Thursday, 28 March 2013

The hillock where Janamejaya meditated in Bangalore

This is believed to be the hillock where Janamejaya, the Kuru Emperor and the son of Parikshit and Madravati, performed penance.
The grandson of Abhimanyu and the great grandson of Arjuna the matchless warrior and bowman, Janamejaya ascended the Kuru throne following the death of his father by snake bite.
The hillock here in Bangalore is the place where Janamejaya, who performed the greatest snake sacrifice of all times, did tapas or sat in meditation.
A beautiful Swayambu or self originated idol of Anjaneya or Hanumanta marks this spot. Today, people know the spot better as one of the many temples dedicated to the monkey God but many seem to have forgotten the legend behind it.
The swayambu Anjaneya Swami - the presiding deity of the Karenji Anjaneya temple- depicts the avatar or swaroopa of Anjaneya who is returning to India to meet Rama after locating  Sita in the Ashoka Vana in Lanka.
The legend of the idol in this temple is a fascinating tale of  devotion, adventure and supreme sacrifice. Moreover, the temple of  Karenji Anjaneya is one of the landmark structures of Basavanagudi and it is as old as the founding of Bangalore.
Rama is deeply concerned about the well-being of Sita and he sends Anjaneya as his emissary to Lanka. Anjaneya meets Sita and carried back with him a message to Rama.
Sita gives him a chudamani to give back to Rama as a mark of her deep love and devotion. Anjaneya then goes to the court of Ravana and taunts him.
Anjaneya also submits himself to the Brahmastra cast by Ravana's son Indrajit. The demons bind Anjaneya with chains and ropes and this nullifies the effect of the Brahmastra. Thereafter, Anjaneya’s tale is bound in clothes and it is set on fire.
Anjaneya destroys or rather burns down Lanka, except the Ashoka Vana where Sita is sitting, and leaves for India.  
This legend is closely associated with the massive idol of Anjaneya. It faces north-towards Lanka.
The statue is twenty two feet in height and he is depicted as returning from Lanka. He holds the sacred Chudamani in both his hands.
Anjaneya here is shown barring his teeth in fury at Ravana and other demons. The teeth are protruding and it looks like the monkey God is snarling with rage. His tuft of hair appears to have loosened.
The broken chains and bangles on his arms show how he escaped from the demons by breaking loose of the Brahmastra.
When Kempe Gowda (1513-1569) was founding Bangalore, he came across this small shrine. He immediately ensured that a temple was built with the mandatory garbagriha. He also ensured that the structure stands on the banks of the Karanji lake which stretched from the Bugle rock area till the present National College.
The temple got the name Karenji Anjaneya. Kere in Kannada means lake and Enji means remains.
Kempe Gowda also built another temple adjacent to the Anjaneya temple. This was the temple of Rishaba or Basava and this is how Basavanagudi got its name. Though hundreds of people visit the Basavava temple every day, only a handful of them care to visit the nearby Anjaneya temple.
Interestingly, the Sri Rama Temple opposite the Anjaneya temple was built by the Marathas. It was the Maratha chieftain, Muthnjirao Scindia, who built the Rama temple facing Anjaneya as per the Agama shahtra.
Rama is seen with his consort Sita and his brother Lakshmana. There is a small opening in the northern wall of Anjaneya temple through which Anjaneya sees his Rama.

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