Chilkur Balaji literally means Chhote Balaji. The Chilakur Balaji Temple is the most famous temple in Hyderabad and its surrounding areas. It is also famous as the wish-fulfillment temple. The paramount desire among the devotees here is to get a visa to go abroad. The God of this temple is considered to be the God of visas, that is, the God who fulfills the desire to get visas especially in the passports of devotees.
When I came to know about this temple, I wished to see it and collect more information about it. This desire brought me to this temple one day. Initially I had decided to come here at the end of the week, but a regular devotee of the temple warned me that there is a huge crowd of devotees in the weekend. So we planned to come here on a Monday. There was a crowd on that day but their number was not large.
The path leading to the temple goes through fields, farmer’s houses and near the entrance of Mrigavani National Park. This temple is located near the Osman Sagar Lake. When we reached the temple through the congested routes of Hyderabad city, our mind became calm and happy.
Chilkur Balaji Temple of Hyderabad
Chilkur Balaji is one of the oldest temples in Hyderabad. Its construction was 16th. The century was done during the reigns of Akkana and Madanna. Akkana and Madanna are devotees of devotees Ramdas. Devotee Ramdas was a scholar of Carnatic style classical music and was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama.
There is a thriving market on the route leading to the temple. Outside the other temples, the common items which are sold, small artifacts made in white and green marble are also sold here. I saw such an amalgam only at this place in Hyderabad.
The sale of a bizarre object caught my attention. A bundle sheet with a pen on which numbers from 1 to 108 were written. What kind of leaflet is this? what is it used for? Prima facie it seemed like a sheet of Tambola game. I was sorry to think this, but I could not find any connection with the temple of Tambola Khel. How could I find it? Neither was it Tambola’s leaflet, nor was this temple related to that game. Then someone informed me that after the wish fulfillment, the devotees do circumambulation of the temple 108 Pradaksina. But while performing 108, sometimes the calculation is missed. At this time, this leaflet proves very useful. After each pradakshina, the corresponding number can be marked. Within the temple, we used to see many such colorful leaflets everywhere.
Chilkur Balaji Temple is a small temple, I knew this from before. But upon seeing it directly, it seemed even smaller than I imagined. The temple has a small but colorful shining gopuram on the backdrop of plain white reefs with a golden flag on it. There were fences all around to limit the crowd of devotees in restrained rows. As there was not much crowd that day, we reached the premises of Chilkur Balaji Temple directly. Here the devotees were worshiping the temple with chanting.
11 Circles for wish fulfillment
My colleagues decided to perform 11 pradakshina which is necessary to demand any wish. I also joined them. A notice plaque on the campus read, ‘Focus on God, not the number of circumambulation’. The devotees were chanting “Govinda, Govinda” while performing pradakshina while a devotee was chanting another mantra on the mic of the amplifier. Some adolescent boys were wandering here and there selling water bottles.
After 11 revolutions, we entered the temple where a plank was informing us not to close our eyes during darshan. The frame of the main gate was silver, with the image of Vaishnavi Devi engraved on the upper part. Within the temple was another torana engraved in Rajasthani art form. Inside the temple, there were so many layers of clothes and ornaments on the statue of God that nothing was visible except these layers. Only one can imagine the image of God.
There is no donation box or bill in this temple anywhere. Donations of any kind are also not accepted in the temple.
Legend of temple
After the darshan we went to the back of the temple where we were to meet the chief priest of the temple, Mr. Chilakur Madbhushi Gopalakrishnan. His family has been maintaining the temple for the last 400 years. He told us many stories and legends related to the temple.
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An ancient legend tells us how this temple was built. It is said that a devotee visited the temple of Tirupati Balaji every year. He was unable to visit Balaji for one year due to illness. Balaji came in his dream and asked him to stop worrying. In his dream, Balaji said that he is in a forest near him and he also gave a way to reach them. When the devotee reached Balaji’s said place, he saw the Chhujundar’s cloth at that place. The idol of Balaji, along with Sridevi and Bhudevi, was obtained from that banbi. Over the years, a temple was constructed for these idols, which is known as Chilkur Balaji Temple i.e. Chhoti Balaji Temple. Those devotees who could not visit the main temple of Balaji, can see Balaji in this temple located nearby.
Another legend is mentioned in the temple’s website –
In 1943, that is, one year after the Chinese invasion, the statue of Ammavaru was established. When the invaders voluntarily withdrew, Ammavaru was christened Rajya Lakshmi to commemorate that event. The specialty of this statue is that he has lotus flowers in his three hands and the fourth hand points towards the lotus which shows the principle of refuge.
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The stories narrated to me by Purohitji were composed during his lifetime. Such as the wish of Visa to God and fulfill those wishes. He told that these beliefs started in the year 1960. He said that at the time of digging a well in the temple, he was revolving around the temple. As soon as he completed 11 parikrama, then water came out from the well. To express his gratitude, he performed 108 pradakshina of the temple. Since then, this tradition has started. Devotees do 11 circumambulation of the temple while expressing their wish to God. When their wish is fulfilled, they again come here and do 108 circumambulation of the temple i.e.Pradakshina.
You all will remember that between 1960 and 190, the desire of young men and women to go abroad and get higher education was at its peak. For this, it was extremely important to get a visa. Many young men and young women and their parents started coming to the Chilkur Balaji temple with this desire. Since then, Chilkur Balaji has become a new name, the god of visas. Many of these will have been fulfilled. Someone must have prepared this unique leaflet to help the students and their parents. Now I understand why so many people in the temple were holding a census sheet and chanting chants while chanting mantras.
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In the end, while throwing a smile of humor, Gopalakrishnan Ji said that this is a temple of youth.
In most temples, parents take their children. But in this temple children take their parents. The wishes that are expressed most often are success in entrance exam, marriage of desired person, job gain etc. along with getting visa mainly which is becoming the major demand of today’s youth.
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I do not know how many people come here and get their wish fulfilled. But I have seen and experienced the immense devotion and total dedication that has come on the face of these devotees while walking around. It is said that, reverence and faith can move the great mountains, perhaps it is a type of that.
Some information related to visit to Chilkur Balaji Temple
The temple is located at a distance of about 33 km from the city of Hyderabad, near the Osman Sagar Lake.
The Harith Guest House of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is located only 100 meters from the temple. It is a perfect place to stay and dine near the temple.
Over one lakh devotees visit the temple daily on weekends, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. So take special care of it while planning your trip.
The temple is open from 5 am to 6 pm.
Photography is not allowed inside the temple.
For more information, see this temple site.
Translation: Madhumita Tamhane