The “Visa Temple” fulfills their “American Dream”


Strangely, thousands of temples dot India but the 500-years old Chilkur Balaji shrine is meant exclusively to fulfil the “American Dream” of the Indians. Every day, the Visa-seekers of Andhra Pradesh and Telantana come here to pray Lord Chilkur Balaji to facilitate their Visa applications.

They perform “Puja” to Lord Balaji Venkateswara along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi accompanying him to seek their blessings for obtaining Visa for overseas jobs and admission in foreign universities.

Interestingly, soon after Donald Trump became USA’s President, the the numbers of Visa-seekers at this temple located some 30 km from Hyderabad has more than doubled due to his announcement of “America First” policy and restrictions on foreign Visas.

Apparently, the Visa-seekers consider Lord Venkateswara, more powerful than Trump. In fact, they have a reason. In and around 1981-82, multiple restrictions were imposed by USA on Visa-procedure.

At that time, the Visa seekers from Hyderabad visited the temple just as they would go to any other temple with a “wish”. It happened so that those who prayed Lord Venkateswara got Visas. Soon, Visa-seekers from all parts of Andhra Pradesh (Telangana then was not born) started thronging there.

We know maximum numbers of Visa seekers in India are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The “America Dream” is common to all Indians but maximum among the people of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. At least one in every 15-family of these two states are living in USA, Canada, Middle East, Australia and Europe.

In USA, over 310,000 Telugu speaking people lived as on December 31, 2017. The maximum numbers of students pursuing STEM Degree (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) in USA are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In 2017, the numbers of STEM-students from the two states stood at 36,000.  

Of the 1,239 devotees visiting the temple every day, nearly 56 percent of them are either the job seekers or students of the age group of 25 to 35 years aspiring to go to USA.

These Visa seekers meticulously follow the unwritten rituals including prayer, offering flowers and sweets and circling the inner shrine for 11-times with the promise that once they get American Visa, they would again come here to walk 108 times around the sanctum sanctorum.  

They would come to the temple before the Visa interview to perform the “Puja.” On three auspicious occasions – Anakota, Brahmotsavam and Poolangi—their numbers increase manifold.

A strange fact that differ it from other Hindu temples of India is that it does not accept any cash-money. If you want to donate money, just transfer it to the bank account of the temple.

Legend of Birth of the Temple

The temple built during the period of powerful warlords Akkanna and Madanna has an interesting legend associated with its coming into being. Legend has it that a man used to go to visit the Sri Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati city every year.

On one year, he fell ill and could not go. But he had a dream one night. He dreamt the Lord Balaji was telling him that “He” (the Lord) was in a jungle that lay near his house and gave him the direction to go there.

Next very morn, he went there and started digging a mole-hill with an axe. And imagine what happened? The axe hit something and blood started coming out. Lo what he saw? It was the statue of Lord Balaji accompanied by Sridevi and Bhoodevi. The axe had struck the head of Lord Balaji.

As the worried devotee tried to stop the blood, he heard a voice ordering him to pour cow milk on the mole-hill to stop the blood. He did so and the blood stopped. The man installed the idols at a small temple that took the shape of the present massive temple complex after 500-years.


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