Many pilgrims prefer to go on foot from the Tirupati to Tirumala to have the Darshan of the Lord. It is also part of Sankalpam (commitment). For those who would like to climb the hills to Tirumala to fulfil a vow, there are two well-laid stone footpaths leading to Tirumala. These paths are called sopanamargas. The more ancient of the two sopanamargas which starts from Alipiri at the foot of the hills, is about 11 km in length, and is the commonly-used route. The other sopanamarga from Chandragiri, though only about 6 km in length, is a more difficult route. It is mainly used by the local people and traders. Several facilities are provided to the piligrims who walk up the hills to Tirumala, by the administration.
- Free transport of the Pilgrims luggage from the bottom of the hill to the Top.
- Well cemented steps with hand rails for support.
- Supply of potable water along the way.
- Toilets for both ladies and Gents.
- Well lit path way and security guards to ensure safety of the pilgrims.
- Small restaurants along the way for refreshments and snacks.
The pilgrims have to get to Alipiri toll gate ,where the steps to the Tirumala begins.This is 4 K.Ms away from the railway station.They can then deposit their luggage at the T.T.D transport office and obtain a receipt.On reaching the top, they can redeem their luggage after producing this receipt. The foot way is 16 Kilometers in distance.It takes roughly between 3 to 4 hours to reach Tirumala by this way.
The natural beauty along the way is breath taking.Though the steps at the start are a bit steep, the rest of the way is quite even and one wouldn’t need to strain much.All along the way one can see pilgrims of every age climbing the steps with equal gusto. There are small mandapams along the way where pilgrims can take rest.Though the journey is physically tiring, it is a spiritually satifying one.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) runs two free buses from the Tirupati Railway station to Alipiri, with a frequency of 30 minutes. Pilgrims who intend to walk up the hills to Tirumala can use these buses. Below are the shape of 7 hills in the form of lord’s face when turned vertical.