Welcome to the Visa Temple

Source: Roads & Kingdoms

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HYDERABAD, India—

Leaning into the microphone to address his audience, C.S. Rangarajan, the bearded head priest of the Chilkur Balaji temple, squawks, “Our Bhagwan (God) is greater than Donald Trump!”

Welcome to the Visa Temple.

For decades, young people from across India have flocked to this 500-year-old structure on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India’s fifth largest city, with a shared dream: a visa to the United States. The temple, formally known as the Chilkur Balaji, is middling in size by Indian standards but, as its endless crowds suggest, its incarnation of Vishnu grants wishes at a rate that is anything ...

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