Friday, January 14, 2011

Sri Ranamandala Anjaneya Swamy Temple, Adoni

I had planned to write my next post as promised about the Shenbakkam Navabrindavan, but who am I to plan when HE decides what one does next :) I left with my friends to Mantralayam for New Year for the third year in succession, and I was overwhelmed when I realised it was my fifth visit for the year. We reached there on 30th evening and after spending hours at the temple, watching the Silver and Gold Chariot Sevas and feasting our eyes on the maha haarthi, we came back to our room and decided to go to Adoni the next day. It was my second visit to Adoni and I was extremely excited that the second opportunity of witnessing Sri Ranamandala Anjaneya swamy had come.
The rocky terrain of Adoni

Adoni - originally called Yadhavagiri is about an hour's drive from Mantralayam. It is easily connected by train from Hyderabad and Chennai. For those of you who are familiar with the life history of Sri Raghavendra Swamy, or happened to watch the Kannada Movie made on his life by Dr.Rajkumar or the tamil movie made by Rajinikanth, or else watched the latest Vijay TV series Mahaan - Guruve Saranam will immediately recognise Adoni, as the place where a poor shepherd devotee of Sri Raghavendra, named Venkanna had met with him while he was on "Desha Sancharam". To read all about the grace of Sri Raghavendra Swamy in the life of Venkanna, click here


A beautiful Ganesha among the ruins 
Sri Raghavendra asked the Nawab of Adoni, Siddhi Masood Khan to donate Manchala village (now called Mantralayam) to him and the Nawab readily agreed. Venkanna was involved in bringing the stone that would make his brindavana ready. The Nawab was very sad that the Saint was going to attain samadhi since he would not be allowed to visit a Hindu temple to pray to his Guru. In appreciation of his devotion, Sri Raghavendra instructed his devotees to build a miniature brindavana on top of his temple, wherein the prana prathista of the saint has been done and that which the Nawab could view from outside and pray. Also in appreciation of the Nawab's generosity, the dome in  back portion of the the temple is a replica of the fort at Adoni built by Nawab Siddi Masood Khan.

Remains of Nawab Siddi Masood Khan's fort
Adoni is a classic example of Hindu-Muslim Unity and we can still find delapidated remains of the fort and ramparts of Nawab Siddi Masood Khan among Hindu temples and statues. But to go back in time before the Nawab and Diwan and Sri Raghavendra, Adoni or Yadhavagiri was one of the favourite places of Sri Vyasaraja, the previous incarnation of Sri Raghavendra. He has spent several days worshipping the Ranamandala Anjaneya Swamy who is a " Swayambu" on top of the hill. Nobody knows when the Hanuman appeared there, but everybody agrees on the extremely powerful radiation generating around him.
Sri Vyasaraja has installed nine Hanumans in all in and around Adoni.


The Ranamandala Anjaneya Swamy temple is atop a hill and one has to climb about 600 steps to reach the top. The steps are not very steep but considering the exertion when it is hot, it is advisable to visit either before 11 am or in the evening between 4 and 5 30 pm. There are no temple timings as such as there are no gates or structures to prevent anyone to go and visit the gigantic and powerful Hanuman.

As we go up, we find a Hanuman statue that originally was installed at the foothill of the temple, been placed under a tree. We start climbing after offering our pranams to him.
There is a dilapidated mandapam with pillars midway up the climb. There is a very old shivalingam and nandi left unattended there. We stop by for a few minutes and offer our prayers to Lord Shiva and continue to climb.

