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feature on "Chilkur
Balaji" temple, a.k.a Visa Temple: "Chilkur
balaji temple is one of the most famous temples in Hyderabad
area. The nice concept that is implemented in darshan of the
lord balaji, is that all people must stand in queue with utmost
discipline. There are no VIP passes and there is no Hundi
for donations. When people ask for wish from the god here,
they have to do 11 pradakshinas and ask their wish with the
witness of Lord Anjaneya. When the wish gets fulfilled, they
need to do 108 pradakshinas. The 11 pradakshinas have a significant
meaning according to the temple priests. When people wish
anything from god, mind has to think about only god and one's
self i.e 11(1-1) signifies that god takes care of everybody
and everybody should understand that."
to the Visa Temple and articles.
- Official Temple website
BALAJI temple in HYDERABAD? The Balaji Temple is situate
at Chilkur 25 kms away from Hyderabad. Scores of devotees
visit regularly the temple. RTC run buses from nook and
corner. We can see a festive atmosphere on every Saturday.
The devotees believe the Chilkur is another Thirupathi The
Lord Venkateshwara is called Chilkur Balaji. The devotees
possess strong belief in the God. The surrounding places
are developed in a hectic speed due to this shrine. Yahoo
- YouTube feature on : Chilkur Balaji...the VISA God
- Chilkur Balaji Temple's Wikipedia page
Stories of Visa Gods and temples in India:
a banyan tree with visa power. Gotta problem in getting
a visa? Take heart because there are many like you. But
no, they ain’t heading to the visa office, the queue is
instead in front of a stump of a 100-year-old banyan tree
in Mupkal village — about 45 km from Nizamabad in Telangana. Times
Hanuman fulfils dollar dreams: An endless queue of people
with bundles of documents needed to complete visa formalities
and passports, in hand. Not a line outside the visa consulate
or facilitation centre, but men and women lined up, at the
Sidhdheshwer Chamatkarik Hanuman mandir, to offer visa documents
to God, instead of prasad! Times
Sunita came calling. Story of Dollar Mata. Jhulasan,
her father's native village, 40 km north of Ahmedabad, the
proof of the power of 'Dollar Mata' lies in the fact that
as many as 1,500 natives of the village which has a population
of 7,000 are now in the US. Before the immigration to the
US, the deity was called Dola Mata. TOI
- Autonomy granted to Chilkur Balaji temple: The Government has issued orders granting full autonomy to the Chilkur Balaji temple. - The Hindu
- Chilkur temple weaves dress code 'Visa god' Chilkur Balaji is extending his benevolence to weavers. Devotees paying their obeisance at the temple on Saturdays will have to stick to a new dress code, wear only handloom apparel. The code will come into effect next month. - TOI
Intervention? Indians Seek Help From the 'Visa God' By
VAUHINI VARA December 31, 2007 [Wall Street Journal]
India -- Lord Balaji is one of the most-worshiped local incarnations
of the Hindu Lord Vishnu. His adherents flock to his many
temples to pray for things like happiness, prosperity and
the deity has grown particularly popular at the once-quiet
Chilkur Balaji temple here, where he goes by a new nickname:
the Visa God. The temple draws 100,000 visitors a week, many
of whom come to pray to Lord Balaji for visas to travel or
move to the U.S. and other Western countries.
Dolagobinda is one of the Visa God's believers. Three years
ago, a U.S. consulting company applied for a visa on his behalf.
It was rejected. When the company tried again the following
year, Mr. Dolagobinda's friends told him to visit the Chilkur
Balaji temple ahead of his interview at the U.S. consulate.
Weeks later, he sailed through the interview. "I've never
heard of anyone who's gone to the temple whose visa got rejected,"
says Mr. Dolagobinda.
Visitors to the Chilkur Balaji temple wait in line to pray
to Lord Balaji, the 'Visa God.'
In the late 1990s, this small temple on the outskirts of Hyderabad
-- the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh --
drew just two or three visitors a week.
Krishna, the 63-year-old head priest of the Chilkur Balaji
Temple, wanted more people to come. So he gave Lord Balaji
a new identity. "I named him the Visa God," he says.
