Indians Pray to the 'Visa God'

Priest uses deity to hook believers hoping to work in the West
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2007 4:40 PM CST

(Newser) – Every week, 100,000 worshipers converge on a temple in Hyderabad, India, that honors a local incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. But the faithful aren’t praying for good health or fortune: They seek visas to the US and other Western countries, and the deity they’re praying to is known as the Visa God, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

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The temple’s head priest coined the nickname a few years back, when the site was getting two or three visitors a week. The temple's surging popularity reflects the mounting frustration educated Indians face in attempting to win one of the 65,000 slots for a US H-1B visa. “I’ve never head of anyone who’s gone to the temple whose visa got rejected,” says one believer. (Read more Lord Balaji stories.)

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