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Delhi gets a visa temple

Lord Hanuman is believed to have special powers to expedite visa requests.


Hanuman temple in Neb Sarai is attracting numerous visa-applicants from all over Delhi and outside 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 the maximum number of entries have been made by people whose visa wishes were fulfilled after visiting the temple. Visa temples exist in Hyderabad and Ahmedabad as well.

The temple is run by Rekha Jain, the head priest, and Santosh Kumar Dwivedi, her deputy. "We get at least five to 10 such requests every day," said Dwivedi.

Rekha Jain established the temple four years ago, after being advised by her guru. "He said that I had the right kind of energy to make it work," she said, sitting in her spacious first floor office inside the temple complex. Her visiting card describes her as a Reiki grandmaster, among other things.

Asked if being a woman as the head priest in a temple dedicated to Hanuman, a celibate god, was not a cause for conflict, she said that she thought of Hanuman as her son and worshipped him in that form. According to Jain, the deity was capable of making all wishes come true, and not just visa requests.

This newspaper spoke to some of the applicants who had visited the temple. Jay Kumar Patil, a resident of Alaknanda, wished to go to Europe for an office trip and was facing difficulties in this regard. He came to know of the visa temple online. Soon after making an "application" at the temple, he got the required visa. "I go there often for other reasons too and all my wishes have been fulfilled," Patil said.

Wamita Vohra, a resident of Patel Nagar, wanted to go to the United States to pursue higher studies. "We visited the temple a day before her visa interview and she got the visa the next day," said her mother, Madhu Vohra.

Not everyone was so lucky. "My husband applied for a visa to go abroad in October 2009. We went to the temple in February 2010 but it took until October 2010 to get the visa. They had claimed it would be immediate," said Neeru Jain, wife of Amit Jain, who was careful not to deny the deity's so-called miraculous powers. She also chose not to divulge the destination and the purpose of the trip.

To this, Rekha Jain would probably say, "it is a matter of faith".

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