Now, Mr. Gopala Krishna's temple is a hot spot. Billboards
on the dirt road to the temple advertise English-language
schools and visa advisers. Next to the parking lot, vendors
hawk souvenirs and fruit.
God's growing celebrity reflects the rising frustration of
educated Indians hoping to move West. In recent years, it's
become harder to win the employer-sponsored "H-1B"
visas that let skilled professionals like engineers work in
the U.S. While the U.S. limits the number of H-1Bs granted
each year to 65,000, the demand for visas keeps rising.
fiscal year ended September 2004, it took 11 months for the
U.S. government to receive 65,000 applications for H-1B visas;
last fiscal year, it took two months. This fiscal year, the
U.S. government received more than 65,000 applications in
one day. Applications are now assigned a random number, and
the first 90,000 to 110,000 are processed and accepted or
rejected until the quota is reached.
a city of seven million once known for its pearl trade, has
become a fast-growing technology hub. Indian citizens have
been the biggest group of H-1B holders in recent years and
Hyderabad has forged ties to U.S. companies such as Microsoft
Corp., which employ large numbers of H-1Bs. Companies such
as Accenture Ltd. and Dell Inc. have also set up huge development
and service centers in the city. That's brought a cultural
shift, as young middle-class locals replace traditional Indian
clothing with jeans and T-shirts and hang out at newly opened
malls and coffee shops.
On a recent
Saturday evening, as a statue of the flower-draped Visa God
sat at the back of the modest temple, a cross-legged Mr. Gopala
Krishna took responsibility for the visa fervor. Around him,
visitors were speed-walking, heads down, as they made the
necessary 11 circles around the temple to gain the favor of
the Visa God. The temple was about to close, and some visitors
broke into a jog.
other temples, elders bring their children," says Mr.
Gopala Krishna. "In this temple, children bring their
born at the temple, where his father was once head priest,
and later left to live with relatives in Hyderabad. Mr. Gopala
Krishna studied commerce in college and in 1968 started working
at Hindustan Lever, a consumer-products giant. In 1999, he
came back to the temple to take care of his father, and then
became the head priest himself.
time, the temple attracted few visitors. "The temple
has been there for at least 100 years with nobody visiting,"
says Ravi Babu, a longtime Hyderabad resident who runs the
local chapter of the Indus Entrepreneurs, a club for entrepreneurs.
Hyderabad was changing. Local officials were on a tear to
turn Hyderabad into the next Bangalore, the high-tech capital
of the neighboring state of Karnataka. They started referring
to Hyderabad as "Cyberabad." They fixed roads and
wooed Microsoft and General Electric Co. to set up offices
to capitalize on all the activity, technical colleges sprouted
up in the city's outskirts near Mr. Gopala Krishna's temple.
Students started trickling by on their way home from school;
many complained about their failed attempts to secure U.S.
visas. That gave the priest an idea to sell the students on
the deity by giving him a new persona, "Visa God."
Mr. Gopala Krishna counseled the students in English, then
told them to walk around the temple 11 times to get their
wish. "I used to say, 'Go, this time you'll get it,'"
Mr. Gopala Krishna started seeing dozens -- then hundreds
-- of new visitors a day. In 2005, some local newspapers wrote
about the Visa God, just as new U.S. visa restrictions were
taking a toll. Mr. Gopala Krishna and his relatives also launched
a Web site and a newsletter called Voice of Temples, with
features like a primer of sample prayers for help in visa
popularity surged. Last year, a public battle between Mr.
Gopala Krishna's family and the local government, which briefly
wanted to take the temple over, only boosted its appeal among
the young and subversive. Now devotees of the Visa God say
they have to reach the temple by 6 a.m. to avoid the daytime
Vippagunta, a 28-year-old now working for Amazon.com Inc.
in Seattle, visited the temple in 2001 and saw few others.
On a more recent visit, he says, "it was really, really
jam-packed." Mr. Vippagunta didn't know about the Visa
God the first time he visited the temple, but it may have
had an effect anyway: The following year, he got a visa to
move to the U.S.
of the Indus Entrepreneurs says the appeal of the Visa God
boils down to the following: "Even if you're not religious,
you say, 'Why not? I can just go and spend a few minutes and
get a visa,'" he says.