We went to Chilkur Balaji Temple on Sunday, 8th Jan 2006. My wife had suggested the trip and I agreed right away.

The temple, which is said to be over five centuries old, is some 50km away on the outskirts of the city from our place.

I had heard of the temple and its popularity among the ambitious young people seeking higher education in foreign universities or better careers abroad. For this reason the Temple is nicknamed ‘Visa Temple’!

It’s said that anyone praying to the reigning Lord Balaji (Vishnu)at Chilkur Temple for a visa to a preferred foreign destination is granted their wish. The aspirant-devotees whose wishes have beenfulfilled offer ‘pradikshan (circumambulation )’ around the temple by chanting the Deity’s praise. A round of 108 times is the minimum. Some do ‘sayana pradikshan’ (rolling oneself on the ground around the temple), an extreme offering expressing their gratitude and devotion to the wish-fulfilling Deity.

Chilkur temple is without any Hindu temple architecture or art work.It’s just a small concrete structure with compound walls. Another small shrine close by devoted to Lord Shiva shares the compound and the devotees pray there as well.

It’s said that 75,000 to 100,000 devotees visit the temple in a week. Fridays and Sundays are the busiest days at Chilkur .

On our return, after a few kilometers, I saw two huge hoardings of ‘Higher Education in Foreign Universities’ and ‘Visa Counseling Services’ erected prominently on both sides of the road meeting the main road ahead.

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