One of the beautiful things about staying over at a pilgrim place is the early morning sacred chants from the public announcement systems, a rejuvenating experience. At Dwaraka Tirumala, we woke up to the strains of the Suprabhatam after a restful sleep. We had all the time in the world and had planned to take a leisure walk around the place but decided to first visit the temple.
Dwaraka Tirumala is an important pilgrim centre for people of Andhra, especially for those from the Godavari districts. Dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, this temple is also known as Chinna (small) Tirupati or Second Tirupati, such is the reverence of this temple. Not much is known about the temple’s history but it came into prominence during the 18th Century A.D when the existing temple structure was built by the local rulers.
Despite it being a Sunday, there was hardly any crowd in the temple, we did not even have to buy a darshan ticket. Since our last visit some 4 years ago, the place has changed, the temple is much more organised, well maintained and beautified. We had a very pleasant darshan. The good Lord had even bestowed upon us the delicious prasadam of Dhadhojanam (flavoured curd rice) ! Lord Venkateswara made our day, He for sure knows what makes us happy !
The unique feature of the temple is that there are two idols of Lord Venkateswara inside the Sanctum. The first one is only visible till the bust, the rest of the idol is believed to be underground and the other full idol is installed above it. The belief is that the first idol is self manifested. One can check the temple website http://www.dwarakatirumala.org for the story of the temple.
The Dwaraka Tirumala temple is located on a hillock which can be accessed by a short ghat road or by foot, there must be about 50 steps.
The small town of Dwaraka Tirumala is located around the hillock. You will find eateries, shops at the foot of the hillock. We had our breakfast at an ancient looking eatery, it felt like we had been transported to the black and white era !
We climbed the steps back to the temple and walked a bit, wondering how much the temple had changed for the better in recent times. Here is a click of the main entrance mandapa.
The temple is usually crowded during the wedding season, Dwaraka Tirumala is considered an auspicious place for conducting weddings. Newly married couples perform the Kalyanam or the Celestial Wedding ceremony of Lord Venkateswara. Mr. and Mrs.This Writer did that too during their visit to Dwaraka Tirumala after their wedding 8 years ago. The event included this writer almost fainting at the end of the 2 hour Kalyanam because we were fasting till the ceremony was over and had to gobble up the prasadam even before actually visiting the main Deity !
As with every other place in the region, the recent rains had turned the hills around the temple town a lovely shade of green, pilgrim place apart, Dwaraka Tirumala looked no less than a picturesque hill station !
There are some nice walkways, a rabbit park and an elephant stable. The temple authorities run a free bus service that takes you around to visit other local temples.
A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is also located on the hillock. We found this small temple so peaceful that we simply wanted to retire and live there !
The monsoon weather was just adding to the effect of the already serene place. Summer in this regions, is a different story though !
It was 10 AM when we thought we had walked and explored the place enough and decided to wind up our Dwaraka Tirumala visit and prepare to head back. Walking back to our room, we clicked this picture of the Gopurams, the temple is just a short walk from AP Tourism’s hotel and we liked this view.
We checked out from our room and with one more quick bow to the Lord of Vaikuntam, we drove out of Dwaraka Tirumala. “Punardarsana Praptirastu”, you will read this at the exit point of every pilgrim place in Andhra Pradesh, it is a blessing/wish that you get to visit the holy places again and again.
Not wanting to start our journey back to Hyderabad so soon, we looked for other places and found our next destination.
- Dwaraka Tirumala is about 370 kms from Hyderabad via Vijayawada-Bhimadole route by road. It would take about 7 hours. If you want a more scenic, village route, take the Hyderabad-Mylavaram-Nuzividu-Tadikalapudi route. It would add another half an hour to your travel time though.
- If you wish to take the train, you could alight at Eluru which is around 40 kms. Vijayawada is around 100 kms and Rajamundry is 70 kms from Dwarka Tirumala. One can find buses or cabs from these places.
- Accommodation can be booked at Haritha Hotel through AP Tourism’s online booking. Haritha Hotel tariff is usually Rs.700 for non-AC and Rs.1300 for AC. Accommodation provided by the Temple management can be booked through the MeeSeva Portal of Government of Andhra Pradesh.
- Temple Annadana prasadam is available from 10.30 AM to 3 PM and 7 PM to about 10 PM. On weekdays the timings vary because there are not too many pilgirms availing the facility.
- There are several eateries and shops in the Dwaraka Tirumala town.
- The temple is usually very crowded during the wedding season and other festival holidays.
- We are not sure about the free bus service timings but it looks like a good idea to hop onto the bus and visit the sub-temples associated with Dwarka Tirumala temple.
- The best time to visit Dwaraka Tirumala is July-August and November to January.
- One can spend a weekend on a trip to Dwaraka Tirumala from Hyderabad.
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