Places we would have visited this Hanuman Jayanti to have spiritual enlightenment. But since we’re going to be home. Let’s travel through words, shall we?
Celebrated as birthday of Lord Hanuman, the festival of Hanuman Jayanti which according to the Hindu calendar falls on the 15th day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra. Maruti or The Monkey God is a devotee of Lord Rama who is believed to be a combination of powerful and courageous yet very humble. Across the country devotees and worshippers of Lord Hanuman have various names referring to the Lord such as Bajrangabali, Pranadevaru, Pavanasuta, Pavankumar, Anjaneya, SankatMochan, Mahavira, and many more.
Customs and Rituals of the festival
Since it is believed that Lord Hanuman took birth during the sunrise, most of the rituals start around then. Devotees observe fast and meditate, chant the Hanuman Chalisa and other religious shlokas. An aarti takes place along with a bhog (religious offering to god) of Lord Hanuman’s favorite sweet, boondi are offered. Usually celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Chaitra, however, also variates from place to place. It is celebrated on the Purnima in the Hindu Lunar month of Chaitra in Maharashtra, while on the New Moon Day in the month of Margazhi, in Tamil Nadu, which usually falls around December and January.
About Lord Hanuman
Lord Hanuman an adherent devotee of Lord Rama was born to serve Lord Rama according to the mythology. One of the central figures of the Hindu epic Ramayana and its various versions, he is also mentioned in other texts, including Mahabharata, the various Puranas, and some Jain texts. Hanuman participated in Rama’s war against the demon king Ravana, also a few texts describe him as an incarnation of Shiva. He is the son of Anjana and Kesari and also according to several stories the son of the wind-God Pawan who played a role in the birth of Lord Hanuman. He is also portrayed as an avatar of Shiva or Rudra in the Sanskrit texts like the Mahabhagvata Purana, the Skanda Purana, the Brhaddharma Purana, and the Mahanataka among others. This makes Lord Hanuman believed to be the living God of this yuga, and solver of problems whatever it maybe. There are innumerable temples in India dedicated to Lord Hanuman, whereas some of these temples are special, which is the reason for highlighting them as a place one must visit on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti this year.
Best places to witness Hanuman Jayanti
1. Salasar Hanuman Temple, Salasar (Rajasthan)
In a small village of Salasar, located in the Churu district of Rajasthan there is a unique statue of Hanuman. Strange or rather call it the uniqueness of this statue is that the statue has a beard and mustache too making it different from all other statues of Hanuman located across the country.. The idol believed to have been found by a farmer while walking around a field is now placed on a gold throne. This temple is also known as the Salasar Balaji Temple forms an important part of the pilgrimage circuit that includes the Rani Sati Temple and Khatushyamji (Sheesh KeDaani).
2. Hanuman Jayanti in Hanumangadhi Ayodhya
Situated right on the banks of river Saryu at the top of a high hill, Hanumangadhi is a prominent temple in the city of Ayodhya. The idol here which is only 6 inches long is always adorned with garlands. Devotees climb up a total of 76 stairs to reach this temple located on the hilltop.
3. Mahavir Hanuman Temple, Bihar
This famous temple of Mahavir Hanuman is located right opposite to the Patna junction. This temple gets the maximum offerings in the northern part of India after Vaishno Devi. Around 1 lakh is deposited every day in this temple on a daily basis. The temple is administered by Shri Mahavir SthanNyas Samiti (Mahavir Mandir Trusts). One can also see the brass shrines houses on top of this renowned temple structure. Other deities are also housed in this temple such as Lord Shiva, Lord Rama with Lakshman and Shatavari, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Durga, SatyanarainBhagwan, Lord Krishna and Arjun, Lord Buddha, Goddess Saraswathi, Shantideva Cave and so on.
4. Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Sage Raghavendra Swamy used to worship Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami as the main deity. The five-faced form of Hanuman is called Panchamukhi, which currently has a temple built at the place where sage used to meditate. Thiruvallur in Tamil Nadu also has a 40 feet tall monolithic green granite Sri Panchamukha Hanuman Murti installed. The ashram of Panchamukha Hanuman was established by a saint called VenkatesaBattar.
