It all started on the day of Janmashtmi 2008 when I first visited Sri Sri Radha Kunjabihari temple in camp Pune. While having a beautiful darshan of Sri Sri Radha Kunjabihariji I heard Vishnu Sahastranaam. So out of curiosity I went to find out where it was being played and I came across a very beautiful deity of Lord Sri Balaji in the temple campus, dressed in shining blue dhoti with golden border. Balaji was wearing very beautiful golden ornaments; however, it was due to effulging beauty of Lord that made all the clothes and jewellery looking so attractive. I found myself completely absorbed in seeing the beautiful form of Lord Balaji. I didn’t even realize that I got so attracted by deities, simplicity of devotees, prasad, kirtan. Basically to say the culture of the temple attracted me so much that I became a regular visitor.

Curd RiceThen after few years the new temple for Radha Krishna was constructed on Katraj-Kondhwa bypass road, which has a separate temple for Lord Balaji. Lord Balaji from Camp temple was brought to this new temple in a very grand manner just like the famous Jagannath Puri Rathyatra. This was followed by an elaborate installation ceremony performed by Sri Vaishnava Pujaris from South India who came especially for this event.

On 24th Feb, 2013 this temple was inaugurated and Balaji worship has started in a traditional way. This temple being at some height, cold breeze blows continuously and a very sweet traditional music is played from morning to evening which gives a feeling of Tirupati Balaji. Daily Balaji wakes up listening Venkatesh Suprabhatam followed by six times aarti throughout the day during which Vishnu Sahastranaam is played.

As we enter the Gopuram (entrance gate) of Balaji temple there is Garuda Stambha on which Sri Garudaji (Lord Balaji’s vehicle) sits and protects the temple from all evils. Also Garuda is standing in front of Lord ready to render services to Him. Just outside the altar Jai-Vijay are serving as dwarpals. Around the Balaji altar there are Ashtadigpal on which the morning Prasad (a very tasty curd rice offered to Balaji ) is first honoured by 8 prime demigods and is then distributed to all devotees.

I have one very fascinating story of this curd rice which I would like to share with all of you.
My friend comes everyday to temple for attending morning program from the very other end of the city. One day in the morning she thought of completing her chanting at home in front of her deities. All of a sudden she remembered the Curd Rice Prasad and drove to reach the temple of Lord Balaji. Another morning she was attending a program at the temple and had to leave for home. On the way she stopped to buy flowers for her lord in the home. All of a sudden she realised that she had left without tasting the Curd Rice Prasad of Lord Balaji. She came back immediately, took very beautiful darshan of Lord and tasted the delicious Curd Rice.

Lord is so attractive that even His mercy in the form of Curd Rice can drag one to His shelter without one’s knowledge. I stay in the neighbourhood of this most beautiful temple. After hearing these beautiful stories I am getting inspired to go at least for Curd Rice. I thank my dear friend for sharing these beautiful stories with me.

Also in the evening a very delicious sweet pongal prasad is distributed. On 2nd Sunday of every month yajna ,kalash puja and abhishek for Lord Balaji along with His consorts Sri Devi , Bhu Devi & Andaal and Sudarshan Chakra is performed. There is also a Special Balaji Puja arranged for well-wishers to attract the special mercy of Lord Balaji on their family.Other major festivals like Brahmotsav , Balaji – Padmavati Kalyanam (marriage) is also celebrated with great enthusiasm.

I am very happy and feel myself extremely fortunate for being a part of this family.

By- Shalini Rathi, B.E. Electronics
Shalini Rathi, is a housewife stays in Pune with her husband Mr Bharat Rathi. The whole family is practicing and preaching Krishna consciousness by their great example.