Catching a breather at the Shiva Mandapam
Midway up, there is a small shrine which encloses the Santhana Hanuman . Several childless couples come and pray to this Santhana Hanuman to be blessed with children as brave and strong as the Vayu Putra himself.
Santhana Hanumanji
We keep moving further up, at a comfortably slow pace. The entrance of the temple is now visible and that increases the excitement. We are just a few steps away from what is possibly the most magnificient sight I have ever witnessed in my life. I first learnt about Sri Ranamandala Anjaneya Swamy while reading Sri Amman Sathiyanathan's Sri Raghavendra Mahimai. A deep rooted desire to visit Adoni and the shrine built in me while reading the narration of the temples and the miracles that the Hanuman had played in the life of Sri  Hanumathdasan and I was all eager to witness all that I had read about first hand.
My friends found it fun to climb the rocks directly
instead of using the steps to climb up
We reached the top of the steps and offered our pranams to the Lord Ganesha ( he seems to be of recent times) at the entrance and stepped in.
Lord Ganesha at the entrance of the temple
Lo....and behold! The gigantic, swayambu Ranamandala Anjaneyaswamy was standing there, towering above us, fully anointed with Sendhoora, and decorated with Tulsi and Betel leaves, in the open air. With no roof or barriers around him, he seemed to reach the sky, the clouds seemed to bend low to touch him, and an ethereal feeling of standing in Sathyaloka enveloped us.
This is a very poor picture of the magnificience of the Lord
I was so awestruck that I just clicked something
It is believed that in the past several attempts were made to build a temple around this idol. But it was not to be. Once Anjaneyaswamy is said to have appeared in the dream of one of his devotees and said that a temple could be constructed only if it could be finished in one day's time. However, it is irritating to find that marble tiles have been placed around him in a semi-structure ruining the glory and the ancientness of the Lord.
The first time when we went to Ranamandala there was nobody there except the three of us. We were able to enjoy the solitude and sit in meditation for several minutes before the Lord. But this time, we found a young man who was doing puja. He introduced himself as Ramam, and soon started showing us around the various places that we had missed on our first visit.
Just behind the Hanuman, whom Ramam says appeared here more than 500 years ago,at Sri Vyasaraja's request, there are few more shrines that have come up in relatively later times. One of them is a beautiful small shrine of Sri Rama, with Lakshmana and Sita. It was sad to see the beautiful eye structures that are fixed on idols not there on Rama.
Ramam then took us to a shrine on the other side of the hill, wherein there was a goddess with three eyes to whom women prayed for childbirth. He simply called her Bhagavathi but did not know how that temple had come about. There was a swayambu Ganesha just on the way to the Bhagavathi temple.
Swayambu Ganesha
The way to the shrine was between two rocks and we had to duck at some places to avoid hitting ourselves against a boulder. It was as if we were in another world.
Entrance to the Bagavathi temple between two boulders
The Goddess had an almost human looking face, actually it was only the bust of the Goddess with a couple of Padukas before her. We wanted to find out about the significance of why only the bust of the Goddess was found, and why Padukas were placed before her bust, but Ramam had gone back to his prayers so we did not want to disturb him. We worshipped the Goddess and came out through the other exit after circumambulating around her.
Goddess Bhagavathi with three eyes
On our way out, we found several pieces of cloth with coins or stones in them tied on tree branches above the shrine. These are tied by women who come here praying for childbirth.
Coming out of the Bagavathi temple
We came out and went back to the Ranamandala Anjaneyaswamy temple. By now, Ramam had finished his puja and was ready to give us prasad of sindhooram and flowers. He took us behind the Anjaneya and asked us to pray by placing coins on the back of the statue. To our amazement, once we prayed and placed the coins there, they stood as if stuck to a magnet.
Coins sticking on the backside of the Anjaneyaswamy statue

After, we finished praying, Ramam removed the coins, and put them promptly into the Hundi. He refused to even take any money that was placed on the harathi plate and put them too into the Hundi.
A View of the Venugopalaswamy shrine on the right and Shivamaruthi
Shrine on the left

He pointed out to the temples on adjacent hills - the Venugopalaswamy temple, the Shiva Maruthi temple and the Navatheertha Hanuman temple. He also showed us the remains of the fort on top of the hill. Ranamandala is surrounded by hills and we could not decide where to go next. Ramam said that the Venugopalaswamy temple had an equal amount of steps as Ranamandala and that the Navatheertha Hanuman temple did not have any steps. One had to just climb over rocks and jump down to reach there. He also warned presence of snakes on the way. We hesitated...not because we were scared but considering the age and attire of some of our friends. " Kyun didi...aap aa jao...aap tho Jhansi ki Rani jaise ho!" Ramam goaded me to accept the challenge. Much that I was tempted, I decided that was not the right opportunity to do so. So we decided to visit Shiva Maruthi Shrine next. Ramam offered to go with us. He said the temple had only 108 steps. We got deceived by the word "ONLY"
Steps going up to the Shiva Maruthi Shrine
The steps going up the Shivamaruthi hill were indeed steep and the 108 were equivalent to the 600 we had climbed on the other side. We started panting half way through. Ramam, who had now changed into trousers and was joined by his friend, were climbing up quickly. We struggled to keep pace. He moved up and pointed to a body of water half way up the hill. He mentioned that the water had medicinal qualities. The water looked green with moss and we were a little hesitant to taste it. But he quickly jumped down and collected the water in an empty water bottle we had. When he brought it up we found the water was actually clean and refreshing.
Ramam in front of the body of water
We could finally see the gopuram of the Shiva maruthi shrine. Ramam explained that the temple was being renovated as it had become very old and dilapidated. He pointed below and showed us another temple at ground level. He mentioned that that was where Hanuman had made a Shivalinga and worshipped Shiva and Vyasaraja had installed this Shivamaruthi on top of the hill to commemorate it. He told us that we could go down and visit that very ancient temple also.
Entrance of the Shiva Maruthi Shrine

