Tirupati is noisy! At least the road junctions near the bus station, close to my hotel are noisy. The honking doesn't let up all day and night!
I've been to Tirumala twice now in 2 days and it is crowded! I had been warned by kindly locals against visiting Tirumala for devotional purposes at this time of year because it is busiest during these summer months. Perhaps I should have listened! The first day I was mistakenly taken all the way up the hill when I meant to stop at the foot and find lodging. What followed was 4 hours lugging my 16kg backpack being confused and disoriented! And the crowds were more busy with the business of moving along to help 0_0.
I found my way back down via another bus and lodge near the Tirupati bus station and go back up Tirumala the next day sans heavy luggage - to find the even bigger crowd than the day before!
I very quickly decide that maybe it wouldn't be a good idea for me to get a tonsure and darshan, even though I found the 'special darshan' queue that is shorter than the free queue, and spend the morning instead drinking in the experience of being amongst so much devotion in one location. Though I do feel a pang of envy whenever yet another tonsured devotee walks past me, I do realise that there will be other ways to cast off my ego!
I got back at lunch time with tons of daylight to spare so I spent the rest of the day at Chandragiri fort and the surrounding village.
According to a spanish devotee lady from the Mother Meera Darshans, Sai Baba is no longer at his Puttaparthy Ashram and has moved to his Bangalore ashram. So I've cut Puttaparthy from my itinery and will head to Hyderabad directly.