Even though I have been visiting Balaji Temple in Mehndipur all my life, it never occurred to me that Rajasthan is the land of Lord Hanuman. It took me almost four decades of my existence on this earth to understand this! And finally realization came on my birthday which I happened to share with the Lord himself and went to Jaipur with family to celebrate. Seems it was my calling finally!
Time to hit the road
So, we reached Jaipur on the eve of my birthday and were staying at SMS Taj Hotel… not because we are rich but simply because they were giving good discounts. We had a Taj voucher… thanks to all my credit-card shopping. and voila, because it just sounds fancy.
Exploring the historic Jaipur
Once there and rested, we decided to visit Nahargarh Fort for the sunset. It was a great sight, but an expensive one… didn’t know that the sun charges a fee to set in Jaipur.
Anyways, once the sun finally set for the day, we decided to come back for a quiet family dinner and calling it a day, but lo, behold, Lord Hanuman decided that we should spend time with him. After all, we had taken up Rajasthan’s invitation of ‘Padharo Mhare Des’. And the God himself decided to plan the entertainment for us.
Hanuman Jayanti Celebrations in Full Swing
We got stuck in the traffic as soon as we reached the market area. We didn’t move an inch for almost and hour because of two Hanuman temples right opposite each other. The celebrations were going on in full swing. Interestingly, we had never noticed them during our multiple earlier visits.
Till now, Jaipur has been a place of historical importance only with all the forts surrounding it. And that too came after my love for silver-jewellery, especially from Amrapali, and the food, especially the Pyaz-Kachori at Rawat’s. And we always come back with car full of them.
Jaipur is a place where I can walk around for hours without getting bored. But yes, the weather has to be right, otherwise one can get tanned and sunburnt beyond repair. And that’s why every Jaipur trip ends with a new discovery.
Moving Beyond Jaipur to meet Hanuman
This trip, Jaipur revealed its religious side. So once back home, I started exploring this further and found that not only Rajasthan has many temples of Lord Hanuman, but all the other Gods too and in fact there is a God who is exclusive to Rajasthan with only one temple in the entire world, namely the Brahma Temple in Pushkar.
But due to my special bond with Lord Hanuman, I decided to study further about Hanuman Temples. I came across various popular Hanuman Temples across the state. It’s amazing how the same God can have so many different meanings to people by a shift of just a few kilometres. Interestingly, it’s not just the location that changes, but also the way the god looks, what he signifies, what is he called as well as his powers change.
One Lord Hanuman… Many Forms
If he is orange-coloured God called Balaji in one part, who along with two other Gods, takes care of evil spirit that torture people; he is dark-coloured Rudra Hanuman, just 400 kilometres away in another part of Rajasthan. He can also be found as a reincarnation of the God himself as a kid called Babosa in another part, whose favourite bhog and prasad is toffees. Some places, he becomes a God with five faces and is known as Panchmukhi Hanuman and some hundred kilometres away, he becomes crippled God known as Langde Hanuman. The list is endless and so are the stories surrounding the God. There are hundreds of Hanuman temples in Rajasthan, big and small in size, but huge in religious significance and fan-following.
Entire villages, entry gates and shops too named after the God himself with each of them having a story of religious significance behind them. Some of the villages have become synonymous with the God over the years.
All I can say is… what a realization, one of the biggest till date!
Now… waiting for my next trip to Rajasthan and find another aspect of the magical place!