Chilkur "Visa" Balaji Temple

My first travel trip this year started whilst visiting Hyderabad city and the much appraised Lord Balaji of Chilkur, which is more often popular "Visa Balaji Temple" or "Visala Devudu" (in Telugu, it means, Visa granting God). It was a Monday morning, 10th Feb 2014, I changed 3 buses to see the lord and Hyderabad being unfriendly in terms of weather, around 40 degrees centigrade. Having traveled handful places, sometimes alone, this too was on my wishlist for a long time and the time had come to visit alone.

Shops at Chilkur, on the way to temple
Shops at Chilkur, on the way to temple
Entrance to the Balaji temple
Entrance to the temple
Balaji Temple Gopuram
I reached the temple around 12 noon and was taken by surprise to see the rush. The devotees have to leave behind their mobile phones and cameras, any other belongings if you wish, in the locker before entering the temple. You have to deposit a small fee, as less as Rs 5 or Rs 10 to obtain the locker. As I entered the temple, I made a struggle to enter the Garbha Gudi to see the idol. The boards display that the devotee should make a wish without closing the eyes. You would also notice that there is no Hundi here. Lakhs of people visit the temple everyday and make a single wish by making 11 rounds and once the wish is fulfilled, you have to visit the temple and make 108 rounds. The temple provides the printed sheets from 1 to 108. Remember to take a pen to strike off the number as you complete a round.

I was mesmerized seeing the Bhakti of the devotees, young and old, men and women, rich and poor, busy making rounds and chanting "Govinda Govinda" with the palms joined. The Lord does not demand anything except 108 rounds, not even a Hundi as you see in other temples.

Street side shop selling bangles

Shops on the way to the temple.
It is believed that, a decade ago, when the visas were being rejected by the US embassy, people would visit the temple and then there were no rejections at all. I would definitely visit this temple again for its ambiance and divinity, though its not for a Visa. :)

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