Chilkur Balaji Temple is an ancient Hindu temple on the banks of Osman Sagar Lake near Hyderabad. It is 33 km from Mehedipatnam. It is one of the oldest temples in the Telangana region built during the time of Madanna and Akkana, the uncles of Bhakta Ramadas. It is also a Hundi-less and no VIP privileges temple.
History and legend
From the style, structure and appearance, it can be inferred that the temple was built half a millennium ago. Set in sylvan surroundings, Chilkur Balaji Temple attracts thousands of pilgrims every year and is an ideal place for sequestered retreat and meditation. It enjoyed in the past, great days of pomp and glory.
According to tradition, a devotee who used to visit Tirupati every year could not do so on one occasion owing to serious ill health. Lord Venkateshwara appeared in his dream and said, “I am right here in the jungle nearby. You don’t have to worry.” The devotee at once moved to the place indicated by the Lord in the dream and saw a molehill there, which he dug up. Accidentally, the axe struck Lord Balaji’s archa-vigraha (covered by the molehill) below the chin and on the chest. Surprisingly blood started flowing profusely from the “wounds”, flooding the ground and turning it scarlet. The devotee could not believe his eyes. He could not believe his ears when he heard a voice from the air saying, “Flood the molehill with cow’s milk.” When the devotee did so, a Swayambhu archa-vigraha of Lord Balaji accompanied by Sridevi and Bhoodevi (a rare combination) was found, and this archa-vigraha was installed with the due rites and a temple built for it.
Sri Balaji Venkateshwara, the Pratyaksha Daiva in Kaliyuga, is thus available at Chilkur to shower blessings on His devotees who for any reason are unable to go to Tirupati. Many devout worshippers flock to the temple to receive the blessings of the Lord and his consorts throughout the year particularly during Poolangi, Annakota and Brahmothsavams.
With the earnest desire to revive the former glory and importance of the temple, the archa-vigraha of Ammavaru was installed in 1963, the year following the Chinese aggression. When the aggression was unilaterally vacated, Ammavaru was given the name of Rajya Lakshmi, signifying this welcome event. The unique feature of this archa-vigraha is that lotus flowers are held in three hands and the fourth hand is in a position towards the lotus feet which signifies the doctrine of Saranagathi.
The temple has been visited by great Acharyas from time to time. A visit to the temple is a must for the Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt every time he visits the twin cities, and in the temple is installed the archa-vigraha of the first Jeer.
During a visit the devotee goes through the usual rituals of prayer, including 11 pradakshinas of the inner shrine, and makes a vow. Once the wish is fulfilled devotees then walk 108 times around the sanctum sanctorum. The majority of wishes by devotees are visa related, thus Chilkur Balaji is also referred to as ‘Visa’ Balaji .
It is also the only temple in India that does not accept any money from the devotees , does not have a hundi, no tickets / special darshans, no green channel or privileges for VVIPs, and it fought and won the right to stay out of government control except for the temple “Ramanuj Kot”, a temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
The temple at Chilkur is managed by the hereditary trustee Sri M.V. Soundara Rajan, Sri Ranga Rajan and Sri C.S. Gopala Krishna. The entire family of the archaka, including the women have dedicated themselves to serve the God.
Timings: 6.00am to 8.00pm
The temple is located on the banks of Osmansagar Lake with serene environs with lush green trees and small rocks in a village called as Chilkur.
BRT is available to Chilkur Balaji Temple from Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad with APSRTC bus bearing service number 288D every 15 minutes, with 30-minute drive from the heart of Hyderabad City. A few other services are available from APSRTC BRT.