5. Snakatmochan Temple, Benaras, UP
An ancient temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is believed to be established by Tulsidas himself. Sankatmochan is a name associated with Lord Hanuman when split ‘Sankat’ means ‘problem’ and ‘mocha’ denotes ‘solver’. Thus devotees hail to this temple with a belief that Lord Hanuman will solve the problems of the visitors when prayed wholeheartedly. The present structure of this temple was constructed by a renowned Indian educationist and freedom fighter- Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, during the early 90s. You can see the idol of Lord Hanuman here covered in orange color sindoor and Laal Pedas are offered as prasad/ religious offerings.
6. Balaji Hanuman Temple, Mehendipur, Rajasthan
Nestled between two mountains in the Dausa district of Rajasthan is this place called Mehndipur. This is known to contain a very large rock in the shape of Hanuman which has recovered itself. This is believed to be Sri Hanuman. According to the legends, a small water pond at the idol’s feet never dries.
7. Hanuman Dhara Chitrakut
The place called Hanumandhara is a small one near Chitrakut. You can see an idol of Lord Hanuman standing against a mountain for years. Also, a small water body is seen which touches this idol and meets the river.
8. Sri Hanuman Temple, Jamnagar
This temple was established along with the Jamnagar in the year 1540. The name of this temple is also featured in Guinness book of world records because of the Rama dhuni that is being continuously sung here since 1st August 1964. It is also believed to be the oldest temple founded by Shri Prembhikshuji Maharaj during the year 1963-64 and also known as Bala Hanuman Temple.
9. Hanuman Temple, Allahabad, UP
This temple is unique because the idol comprises a Veera Mudra posture i.e in reclining form and is 20 feet long. It is unique to witness this massive idol which is approximately 6m long and 2.4m wide with the blanket forehead, huge arms, broad waistline. This Hanuman temple is attached to the Allahabad fort itself. The temple also immerses partially in the river Ganga when the level raises. It is believed that the sacred Ganges wanting to touch the holy feet of Lord Hanuman is the primary reason behind the rise in the water level.
10. Sri Kastbhanjan hanuman temple, Srangpur, Gujarat
This temple locates in Sarangpur, Gujarat is among the prominent ones among the Vadtal Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. It is dedicated to Lord Hanuman established in the form of Kastbhanjan (Crusher of sorrows). The idol here is a sturdy figure with a handlebar mustache, which is seen standing among sculpted foliage full of fruit-bearing monkey attendants and crushing a demon under his foot and teeth-baring.
11. Hanuman Jayanti in Jhakoo Temple
This is among the oldest temples in the region located in Shimla and dedicated to Lord Hanuman. At an altitude of 8000 feet, the temple is nestled beautifully in the Jhakoo hill. This temple can be accessed either by a steep climb from the Ridge in Shimla or by hiring a horse to reach the temple, specially made available for the devotees. This also houses the famous 108-feet-high Hanuman idol which also claims to be the world’s tallest statue that too at such an elevation. Legend has it that this is a place where Hanuman paused for a while on his journey to find SanjivniBooti for Lakshmana. You shall also see a large population of monkeys around the place here.
12. Sri Prasanna Anjaneya Temple, Bangalore
Also popularly known as Ragigudda Anjaneya Temple, the temple is located in Jayanagar, Bangalore. The temple here is located on top of a small natural hill which has a popular belief associated with stating this hill has taken shape from a heap of finger millet (ragi). This is the reason it is called ‘Ragigudda’. It is believed that the holy Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva changed themselves into three stones pillars as they wanted to stay near the thill. Now you can come across these three massive stones featuring the engravings of the Hindu trinity. Other shrines housed in this temple include Sri Seetha Rama Swamy shrine, Sri Rajarajeshwari shrine, Navagraha shrine, and others.