Chilkur Balaji Temple popularly known as Visa Balaji Temple or Visa God, is an ancient Hindu temple of Lord Balaji on the banks of Osman Sagar Lake near Hyderabad, India. The Balaji temple is one of the oldest temples in the Telangana region built during the time of Madanna and Akkanna, the uncles of Bhakta Ramadas.
Approximately 75,000 to a lakh devotees visit the shrine during the week, but on Fridays and Saturdays, the temple gets close the cumulative of a week. Many of whom come to pray to Balaji for visas to travel or move to the US and other Western countries. And its head priest Gopala Krishna is instrumental for the temples popularity as Visa God.
It is probably the only popular temple in India that does not accept any money from the devotees. It does not have a hundi and has no green channel or privileges for VVIPs and it fought and won the right to stay out of government control.
During the visit, the devotee goes through the usual rituals of prayer, including Eleven circumambulations of the inner shrine, and makes a vow. Once the wish is fulfilled devotees then carryout 108 times around the sanctum sanctorum. Majority of wishes by devotees are VISA related, thus Chilkur Balaji is also referred to as 'VISA Balaji'
Many years ago a devotee of Lord Venkateswara was residing in this village. Every year after the farming activities were over he would start his journey to Tirupathi. He would offer a major share of the grains, which had grown in his lands and return back after having Darshan of the Lord.
This yearly once darshan was enough for him to cherish the same till the next year. "Oh, Lord of seven Hills", he would call out when ploughing the fields, "Govinda, Govinda" he would call when sowing the seeds, "Balaji, Balaji" he would shout loudly when weeding the fields and "Venkateswara, Venkanna" he would chant when watering the same.
Years dragged slowly when his devotion increased and also his age. Having grown old he was losing the stamina he had for so many years. The harvesting season also neared. With a walking stick in his hand he slowly walked in the fields watching the fully-grown paddy field.
His gait was a slow tired walk. I may not be able to make it to the Hill to see my lord this year. He was getting dejected at the very thought that his health may not permit this trip.
How can I miss witnessing the Kalyanotsavam of my Balaji with his consorts?" He was seen worrying all through the day. He would murmur to himself and sigh to himself. He would start weeping uncontrollably sometimes. No one could console him. He would go into a trance sometimes. Slowly he stopped taking food and fell ill. Few days passed like this. One-day early in the morning, he felt like someone waking him up. "Get up my Child!" A radiant figure was standing before him.
It was none other than his beloved deity Balaji. "You need not come to the Seven Hills for seeing me. I have come to you. I am inside an anthill near your fields beside the small Siva Lingam. Only Lord Siva knows my presence. He has been keeping it as a Treasure till now. Now you can take me out and keep seeing me here itself. I am in a single idol with both of my consorts."
Before he could ask anything, the vision had gone. He got up immediately to see that it was nearing dawn. He ran out of the house,calling everyone on his way to the fields. Few people had assembled when the idol was getting dug up as mentioned by the lord. But, in the haste, they struck the crowbar on the idol to find blood oozing out of the anthill. They poured milk as ordered by an apparition and lo, before them stood the small idol of Lord Balaji with the divine consorts Sreedevi and Bhoodevi near his feet on the same idol on either sides.
They built a small Temple at the place and now, even now, Lord Balaji graces his devotees at Chilkur.