Monday 22 October 2012

Vyasa Prathista Hanuman temples in Bangalore

                         Vyasa consecrated temples of Hanuman in Bangalore
It was almost noon and the heavy traffic  near the Bangalore Medical College (BMC) in Bangalore had left me exhausted. There seems to be no end to the steady stream of traffic going towards City Market  and I decided to park my two-wheeler  on the pavement  in front of the wooden palace of Tipu Sultan .
As I walked past a stone tablet on the pavement pointing to the palace, I spied a road side vendor selling coconuts. Though I am a coffee fan, I decided to taste “Yalaneeru “  for a change. I shelled out a Rs. 100 note and the vendor requested for change. Pointing to a temple a little ahead on the same stretch of road, he said I could get change from the Archaka.
With the  coconut in hand, I walked the distance and found that the temple was dedicated to Anjenaya. The priest was a Madhwa  and the board in front of the temple said the deity was Prana Devaru. Throwing the coconut away,  I went into the small but beautiful temple which the Archaka told me is known as Kannuspatre Prana Devaru.
Even as the priest gave me Theertha, I though its name was due to the fact that it was situated opposite Minto Hospital . How wrong I was. The archaka said  this temple was consecrated by Vyasa Raya, the earlier avatar of  Raghavendra Swamy.
This explanation immediately aroused my curiosity and I decided to find out why and how the temple came to be built. When I began digging deeper into the life and times of Vyasa Raya and the art and architecture of the period, I was stunned to know that this great saint, who was the royal preceptor to six Vijayanagar emperors, including Krishna Deve Raya, had consecrated 732 temples-all dedicated to Anjenaya or  Prana Devaru.
Of the 732 temples, more than 365 were built at Penukonda which is now in Andhra Pradesh. Penukonda  is near Anantapur and I learnt that Vyasa Raya built one Anjenaya temple for each day in an year,
Apart from the temples at Penukonda, he also built temples in Bangalore , including the one at Minto Kannuaspatre. What left me more amazed was that the Gali Anjaneya temple on Mysore Road was also consecrated by  Vyasa Raya,  The other temples that Vyasa consecrated in and around Bangalore  are those at Bangalore Fort-Kote Anjaneya, the Varadaanjaneya temple in RBI Layout, JP Nagar 7th Phase,  Anjaneya temple neat the Big Banyan Tree at Ramohalli, Kengeri and similar temples dedicated to Anjenaya at Doddaballapur,  Bhattahalli in Chintamani taluk, Gowdagere, Golahalli  and Poshettihalli in Chikaballapur taluk,  All these temples are near Bangalore and anyone can visit them and come back to Bangalore in a day.  There are temples to Anjenaya in Chitradurga, Bangalore Rural and urban districts, Kolar, Chikaballapur, Chitradurga and several other districts of  Karnataka.
Many Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman temples can be seen in the states of Andhra Pradesh and  Tamil Nadu.  
My research also disclosed that Vyasa consecrated the first few Anjenaya temples near Channapatna. The Prana Devaru temple at Brahamanyapura (on the Bangalore-Mysore Road before Chennapatna) is unique as it was consecrated by three great Madhwa saints-Vyasa Raya, his cousin brother Sripada Raja, of Mulabagal,  and his Guru Brahamanya Theertha. There is also a Vyasa Prathistha Anjenaya temple at Kengal, which again is on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway . Kengal is also famous as the birthplace  of Kengal Hanumanthaya, the builder of Vidhana Soudha and Chief Minister of  our state in the 50s.
 What distinguishes Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman temples from other temples of Hanuman is  that  the idols of Vyasa have one hand pointed towards the sky while the other hand holds a flower. In another unique feature, there is bell at the end of the tail which goes over the head of the God. So next time friends, any one of you can discover  Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman by closely looking at  the features of the idol. l
(I wrote this article for my sister's blog Kalpavriksha Kamadhenu. That is a blog exclusively devoted to Raghavendra Swamy. I posted a copy of it here.)

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