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Srivari Mettu: Shorter, arduous path to Tirumala

TIRUPATI: In recent years, there has been a spurt in the number of pilgrims trekking to the hill shrine of Venkateswara Swamy on Tirumala, more so after re-opening of Srivari Mettu. Tiru

Published: 24th September 2011 07:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 07:10 PM   |  A+A-

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A view of the Srivari Mettu pedestrian path in Tirumala | Express Photo

TIRUPATI: In recent years, there has been a spurt in the number of pilgrims trekking to the hill shrine of Venkateswara Swamy on Tirumala, more so after re-opening of Srivari Mettu.

Tirumala can be reached on foot on two paths— Alipiri, in use for a long time, and Srivari Mettu, about 20 km away, nearer Srinivasa Mangapuram in Chandragiri mandal.

In fact, Srivari Mettu is a much older pedestrian path to the hill shrine than from Alipiri and is believed to have been used by legendary emperor Srikrishnadevaraya in the 16th century.

However, it had remained defunct for many years before TTD had renovated it a couple of years ago and started encouraging pilgrims to use that path.

The decision to renovate Srivari Mettu was taken keeping in view the number of pilgrims trekking to Tirumala growing steadily.

Divya Darshan, a quick and free darshan along with free accommodation and food, also lures pilgrims to tread this path.

Initially, those from Tirupati and Chandragiri and those coming from western mandals used Srivari Mettu, but now others are also using it as it is a much shorter route to Tirumala than the footpath from Alipiri.

While it takes four to six hours to reach Tirumala on foot from Alipiri, it takes only two to three hours from Srivari Mettu.

According to TTD statistics, the number of pilgrims using the Srivari Mettu is 3,500 on an average on normal days and 8,000 during weekends and festivals.

“The number of pilgrims using Srivari Mettu would have been greater if not for its drawbacks,’’ says Thyagaraju, a resident of Srinivasa Mangapuram.

The drawbacks include lack of proper transport to Srivari Mettu from Tirupati, restricted timings (6 am to 6 pm), lack of security personnel.

“There is hardly a security guard along the Srivari Mettu route to Tirumala; maybe one or two guard the entrance and the exit.

And, they look bored all the time,’’ Prasad, a devotee from Madanapalle, points out.

Recently, the TTD opened a luggage centre at the entrance of Srivari Mettu to attract more people to use the path.

When it comes to bus transport, RTC used to operate one service to Srivari Mettu.

However, it discontinued it after TTD started operating two free buses to Srivari Mettu.

Taking advantage of the lack of bus service to Srivari Mettu, autorickshaw drivers are charging hefty money for taking pilgrims from Srinivasa Mangapuram to Srivari Meetu, a distance of just six km.

When it was brought to the notice of RTC (Tirupati) regional manager V Nagasivudu, he admitted to the increasing demand for bus service on that route.

“We have even received a request from TTD authorities and we are contemplating operating buses on that route,’’ he said.

“There is no doubt that Srivari Mettu is being preferred by more and more pilgrims to reach Tirumala on foot.

We will be able to serve them better once our Chandragiri bus depot gets ready,’’ he said.



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