By now most of you would know that we have shifted to Hyderabad, I have been posting this status across all my social media handles. For those who are wondering why this move, it is simply because now the earning member of this blogger family has a job in Hyderabad and we, like most of us need to pay our bills and no, my blog is still not making money.
Been almost a month here and the side effects of moving to a new place are many; the obvious one unpacking the cartons and setting up the house. In the midst of all this, we decided that our first outing should be to a temple (yes we are still the God-fearing types). Chilkur Balaji Temple was on the radar for two reasons, first, it is popular as the Visa Temple, it is believed that if you visit this temple before applying for the US Visa chances are that you will get it stamped and second, it is very close to where we stay, around 22 km to and from and being a Delhite for many years now we don’t mind such distances that to signal free without traffic. We call it long drive, dude!
ORR or the Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad is the only road that I know for the time being and that is enough for this road can take you places and one of them is Chilkur Balaji temple. Located close to Osmansagar Lake is the small village called Chilkur and here is the famous Chilkur Balaji Temple. It could have been one of the many temples here in south India but because it is famous as the Visa temple you will see a different kind of buzz in and around the temple. Of course, we did not go to request Sri Balaji for a visa but we found that many people inside the sanctum were going in rounds or ‘pradikshanas’ and counting the number of rounds for it is said that if your wish is granted then you must finish 108 rounds or ‘pradikshanas’ around the deity. To keep a record of the number of rounds you can ask for a printed paper from the caretakers of the temple which has number 1 to 108 printed on it to help you keep a track.
There is an interesting legend behind the construction of this temple which is one of the oldest in Telangana. It is believed that the temple was built by an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateshwara who was a regular visitor at the Tirupati Balaji temple. But when his health did not permit him to visit the temple in Tirupati, God visited him in his dreams and asked him to find idols of Him together with Sridevi and Bhoodevi and build a temple in Chilkur. Since then many devotees who cannot visit Tirupati temple often come here and seek blessings of Sri Balaji.
The temple is the usual bright blue color that we associate with a lot of temples here in south with a lot of other colors on the top. We also saw a huge chariot that is used for talking out processions mostly during festivals and celebrations. Just outside the temple you will find many stalls selling small items like keychains, idols and pictures of different Gods, masks and toys for kids to name a few.
There are also many stalls for sugarcane juice and you will be invited by these shop owners to have juice in their shops for a very reasonable price of course. Then there are many ladies selling some not so popular fruits like the star fruit, Totapuri mangoes etc. which they cut into thin slices and serve on newspaper with some salt which is mixed with some spices. My husband stayed away from this unusually sour treat but I and my daughters totally enjoyed every bit of it. Hmmm! My mouth is watering just at the thought of the sour mango bites. This used to be my childhood afternoon treat which we (I, my brother and a couple of kids from the neighborhood) would pluck from mango trees just outside our home.
There are many shops outside the temple selling the usual offerings like coconut, flowers however inside the temple no offerings are accepted, we were not aware of this and bought coconut (the lady outside was trying to sell us two coconuts citing that there is a Shiva temple too inside but none of the temples accept any offerings so even if you buy coconut and flowers all you can do is break the coconut in the designated area).
I had read at many places that the temple doesn’t accept any money but we did donate some money and it was accepted. However, there was no donation box but just a small cane basket in which some people were donating money.
In almost all the places of worship we have this habit of closing our eyes in front of the deity but here it is particularly mentioned that you must not close your eyes in front of the Lord but should see him. As the idol is almost completely covered with flowers you will only be able to see the face of the Lord but then again it makes it easy as you just have to concentrate on the face of the Lord.
How to reach:
By Cab: The roads are well maintained and you could hire a cab or a self-drive car and reach the temple via the Outer Ring Road (ORR). Take Exit 18 on the ORR and head towards Vikarabad road, you would cross Mruguvani National Park (next on our to-visit list) after which there will be a fork, left goes to Vikarabad Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple and the right goes to Chilkur Balaji Temple.
There is a parking area and you can park your car and walk to the temple. It is hardly 2 minutes walk from there.
By Bus: I saw frequent bus service in my one hour of visit at the temple. These buses were plying from Mehdipatnam to Chilkur and the route number was 288D.
Where to Stay:
You could choose to stay in Hyderabad which has a number of stay options in Gachibowli or if you wish you could also stay at the Haritha Resort by Telangana Tourism just outside Chilkur Balaji Temple.