Another interesting article written by my brother B.S.Ramesh. Anyone devoted to our beloved Gurugalu will enjoy this article and its History. Thanks so much Ramesh.
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 nite 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 Archak.
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, Bellary , 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. One of the most famous temples consecrated by Vyasa is the Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple at Chakratheertha at Hampi. (If the editor of Blog agrees, I can write another story on the importance of this temple).
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.
Interestingly, Nava Brindavana, where Vyasa Raya has his Brindavana, also has a shrine dedicated to Prana Devaru. Vyasa’s next Avatar, Raghavendra, worshipped Anjenaya and there are several shrines to tell us tales of the close bond and relationship that Raghavendra shared with Anjaneya.
Some comments I received for this article.
1. By Shylaja Kulkarni.
I found goose bumps on my skin, tears in my eyes and tremor in my hands as I progressed reading through this article, because a very similar idol of Hanuman Devaru has been our family diety and we worship Him. He is at Hangal in Dharwad district. I am attaching a scanned image of Him, taken from my collection of the photographs I worship. We call Him Havali Raya.
As mentioned in your article, this temple too was a small shrine, which now is being renovated, restructured and expanded. A new construction has been designed, and erected, but has not been completed because of a dispute with the Archeological Survey of India over a neighbouring shrine. I am sure Havali Raya will find a place for Himself.
In fact there is a Tarkeshwar temple very close by which has been declared a World Heritage site and boasts of the same architecture as the one in Hampi. It is magnificent but sadly neglected.
I thank you for this article because it created a sudden sense of belonging and a personal relationship.
2. Rama Gopal.
There is another pranadevaru temple in agrahara street, Ramanagaram, Ramanagara District (erstwhile Bangalore Rural district). This is also installed by Sri Vyasa Rayaru. Temple is 500 years old as seen from one of the inscription on a pillar inside the temple hall.