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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

November 12, 2015

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

My recent trip to Anjanadri Betta (hill) was not just a pilgrimage to the Hanuman birth place but also a journey in realization of the fabulous history of the place. For this is the blessed land where
  • The history of India and Hindu religion is deeply imbued
  • Ramayana comes to life here
  • Hanuman is deeply connected in every aspect of the life and times here
This low profile place shot to recent prominence when Jashodaben Modi, wife of Indian PM Narendra Modi visited the place seeking the blessings of the all mighty, as he took to the most powerful chair in Indian polity after a landslide victory in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

Anjanadri hill route: Anjandri betta, birthplace of Hanuman is about 25 kms away from Kamalapur in Hampi and a short drive from Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari managed by KSTDC. Hampi is a world heritage site about 343 from Bangalore, the silicon valley of India and a treasure trove of delightful ruins from the Vijaynagar empire. One has to pass through the town of Anegundi and some patchy roads (thanks to the SatNav which optimized my route plan) before reaching the place.

The temple is perched high on top of a hillock overlooking the Tungabhadra, the majestic river which was known as Pampa in ancient times. The river meanders through the beautiful rocky terrain comprising of stone gorges and massive granite boulders and provides a pretty picture as you ascend the 575 steps to the top. One can see the famous Virupaksha temple on other side of the river but the rest of the ruins of the once mighty Vijayanagar empire which provides a monochromatic continuity to the scenery is secluded from the magnificent view. It is only befitting to see the gopura of this magnificent temple dedicated to lord Shiva (who is regarded as the incarnate form of Hanuman). 

Where to stay when you visit Anjanadri Hill? If you are a budget traveller looking for value for money, then we suggest you stay at the
Mayura Bhuvaneshwari. It is situated next to the ruins of Hampi and is a 45 minute drive away from the  birth place of Lord Hanuman. The rooms are clean, food is okay and the ambiance is definitely good with surrounding  lush green garden. The staff are polite and friendly and the best part is its run by Government run Karnataka Tourism. If you are looking for a resort, then you may head to Kishkinda resort which is frequented by foreigners. You can spot them riding a bicycle or a biking in the surrounding hamlets. 

Anjanadri Hill topology
- where geology meets mythology: So the first thing you notice once you reach the top is the breath taking topography of the place. A symphony of sorts between the rocks, the mighty river, lush paddy fields interspersed with coconut grooves and beautiful man made stone structures of Vijaynagar times emerging from natural rock formations. The tourists come here to also view the sunset which provides the icing on the cake to the visual treat. For the Hindu, this place is alchemy of geology and mythology, the seven magnificent hillocks* steeped in India’s religious epic Ramayana provide the backdrop to the magnificent Vijayanagar architecture here.

The seven hillocks are *Kishkinda, Anjanadri, Matanga, Malyavanta, Rushyamukha, Hemakuta, Rathnakuta

                         Kishkinda (surrounded by the dandaka forest) was the monkey kingdom in the Ramayana which flourished here in the Treta Yuga. The nearby Rushyamukha hill is the place where Hanuman stayed with Sugriva as per the Purana. Lord Rama came here in search of Sita and met the two and learns about her kidnapping by Ravana. Two inscriptions in Kannada (AD 1069 from Devighat) and (AD 1088 at Somnatha temple in nearby Munirabad) bear testimony to this

                        The Hemakuta Hill is the place where lord Shiva did penance before marrying Pampa (daughter of Brahma, also the ancient name of river Tungabhadra that flows like the Nile here)

                        The nearby hamlet of Anegundi is supposed to be Kishkinda, which as per Valmiki’s Ramayana Kishkinda Kanda (episode) is the place where where Sugreeva met lord Rama.

                            The largest monolithic statue of Ugra-narasimha (the man-lion incarnation of lord Vishnu) which finds place in the Prahalada (who is believed to be reincarnated in this region as Raghavendra) episode of Ramayana is found in Hampi

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

Anjanadri Hill Hanuman temple: The small temple atop the Anjandri Betta which signifies the Hanuman birth place is strikingly modest compared to the massive profile of lord Hanuman in the Hindu pantheon and his place in the hearts of millions of devotees. A young hindi speaking lad from UP carried out the aarati of the swambhu (naturally formed) vigraha of lord Hanuman. He appears in his classic stance i.e, sideways posture, his oblique eyes fixing his grace on the devotee as one enters the sanctum sanctorum. In the adjacent room, two Sants were immersed in a non stop recitation of bhajans in front of the holy triumvirate; Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman made from pure white marble. In the same vicinity is the statue of Anjanadri, the holy mother facing north while the rest of them face east. Her gaze is intense and the eyes are from a different world altogether.

At the entrance is a small aquarium containing a specimen of the floating rock used in building the Ram Sethu. One of the sants who was reciting the Bhajan joined us for a cup of tea subsequently. He identified himself as Ram Khilavan Mishra, and two ladies who also visited the temple during our visit turned out to be Sadhvis from Gorakhnath Math from UP (in pic).

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

Outside the temple, a small army of Vanars (monkeys) were more than eager to receive the coconut offerings I had bought from home. Strangely enough I could see squirrels here (they are usually not found atop rocks where there is no vegetation) but where the param bhakt of Lord Ram resides, his other devotees abound too!

Hanuman Parikrama: Further north of the Tungabhadra, in this undulating rocky region is a place called Mantralaya in present day Andhra. The renowned Hindu Saint and philosopher Guru Raghavenda who possessed miraculous powers lived here (1595-1671) and is believed to be the reincarnation of Sankukarna, Prahlada, Bahlika, Vyasaraja tirtha in that order. For his Samadhi (Brindavan), he chose a big black rock that was on the bank of river Thungabadra somewhere upstream . He had a vision that this sacred rock had been sanctified by Lord Sri Rama during his search of Sita. In front of Brindavan lies a temple devoted to Lord Hanuman and 10 miles away from Mantralayam is located the world famous temple of "Panchamukhi” (five-faced) Lord Hanuman 

All these historical facts (or myths as some would like to believe) points to overwhelming connection of this place to Ramayan and Hanuman, you just have to connect the dots to get the answer to the question: Where was lord Hanuman born?

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place. Hanuman parikrama

A journey in search of Hanuman birth place begins at Anjanadri betta, his glory reverberates in the rock cut temples of Vijayanagar (like the Hazara Rama temple), attains a crescendo at the brindavan of Swamy Raghavendra and culminates at the Panchamukhi Kshetra, the cave temple where Sri Anjaneya revealed himself to the Swami  in his five avatars -‘pancha-mukha’ ( Hanuman, Hayagriva, Narasimha, Garuda and Varaha) 

My earlier blog article on Lord Hanuman 

Trivia: Hanuman is Barack Obama's Luck Charm.  In an interview with Youtube creator Nilesen, it was revealed that Lord Hanuman is in the US President's personal memorabilia which he carries everywhere along with few other things in his pocket for inspiration.
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