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Hanuman is a Hindu God and an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. He is one of the central figures in the Hindu epic Ramayana and its various versions. As one of the Chiranjivi he is also mentioned in several other texts, including Mahabharata, the various Puranas and some Jain texts.
Vanara (monkey), Hanuman participated in Rama’s war against the demon king Ravana. Several texts also present him as an incarnation of Shiva. He is the son of Anjana and Kesari, and is also described as the son of the wind-God Pawan, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth.
Hanuman came to be regarded as an avatar of the God Shiva by the 10th century CE (this development possibly started as early as in the 8th century CE). Hanuman is mentioned 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. The 17th century Odia work Rasavinoda by Dinakrishnadasa goes on to mention that the three gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – combined to take to the form of Hanuman.
Hanuman became more important in the medieval period, and came to be portrayed as the ideal devotee (bhakta) of Rama. His characterization as a lifelong brahmachari(celibate) was another important development during this period.
The belief that Hanuman’s celibacy is the source of his strength became popular among the wrestlers in India.
Hanuman was born to the Benaras. His mother Anjana was an apsara who was born on earth due to a curse. She was redeemed from this curse on giving birth to a son. The Valmiki Ramayana states that his father Kesari was the son of Rahu and was he was the King of a place named Sumeru. Anjana performed intense prayers lasting 12 long years to Shiva to get a child. Pleased with their devotion, Shiva granted them the boon they sought. Hanuman, in another interpretation, is the incarnation or reflection of Shiva himself.
As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. Hanuman thrashed Rahu and went to take the sun in his mouth. Rahu approached Indra, king of Devas, and complained that a monkey child stopped him from taking on Sun, preventing the scheduled eclipse. This enraged Indra, who responded by throwing the Vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. A permanent mark was left on his chin due to impact of Vajra, explaining his name, Bajrangbali. Upset over the attack, Hanuman’s father figure Vayu deva (the deity of air) went into seclusion, withdrawing air along with him. As living beings began to asphyxiate, Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt. The devas then revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons to appease Vayu.
Therefore, being the 11th avatar of Lord Shiva in Kaliyuga, Hanuman is worshipped widely in India. This is why Lord Hnauman is also believed to be the living God of this yuga. Whatever may be the problem of a devotee, Lord Hanuman is known to solve it in no time at all.
Though there are lakhs of temples of Lord Hanuman in India, but, some of these temples are really special and Jagrut, which is the main reason behind millions of people visiting them.
The Hanumangadhi temple in Ayodhya is situated on the right bank of river Saryu at the top of a high hill. People have to climb 76 stairs to reach this temple. The Hanuman idol installed here is only 6 inches long, which is always, adorned with garlands.
Balaji Hanuman Temple, Mehendipur (Rajasthan)
Rajasthan’s Dausa district, which is nestled between two mountains has a place called Mehndipur which is known to contain a very large rock in the shape of Hanuman that had recovered itself. It is believed to be Sri Hanuman. There is also a small water pond at the idol’s feet which never gets dried, according to legends.
Salasar Hanuman Temple, Salasar (Rajasthan)
In Churu district of Rajasthan, is a small village called Salasar. In this village, there is a statue of Hanuman which has beard and mustache too. It is believed that this Hanuman statue was found by a farmer while walking around a field. The idol has been placed on a gold throne now.
Near Chitrakut, there is a small place called Hanumandhara. Here, an old idol of Lord Hanuman is seen standing against a mountain for years and a small water body is also seen to flow that meets the river touching this idol.
Sankatmochan Temple, Benaras (UP)
Benaras is an ancient place associated with Hanuman’s name. The huge temple here, known as Sankatmochan is believed to be established by Tulsidas himself.
Shri Hanuman Temple, Jamnagar (Gujarat)
In 1540, along with Jamnagar, this temple of Lord Hanuman was also established. Since 1964, the rama dhuni is continuously being sung here and this is why its name is also mentioned in the Guinness book of world records.
Mahavir Hanuman Temple, Patna (Bihar)
Right opposite Patna junction, there is a famous temple of Lord Hanuman called Mahavir Temple. In Northern India, after the Vaishno Devi Temple, this temple gets the maximum offerings. Around 1 lakh is deposited in this temple every day.
Hanuman Temple, Allahabad (UP)
Attached to the Allahabad fort, this temple has the idol of Hanuman which is lying. This idol of Hamuman is 20 feet long.
Shri Panchmukh Aanjanayar Swami Ji, Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu)
Lord Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami was the main deity of Sri Raghavendra Swami. The place where he meditated on this five-faced form of Hanuman is now known as Panchamukhi, wherein a temple for him has been built. There is also a shrine for Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, India. A 40 feet tall monolithic green granite Murti of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has been installed in Thiruvallur, also in Tamil Nadu. The Panchamukha Hanuman Ashram itself was established by a saint called Venkatesa Battar.
Shri Kashtbhanjan Hanuman Temple, Sarangpur (Gujarat)
Shri Hanuman Mandir, Sarangpur located in Sarangpur, Gujarat comes under the Vadtal Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday and is among the more prominent ones in the Sampraday. It is dedicated to Hanuman in the form of Kastbhanjan (Crusher of sorrows).
The idol of Hanuman was installed by Sadguru Gopalanand Swami. It is reported that when Sadguru Gopalanand Swami installed the idol of Hanuman, he touched it with a rod and the idol came alive and moved. This story has become a charter for the healing ritual performed at this temple. The idol of Hanuman here is a stout figure with a handlebar moustache, crushing a female demon under his foot and baring his teeth, standing among sculpted foliage full of fruit bearing monkey attendants.