HYDERABAD: Chilkur Balaji has been known for years as `Visa God’ because most students who want a visa to pursue higher studies in the US and those who aspire to H1-B visa repose strong faith in him for realising their dream. Though US President Donald Trump has tightened rules for visas, faith in Lord Balaji of Chilkur among American visa aspirants has not shaken.
Hundreds of students who throng the temple believe that Lord Balaji has the power to beat Donald Trump’s resolve to restrict entry of immigrants into the US.
The temple dedicated to Lord Balaji (re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu) only witnesses greater number of devotees making a beeline since Donald Trump announced his decision to tighten immigration laws and to impose restrictions on H1-B visas. The Trump administration decided to restrict H1-B visas only to the highly skilled or highly paid foreigners. Worried over Trump’s reforms, hundreds of students throng `Visa God’ and pray for change of heart of the US President. Thousands of those with American dreams shining in their eyes go to the temple located 30 km from the city and do 11 `pradakshinas’ (circumambulations) chanting `Govinda, Govinda’ before attending the US visa interview. And if they are lucky and secure the most sought after visa, they visit the temple again and this time to do 108 `pradakshinas’ as thanks-giving to Lord Balaji, chief priest C S Gopalakrishna told TOI.
The 70-year-old priest says there are many success stories because of the blessings of Lord Balaji of Chilkur. About 2,000 devotees visit the temple every day . While a majority of them seek the Lord’s blessings for their success in securing US visa, those with health problems and students taking entrance tests for admissions too turn to the god. During weekends, over 5,000-8,000 devotees visit the temple and, keeping in view the growing number of devotees, the temple has provided basic amenities and installed CCTVs, said another chief priest C S Rangarajan.
Unlike other temples, this one is unique because of the fact that there is no `hundi’ to allow devotees to drop offerings. “Performing `pradakshinas’ is the only offering to Chilkur Balaji,” said Rangarajan. “Devotees need not worry . Trump is temporary , but Lord Balaji is permanent and if he wants, he can even change the mindset of Donald Trump. Visiting the temple and seeking God’s blessings surely boosts the confidence of the devotees,” he added.
“We came here to seek the blessings of the Lord for my children. I offered a garland of `thulasi’ which God Balaji likes, to fulfil my only son’s aim to get a job in a software company in the US,” said S Madhuri, a resident of Secunderabad.
Source: Times Of India