Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Arjuna Temple that Todar Mal renovated

Less than a hundred kilometer from Bangalore is the old temple town of Mulabagal.
 Located on the bust Bangalore Tirupathi Highway, Mulbagal is today a small town in Kolar district.
Mulabagal and surrounding villages such as Avani, Kurudumala, Bangaru Tirupathi, Virupaksha and other places have several ancient temples with history dating back to  the times of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
But did you know that one of the temples in Mulabagal has a ling with the Mughals too. And that this Mughal was instrumental in renovating the temple and also enlarging it.  
Mulabagal has become famous over the last few decades as the final resting place of  the great Madhwa saint Sripadara Raja.
Sripada Raja was known for his immense contribution to the field of Dasa literature and philosophy. He stayed in Mulabagal for several decades and made it a centre for leaning and literature. His brindavana is at Narasimha Theerta, a few kms from the town of Mulabagal.
Mulabagal is a very old town and it finds mention in the Mahabharata. During the period of the Vijayanagar dynasty, it was the capital of the eastern provinces and the gateway to Tirupathi.
Surrounded by rocky hills, Mulabagal earlier was known as Mudala Bagilu.
This town has one of the oldest Hanuman temples in India. While every one is aware of the legend that credits the Pandava, Arjuna, with consecrating this temple, very few know that Raja Todar Mal, the Finance Minister of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, renovated and enlarged it.
The history of the temple is as follows.
The Kurukshetra war had just ended. Arjuna for just a moment, felt proud that he had vanquished so many mighty warriors. In a vain moment, he boats about this to Krishna, who is his charioteer.
Krishna does not reply but asks Arjuna to alight from the chariot. He then dismounts from the chariot. The moment, Krishna steps down, the chariot is engulfed in flames,
Krishna tells Arjuna that if he had allowed Arjuna to still be seated in the chariot, he would have perished in the fire. He says the chariot was doomed to burn as several great warriors like Bheeshma, Drona, Karna, Duryodhana had fired weapons at it, “The chariot did not catch fire only because of me. The moment I got down, the divine cover that my presence gave top the chariot vanished. You see the consequences”, says Krishna.
Arjuna is humbled. He is happy that the standard on the chariot, a drawing if Hanuman, has been saved. Arjuna then comes to Mulabagal and consecrated the idol of  Hanuman here.
Centuries after the temple was consecrated, Mulabagal and
Surrounding areas came under the Chloas and Nolamba kings. The kings of both these dynasties built several temples in and around Mulabagal and Kolar.
When the Hoysala dynasty collapsed after Mailk Kafur invaded it, this region came under the Vijayanagars. Sripada Raja made Mulabagal his home and he is said to have prayed at the Hanuman Temple here as did Vyasa Theertha or Vyasa Raja his disciple.
The Vijayanagar Empire declined after the battle of talikota in 1565 and Mulabagal and surrounding areas, including Bangalore, became the battle ground for the Adil Shahis and Mughals.
Raja Todar Mal was the Finance Minister of Akbar from 1560 to 1586. He is believed to have come here during this period.
Todar Mal was a Khatri from Punjab. The Silk Gurus were from the Khatri community.
Todar Mal is said to have renovated and repaired the Hanuman Temple here.
The Hanuman Temple also houses the deities of Srinivasa, Padmavathi, and Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana. These idols were consecrated by Vasistha.
There is an engraving of a lizard on the temple wall. This is believed to bring good luck.
There is a statue of Todar Mal at the temple. Todar Mal also did contribute to the Srinivasa Temple at Tirupathi. There is a statue of Todar Mal at Tirupathi too.  
The temple has been renovated recently.

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