Devotees flock temples to get travel visas

Can’t get to Canada from India?

Visitor visas for relatives or friends rejected by the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi?

Can’t get a work permit to work in Canada?

No problem.

Just visit one of the unusual temples that have come up in India, that offer divine help in procuring a visa.

Millions of Indians regularly visit temples and religious sites to pray and seek divine help in fulfilling their wishes.

But in recent years, temples have come up, that offer a deity’s help in getting a visa.

One of them is the is nicknamed the Visa Temple. Situated in Chilkur in Hyderabad, this temple is officially called Chilkur Balaji Temple and is located near Osman Sagar lake.

Sri Venkateswara Balaji deity is worshiped here however after a number of incidents of people praying to the deity for getting a visa stamp on their passport and their wishes coming true, this temple became famous as the Visa Temple.

The temple is in Chilkur and has over 75,000 to 100,000 devotees paying a visit every week, with a major rush on Fridays and Sundays. If you are planning to visit this temple, be prepared to stand in a long queue especially on these days.

Typically, worshippers perform a wish-making ceremony that includes making 11 laps around the inner temple. Sometimes they proffer their passports and make offerings of fresh coconuts.

If the wish comes true, they must return and make a further 108 laps.

Another such temple is the "Chamatkarik Shri Hanumanji Na Charan" in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

A devotee said he has observed numerous instances of vis application success due to the temple.

"Any devotee who comes to our lord's temple, with great honour and reverence, and makes a wishes to lord Hanuman to get a visa, it has been my observation that none of the wishes have failed," said the devotee, quoted by local media.

The Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh gurdwara, in Talhan village, Punjab is a 150-year old place of worship for Sikhs.

Every week, thousands of Sikhs head here to get an approval to go abroad. The popular belief is that paying a visit to the shrine can up your chances of securing a visa. The temple has an airplane placed at the top of it. Along with prayer devotees offer fascinating offerings like toy aeroplanes, probably two give their wishes two wings.

There are shops outside the gurdwara that sell such toys too.

The Khadia Hanuman Temple in Ahmedabad is home to Vayu Putra (son of wind) in times of crises, especially when things relate to air or more precisely sky.

The Khadia Hanuman is believed to be the visa-expediting Lord. This 400-year-old temple is packed on Saturdays when travel counselling sessions are conducted with hundreds of applicants.

"Every Saturday, of the 4000 devotees who throng the temple, more than fifty per cent are visa-seekers, who come praying for visas," says Gaurang Mehta, resident of Desai ni pol.

"The devotees come with offerings of visa documents and passports, which the Pujari lays at the feet of Visa Hanuman and makes the devotees recite a Chaupayee (a prayer note) of lord Hanuman," says Mehta.

"It is believed that if the ritual is performed in earnest, the devotee gets the visa within a month," says Bhushan Bhatt, a local corporator.

"Apart from Ahmedabad, devotees from Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, and smaller towns and villages across the state come in large numbers to this temple. It's a matter of belief. Devotees have firm faith that after visiting the temple, their visa will be granted," adds Bhatt.

Hanuman temple in Neb Sarai, New Delhi is also attracting numerous visa-applicants from all over as word spreads that the deity has special powers to expedite visas.

The temple is located a few blocks down IGNOU Road. The board outside does not give any indications about the deity's special "powers". However, one only needs to take a look at the temple register, which has entries from 2010 onwards, to realise that a number of entries have been made by people whose visa wishes were fulfilled after visiting the temple.

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