Chilkur Balaji, literally meaning the small Balaji is the most famous temple in and around Hyderabad. It is a famous wish-fulfilling temple. The deity here has the reputation of being a Visa God i.e. a God that specializes in fulfilling the wish of stamped Visa on your passport. Curiosity took me to this temple one fine morning. I planned to go on a weekend but the regular visitors said the crowds swell on weekends. So we planned to go on a Monday and yes, the crowd was there but not too much. The road to Chilkur Balaji Temple passes by the entrance of Mrugvani national park and through farms and farmhouses. A happy respite after crossing the city traffic.
Chilkur Balaji Temple, Hyderabad
Chilkur Balaji Temple has a thriving market on the street leading to it. This is the only place in Hyderabad where I saw small artifacts in white and green marble being sold along with the regular merchandise that you find outside temples.
A curious thing you find being sold here is a card with numbers 1 to 108 marked on it along with a basic pen. I wondered what this card is used for and, to be honest, my first thoughts went to Tambola cards. And my brain went overboard trying to connect the game with the temple. I was then explained that you are supposed to do 108 parikramas or round around the temple once your wish is fulfilled. Since you tend to lose count, these cards help you to remember. Inside the temple, we were to discover these used colorful cards everywhere.
Even when you are aware that it is a very small temple, it seems even smaller than you would imagine. A small colorful Gopuram shines through the plain white walls of the temple along with the golden flagstaff. There were barriers to putting the people in the queue. But since it was not too crowded on that day, we went straight to the Chilkur Balaji Temple premises where devotees were chanting and taking rounds of the temple.
11 rounds to seek a wish
My companions joined in for 11 rounds that are supposed to be done when asking for a wish. I too joined in and the only board that I could read in the premises said ‘Concentrate on God, not on the number’. People chanted Govinda, Govinda while a person on the mike chanted another Vishnu mantra. Young boys were roaming around selling water bottles.
With 11 rounds, we entered the temple and a board there said ‘Do not close your eyes during Darshan’. The main doorjamb was in silver with Vaishnavi Devi carved at the top. Inside there was another arch carved in Rajasthani style. Idol, as usual, is covered in so many layers that you only see the covering and imagine the rest. There is no Hundi or a donation box in Chilkur Balaji Temple and technically no donations are accepted.
Story of Chilkur Balaji Temple
From here we went to the back of the temple to meet the head priest Sh Chilkur Madabhushi Gopalakrishnan. Whose family has been taking care of Chilkur Balaji Temple for more than 400 years out of its existence of 500 years or so? He narrated the myths and legends associated with it to us. The old myths about how this temple was formed when the God came in a man’s dream, who fainted here while on his way to Tirupathi are well known. What the priest told us were the legends that formed in his lifetime. Like the legend of asking for Visa and getting it. He narrated the beginnings of these beliefs and then he smiled and said – This is a temple of young people.
In most temples, parents bring their children, but in this temple, children bring their parents. The common wishes that get fulfilled here are getting through entrance exams, getting married to the person of your choice, getting a job and of course getting a visa – most of the needs of young people.
I do not know if the wishes come true or not but what I saw on the faces of those doing Parikrama were a pure devotion and sheer faith. If faith can move mountains, maybe this is one of its ways to do so.
APTDC has a Haritha hotel within 100 meters of the Chilkur Balaji Temple that is a good option to eat and stay close to the temple.
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