing of every 50 steps.

Slowly but steadily I Scaled  700 steps.

After ascending 700 steps, there were boards which read there was a biometric ticket counter  offering a quick and free darshan at the 1200th step. After reading this, I told my husband I would push myself till that counter and then if there were any vans/cabs at the landing I would take that while he could finish his trek.

To my luck, there were no such facility it was just a counter to issue a photo ticket called ‘Divya Darshan’.

 Motivated by my husband, I was slightly charging myself up slowly with a sip of water and now I rested after every  20-25 steps, the steps were steeper from  now on…..

Slowly  I inched and pushed myself and many a times I  doubted if I ever would reach the top, I rested now at every 10th step and washed my sweaty face to perk up myself.

 Finally at the end of 2000th step got our ticket validated at the second counter.

Now  I was slightly happy and rested at a landing for sometime  and it was only now that I realized I was walking up the forest of Red Sandal wood(Rakth chandan from which the famous  marapacchi dolls were made) and missed out the beauty  of the birds like blue jay  around me.

The plains of Tirupati below looked like a white town with lots of buildings and I was uphill. Slowly and steadily like a ‘cool down’ the steps lost its steepness and  Lo!  There I was….. I finally ascended the 2300 steps and heaved a sigh of relief when I  reached Tirumala clocking  1 hour and 55 minutes.

While I was climbing, I thought I did a mistake of taking the steps, but the pain and trouble I went through was totally washed off when I reached the top and it was so satisfying and all those troubles translated to joy.

Having reached Tirumala with a Divya Darshan ticket, I thought the pain was through,  I would’nt be standing in the queue and it entailed me to have a direct access to the sanctum. But no …., I got  it wrong. The trouble was ahead.

The queue ordeal deserves a separate post.

P.S: Don't be discouraged by this post,  If you are physically and clinically fit ,  it is not difficult to climb up. There were many senior citizens and young children who climbed up effortlessly only in my case I had a  knee twist due to Vit B12 deficiency, just a few weeks back and so found it slightly difficult.   


  1. Bravo....:)

    looking forward for your post about the Queue and Darshan....

  2. I can understand how wonderful it must have been to reach the top. Yes everything looks impossible in the beginning, but as we go we find we are able to do it and feel so good about.

  3. hey...I've climbed up twice so far and thoroughly enjoyed it. This post echoes my thoughts the first time around... it was exhilarating when we got to the top. We climbed at night and went for the early morning darshan which got over in less than 1.5 hrs....

  4. We had taken the Srivari route to climb up and get down and I must say I was very pleased with the path.
    Srivari is 17kms from the Tirupati Bus Stop and it takes 45 mins by auto to get there. Free buses are also available, but we opted to hire an auto ( PLEASE BARGAIN)
    It took us (My brother and me) 1 hr 15 mins to climb up (while taking adequate rest along the way) and 50 mins to come down. There are a total of 2400 steps on this route. The initial 800 steps are very comfortable (we covered it in 20 odd mins) the next 1600 steps are a little steep. The height of the steps is comfortable. The steps are similar to what we have on the Alipiri route.

    There are adequate restrooms and plenty of drinking water throughout the way. The entire stretch is well lit and shaded. One would need to carry some eatables as there are just a few vendors on that route who mainly sell Puffed Rice, Raw Mangoes and soft drinks.

    This route ends right behind the main temple (Vaikuntam Complex No.2 is just 250m away)

    Yes, Alipiri route has its own charm, but Srivari Mettu is also equally good.

    Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams have done a GREAT job with reinstating this route.
    It is a recommended route....TTD has put in a LOT of effort to restore this route....USE IT !!

    1. If there is way to post/share pics....I would love to share them !!

  5. Even 2300 or 2400 steps seem to be quite a lot. I guess a person needs to be fit to climb up the stairs. I will be trying to ascend next month and will tell you how it went. After reaching the top how would one go to various temples.

  6. Awesome, good job...

  7. heading the sri vari mettu way tomorrow for darshan. lemme see if i can post some more encouraging stuff. nice post. and cool info.

  8. btw, can someone clarify if a pair of running shoes are allowed during the climb up the steps?

  9. Yes. Though people will be applying turmeric and kumkum on each steps (both at Alipiri and Srivari Mettu), you may climb with shoes. It is up to you. Steps of Srivari Mettu is little high as compared to Alipiri (ie. 8 inches whereas Alipiri steps are 4.5 inches) N. Durairaj

  10. Took 43m 35s to reach. Just kept going...nonstop...and without rushing. At the end of it...didnt even feel like i had completed the trek...
    How do i post pics for info??
    Its a cool route...except for the steepness and lack of resting areas...

  11. pls do not use shoes and slippers and any kind of that b'cos this route was used by none other than sri annamacharya himself and many great saints thus think holy and perform holy and diving trekking for your loved sakes

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