Day 7:53 pm

  • Girivalam – Anjaneyar temple

    Anjaneya is the tamil name for Hanuman, the monkey God of power, especially venerated by princes and warriors to gain prowess and victory. Tuesday is his sacred day of worship and his birth anniversary is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanthi. Hanuman or Anjaneya is the son of Vayu, the lord of the Wind and his consort Anjana. In the puranas, he is described as having a short thick neck, a round monkey-face as red as a ruby, yellow skin glowing like molten gold, sharp white fangs, a mane like flowers, a tail like a banner of interminable length, and the ability to expand until he is as large as a mountain or to contract until he is as small as a fly. He has a roar like thunder, leaps into the air and flies among the clouds with a rushing noise. This is what the Ramayana says about him: “The Chief of the monkeys is a perfect being. No one can equal him in learning of Shastras and in comprehending the meaning and sense of scriptures. In all sciences and in the rules of austerity, he rivals the preceptor of the gods.” Hanuman is the ninth author of grammar. Hanuman remained celibate his entire life and is known as the greatest devotee of the god Rama, who loved him the best. His devotion to Rama and Sita was so great that once he tore open his chest with his sharp talons to show that images of Rama and his wife were engraved upon his beating heart. He is famous for helping Rama destroy Ravana, the ten-headed demon king, and for organizing the building of the monkey bridge from India to Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to facilitate the crossing over of Rama and his warriors.

    There are many interesting myths surrounding this god. When quite young, he saw the rising sun and thought it was a ripe fruit. He therefore jumped up to it and put the sun in his mouth. The other gods and goddesses feared that the world would perish without the sun and prevailed upon him to spit it out. When Hanuman was only ten years old he could lift huge hills and throw these about as if they were stones. On another occasion, when Hanuman was riding under the mid day sun, his shadow fell on the sea. It was seized by a female sea monster named Surasa, a near relative of the demon-king Ravana, who, in a pre-emptive effort to save her cousin from harm, used it to drag Hanuman down into the waves and swallowed his body whole. Trying to escape, Hanuman increased his monkey shape to enormous proportions; the demoness responded by immediately stretching her mouth until it was a hundred leagues wide. Suddenly Hanuman reduced himself to a tiny size. While the monster hesitated in surprise, Hanuman cunningly slipped out of her right ear and made his escape. Hanuman was the greatest and most faithful helper of Lord Rama in the battle with Ravana, the demon king of Sri Lanka and assisted Rama in finally winning back Seetha from the clutches of Ravana.

    The Anjaneya temple on the Girivalam can be found on the outer path, a few metres after the Tiru Ner Annamalai shrine. Not much is known as to why a shrine to Hanuman was placed here. The common story is that Hanuman once came to pay obeisance to Arunachala, the Master of All and is believed to have venerated the Hill at this spot. On Saturdays the temple is fairly crowded with Rama and Hanuman devotees and prasad is often prepared and offered to the sadhus there. The outer walls of the temple are covered with frescoes of Hanuman performing different feats and look quite interesting.

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