The Shrine was very old and cool despite being on top of the hill. The Shiva Maruthi Idol and Shivalingam found in the shrine looked very old and valuable. There was also a picture of Hanuman sitting in the shrine below and worshipping Lord Shiva.
Shiva Maruthi

The ancient shivalingam inside the shrine
Picture of Hanuman worshipping Shiva
The view from the top was breathtaking. It was huge boulders and rocks jutting out at angles to one another that made a magnificient sight. After siting on the parapet of the temple for a few minutes we decided to climb down and go to the temple where the Shivalingam installed by Hanuman was placed.
A view from the top...Ramjala Lake and beautiful boulders


Our descent this time was quick. We came down and went into a shrine that looked extremely ancient. It was small, with just the shivalingam and a Ganesha in it. There was a huge Dwajasthamba in the courtyard outside the shrine and several Eucalyptus trees had grown around the Dwajasthamba. It was not like a conventional temple...yet there was something unique about it.
The huge Dwajasthamba and the hill behind it

The Shivalinga worshipped by Hanuman

By the time we came out of the temple, we were tired but absolutely thrilled with our experience. We thanked Ramam for all his assistance and gave him some fruits and biscuits to eat. He mentioned that he lived on the hill and did Pooja to Hanuman as that was what he wanted to do. I mentioned about my blog to him and asked him if he would assist anyone who contacted him after reading the blog. He was very happy and immediately gave his mobile number - 009533716113.
Ganesha on a side panel in the temple
Our journey was far from over. We came into the town of Adoni and visited several other temples like Mahayogi Lakshmamma Temple, Mangarayaswamy Temple, three Anjaneyas installed by Vyasaraja etc. before moving back to Mantralayam. I will write all about those temples in another post. I am sure by now, you would have decided to visit Adoni the next time you are in that area!

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures and excellent writeup Priya.. I enjoyed reading your experience.I have visited Mantralaya once.. and want to visit it again. I will definitely make it a point to visit Adoni too.

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  2. Amazing.....no words to thank you , Ms. Priya. May Hanuman give you all the strength and long Life to carry on this good work ; not only in India but also across the globe.
    Jai Hanauman !!!

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  3. Thank you so much. Amusing, you've turned that staircase so it looks completely vertical! Very nice photos!

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  4. @Sridhar and Narayan...thank you so much for your feedback. I pray to my Guru to be able to travel to many more places and share the info with good souls....@ injamaven...Yes I turned it around to show that although there are fewer steps they are steep :)

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  5. hi priya
    Today only i had the opportunity to read your alayamkandane blog and especially about mantaralayam and the other places.writeup, photos excellent. i wish u all the very best

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  6. Thank you Pushpa...Do visit whenever you find time! Regards
    Priya

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  7. Hi Priya
    I studied in Adoni 22 years back & used to visit the Hanuman temple regularly. With time this has become a vague memory - until I accidentally came across this post. Thank you very much for reliving my memories of this place.
    SG

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  8. Hi Priya,
    Thank you for the post. I was born in Adoni and visited many times Ranamandala Anjaneya Swamy temple and never tried to know the history of the temple. Your post is very detailed and provides many details which I do not know.. Awesome post. Good work.
    Satish

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  9. Thanks for this wonderfull post on ranamandala anjaneya swamy temple. I am sure and many times realized that only those people with invitation from god can visit hill temples ( be it Thirupathy or sathuragiri or ranamandala).

    I am collector of info about hill temples around the world. Shall I use info from your writeup on my blog http://hill-temples.blogspot.in and also will add details are taken frm ur blog ?

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    1. Dear Rajesh,

      Happy to share content with your blog as long as it is properly acknowledged.

      Thanks
      Priya

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  10. I Am Happy After seeing this all Picture's ..thank god .....keep good to adoni peoples...............

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  11. hmmmmmmm i am very happy to see my nativ cavs and ranmandals anjaneya swamy templ..... den pls upload more snaps

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  12. Very good work.

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  13. I was born & brought up in Adoni & in my childhood I was a regular visitor to Rnamandala Anjaneya Swami Temple. His grace has always been like an invisible shelter for me through out my life.I was overwhelmed to see your beautiful write up with precious pictures of The Lord! Thank you very much.

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  14. Pandu July 15th 2013 at 9.10 AM

    Hi Priya

    I am very happy to see my native place pictures of Ranamandala anjaneya swamy at adoni.

    Thank you Priya

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  15. Hi Priya

    I am very happy to see the blog and pictures of Ranamandala Anjaneya Swamy at adoni

    Thank You Priya

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  16. Hi priya garu

    thanks alot for visit....

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  17. Thank you so much. Wonderful commentary. Wonderful though. Wonderful experience. It brought back my visits to the temple when i was a kid. Thank you once again. This document is going to invaluable.

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