Thursday April 19, 2018
Home India A temple know...

A temple known to offer VISA to its devotees

1
//
195
Chilkur Balaji Temple, Hyderabad Image source: www.yatrastotemples.com
Republish
Reprint

Indians may be the programmers of choice in Silicon Valley, but it not just their tech skills that got them there. Many ladoos and coconut offerings also paved their way.

Some of them undertook 119 pradikshnas before their departure from India at the Chilkur Balaji temple, which is situated amidst lushy green trees on the outskirts of Hyderabad on the banks of Osmasagar Lake.

This abode of Lord Venkateshwara is more popularly known as Visa Temple or Visa God. Applicants for student and work visas to the United States and other countries pray at this temple ahead of their appointments with consular officers.

K.K. Reddy of Secunderabad is convinced of its magic. Reddy, who has been living in the United States for the past 25 years, was initially rejected for a visa. He then visited the temple and performed all the rituals. Behold, his second visa application was granted.

“I visited the temple just before my interview for visa and sought the blessings of the Lord. Can you believe it, I succeeded! I succeeded! Got the visa,” said the New Yorker. Now whenever he revisits home, he makes sure to pay obeisance to the Visa God.

The temple, built in the 1300s and among the oldest in Hyderabad, has long been popular with devotees seek fulfillment of their dreams. It became a big draw among US visa applicants after news spread that several engineering students whose visas had been rejected, had received the visas on their second upon praying at the temple and seeking Lord Venkateshwara’s intervention.

The temple’s appeal has since grown manifold among visa applicants, according to Prof. M V Soundarajan who is Hereditary Archaka cum Trustee Chairman of Chilkur Balaji Temple.

An estimated 75,000 devotees visit the temple every week, but the visa devotees have attracted the most media attention. Indians constitute the largest foreign group to receive the coveted H1 visa. Perhaps it is no accident that Hyderabadis are among the largest subgroup of Indian techies. Indeed, even the religiously skeptical hedge their bets by making a pilgrimage to the temple in advance of their visa interviews.

During the visit, devotees undertake prayer rituals, which include 11 pradikshnas, or rounds of the inner shrine. Once the wish is fulfilled, devotees return to take 108 rounds of the sanctum sanctorum to thank Lord Venkateshwara for granting their wish. Often the wishes of devotees are visa related, thus Chilkur Balaji is also referred to as “Visa” Balaji.

Hari Rao wants to join the University of Houston. He has strong faith in Visa Balaji and claims that a large numbers of IT professionals like him successfully obtained their visas after praying at the temple.

Like Rao, hundreds of students planning higher studies in the USA, Canada or Australia or professionals seeking a H1(B) visa to the USA take a pilgrimage to the temple for Visa Balaji’s blessings ahead of applying for their visas. They are convinced that Visa Balaji will ensure that the consular staff stamps their passports without a hitch.

Credits: little india

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Shriya Katoch

    That is really weird .

Next Story

Temple, Mosque, Gurudwara Join Hands In This UP Town

In another incidents, last year in September, when dates of Durgapuja and Muharram clashed, Mishra and Muhammad Rizwan, Haneef's son, took charge

0
//
13
All religions joined hands together to clean the polluted river. IANS

With inter-community violence reported from many parts of India in a society increasingly polarised on religious and caste lines, a small town in Uttar Pradesh is setting an extraordinary example where a temple, a mosque, and even a gurdwara, have joined hands to clean a polluted river while bringing their communities together.

About 100 km from the state capital Lucknow is the town named Maholi in district Sitapur. Here lies an old Shiva and a Radha-Krishna temple along with Pragyana Satsang Ashram and a mosque, all at a stone’s throw of each other.

Tirthan River is beautifully calm and you'll find many different kinds of fishes in it. Wikimedia Commons
The river in Sitapur is really polluted. Wikimedia Commons

Along the periphery of this amalgamated religious campus, passes a polluted river called Kathina, that merges into the highly polluted Gomti River, a tributary of the mighty but polluted Ganga. Often used as dumping site by dozens of villages and devotees, the stink from Kathina was increasing daily. The solution — Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb (a term used for a fusion of Hindu and Muslim elements) – of Awadh.

