This temple has Lord Venkateswara as the presiding diety. It is believed that He removes all obstacles for getting VISAs for going abroad, if one makes 108 pradakshinas(perambulances) around the garbhagriha(sanctum sanctorium). Hence the popular name "Veesaala Venkateswara Swamy"
The most important aspect of this temple is that all human beings are equal in the eyes of God. This is being strictly followed by the temple comitee,it is really applauded.
Lord Balaji is one of the most-worshiped local incarnations of the Hindu Lord Vishnu. His adherents flock to his many temples to pray for things like happiness, prosperity and fertility.
Lately, the deity has grown particularly popular at the once-quiet Chilkur Balaji temple here, where he goes by a new nickname: the Visa God. The temple draws 100,000 visitors a week, many of whom come to pray to Lord Balaji for visas to travel or move to the U.S. and other Western countries.
Mohanty Dolagobinda is one of the Visa God's believers. Three years ago, a U.S. consulting company applied for a visa on his behalf. It was rejected. When the company tried again the following year, Mr. Dolagobinda's friends told him to visit the Chilkur Balaji temple ahead of his interview at the U.S. consulate. Weeks later, he sailed through the interview. "I've never heard of anyone who's gone to the temple whose visa got rejected," says Mr. Dolagobinda.
Visitors to the Chilkur Balaji temple wait in line to pray to Lord Balaji, the 'Visa God.'In the late 1990s, this small temple on the outskirts of Hyderabad -- the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh -- drew just two or three visitors a week.
C.S. Gopala Krishna, the 63-year-old head priest of the Chilkur Balaji Temple, wanted more people to come. So he gave Lord Balaji a new identity. "I named him the Visa God," he says. Now, Mr. Gopala Krishna's temple is a hot spot. Billboards on the dirt road to the temple advertise English-language schools and visa advisers. Next to the parking lot, vendors hawk souvenirs and fruit.
The Visa God's growing celebrity reflects the rising frustration of educated Indians hoping to move West. In recent years, it's become harder to win the employer-sponsored "H-1B" visas that let skilled professionals like engineers work in the U.S. While the U.S. limits the number of H-1Bs granted each year to 65,000, the demand for visas keeps rising.
For the fiscal year ended September 2004, it took 11 months for the U.S. government to receive 65,000 applications for H-1B visas; last fiscal year, it took two months. This fiscal year, the U.S. government received more than 65,000 applications in one day. Applications are now assigned a random number, and the first 90,000 to 110,000 are processed and accepted or rejected until the quota is reached.