India is an extraordinary country. You never know what might be waiting for you as a take a turn in the snaking lanes and by-lanes of this vast country. One is sure to be surprised by the diversity in lifestyle and culture evident in this small piece of land. With this principle of Unity in Diversity, we have learned to blend with each other just like fish takes to water.
Different people have different beliefs and ideologies in this country. Also, we Indians are known for our pious faith in appeasing the Gods. In this land of temples, it was not surprising to me when I got to know that India also has ‘Visa-temples’.
Altogether 4 in number, these visa temples are true to their name. They help you earn a visa to travel abroad. Let’s embark on this short trip.
Chilkur Balaji Temple, Hyderabad
All those worried about the H-1B visa, there is some good news. The Chilkur Balaji Temple, located on the banks of the Osman Sagar Lake in Hyderabad, specializes in a US visa. This temple also has several youngsters thronging its courtyard, aspiring for a visit to America.
Sri Venkateswara Balaji deity is worshipped at this temple. People first come here to pray for a visa, after standing for hours in a long queue. And then, when they finally get a visa, they return to circumambulate the temple 108 times!
Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara, Punjab
The village of Talhan, Punjab has a 150-year-old shrine of Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh. It is a popular belief that if you pray for a visa here, you are sure to get one. But the devotees have a different method of thanksgiving in this Gurudwara. Further, they return with a toy airplane and donate it to the Gurudwara. All the toys are then collected and distributed among the children of the community.
Bajrangbali Temple, New Delhi
The Bajrangbali Temple on IGNOU road, New Delhi, is run by Rekha Jain and her deputy, Santosh Kumar Dwivedi. For a relatively new temple (established in 2007), the number of devotees is something commendable. Dedicated to ‘Pawan-Putra’ Hanuman, people believe that they can travel abroad if they pray for a visa here. Furthermore, the worshippers are not complaining. It is also said that all the visa troubles have ended for every devotee. Where it took some a year, others got their visas in a single month.
Khadia Hanuman Temple, Ahmedabad
India’s only UNESCO world heritage city, Ahmedabad, has a visa temple of its own. The Khadia Hanuman Temple is located in Desai Ni Pol in Khadia, Ahmedabad. Again dedicated to Hanuman, worshippers throng this 100-year-old temple to pray for a visa, especially on Saturdays.
Well, these were the 4 visa temples of India. If you are having trouble getting a visa, visit a visa temple nearest to you. Also, in this era, I think the number of devotees in these temples has ‘Trumped’ the number of devotees in any other temple in India! As they say, it is all about faith.