“The river belongs to everyone. Hindus use it for ‘aachman’ (a Hindu ritual for spiritual purification), Muslims use it for ‘wazu’ or ablution. Due to lack of awareness, people had been dumping solid and bio waste here, and also doing open defecation. The situation was worsening. Only solution was to start cleaning it ourselves,” said Swami Vigyananad Saraswati, head of the Pragyana Satsang Ashram, as he inspects the river stretch along with Muhammad Haneef, head of the mosque’s managing committee.

Swami said that once the ashram and temple administration began rallying volunteers for the cleaning drive, the mosque also came around to help. Even Maholi’s Sikh gurudwara committee came forward and brought along many volunteers from the Sikh community.

“Once the communities came together, number of volunteers multiplied. The initiative has now become a kind of an environment-movement which is being driven by religious fervor and bonding. Watching our efforts, the local administration also offered help, and other unions like traders and Sikh gurudwara committee also joined hand for cleaning the river,” Swami told IANS pointing out the potential of possibilities when different communities join hands for good.

Ujagar Singh, a member of the Sikh gurdwara committee, equated the effort in cleaning the river with ‘sewa’, an important aspect of Sikhism to provide a service to the community. “Keeping our rivers clean is our duty and we will continue sewa whenever required,” he said.

The temple and mosque, near the town’s police station, were both built in 1962 by then Inspector Jaikaran Singh. The communal fervor is shared since years. During ‘namaaz’, the ashram switches off its loudspeakers and on Hindu festivals and special occasions, the mosque committee helps the temple with arrangements. Still underway, the joint Hindu-Muslim team began cleaning the river from March 14. According to the volunteers, it took three days alone to get the river front cleaned of defecation.

Also Read: All Religions Flourished In India: Modi

“Many villages do not have toilets and volunteers had to stay here round the clock to stop people from defecating or throwing waste. The work was divided. Muslims volunteers would take over the Muslim majority areas and Hindus would tackle other areas, convincing people to stop pollution further while we clean,” Muhammad Haneef told IANS.

The actual cleaning of the river began from March 17, when about 400 volunteers got into the waters, while about 700 of them cleaned the shores. “Several trolleys of garbage — that included plastic, polythene, shoes, rubber, animal carcasses, human waste, glass and ceramic waste, and even some old boat wreck — were taken out of the river.

“Apart from that, several trolleys of water hyacinth, an invasive species of water plant, was removed. It obstructs the flow of the river,” Sarvesh Shukla, executive officer of Maholi town told IANS. Stating that such drive is not possible unless people come together, Shukla said that since ‘mandir-masjid’ joined hand, it was very easy to convince people to cooperate. However, with poor garbage management system of small town, Swami and Haneef looked up to the administration for help.

“Few days back, some butchers were taking waste towards the river. We stopped them and there was a heated debate. Soon other elders of the community joined and we did not let them dump the waste into the river,” said Haneef, pointing out that stopping people without proper management could be daunting in future.

Swami said that they would need disilting machines to clean the river towards the second phase. According to Abdul Rauf from the mosque committee, the work is only half done. “The challenge is to maintain the cleanliness. We could clean only a small stretch of the river. We will rally again and take movement to second phase once we get directions from our elder brother Swami ji,” says Rauf. Nearly one kilometer of the stretch has been cleaned. The volunteers are aiming to clean another kilometer of it. However, be it river or communal fervor, the challenge, as residents of Maholi find, is consistency of the good.

Rohingya refugee
All came together to clean the river.

“There are bad elements everywhere. Few weeks back, a fringe group named Vishwa Hindu Jagran Parishad entered a Muslim-majority area and started hurling abuses. Before they would do more damage, the Hindus of that area came forward and retaliated. The group never returned since,” said Shailendra Mishra, a local resident and member of temple committee. In another incidents, last year in September, when dates of Durgapuja and Muharram clashed, Mishra and Muhammad Rizwan, Haneef’s son, took charge.

“All we had to do was keep a few notorious people from both communities at bay. About 5,000 strong Hindu’s Devi Shakti procession and about 2,000 strong Muslim Tazia procession of Muharram used the same road at the same time. Not a single untoward incident happened,” Haneef said. IANS