Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Travelogues_Ardhagiri

Ardhagiri Sri Veeranjaneya Swamy Temple

This temple which I visited recently is situated at a place called Arakonda(Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh), around 10 Kms from the famous Kanipakam Temple near Tirupati. Arakonda or Ardhagiri as the place is known, means a piece or part of mountain.

This famous temple that attracts devotees from far and wide has a legend.Ramayana is one of the famous epics of India. It is believed that Sita, wife of Lord Rama was abducted by the mighty Ravana, the Demon King, and kept as a prisoner at Lanka (now Srilanka), the island kingdom of Ravana. 

Rama with the help of monkeys,waged a war and killed Ravana to get back Sita. During the battle Lakshmana, younger brother of Rama was battling with Ravana's son Indrajeet or Meghanadh. Rama, Lakshmana and many monkeys became unconscious when Indrajeet used Bramha Astra (the most powerful weapon). 

Hanuman and Vibhishana(Ravana's brother who defected to Rama's camp as Dharma was on Rama's side)  searched for Jambavantha. Jambavantha knew Ayurveda and he told them that there are certain herbs which would help the unconscious and severely hurt monkeys as well as  Rama and Lakshmana. He named these herbs as

  • Mrita Sanjivani (helps in restoring the dead to life), 
  • Vishalyakarani (helps in extracting weapons and healing all wounds inflicted by weapons), 
  • Suvarnakarani ( helps restoring the body to its original complexion) and 
  • Sandhani, the great herb (helps in joining severed limbs or fractured bone). 

Jambavantha said that these herbs can be identified by their glow, grow on a mountain named Dronagiri situated in Himalayan ranges between mount Rishbha and mount Kailasha. These herbs were to be brought before sun rise.

Vibhishana asked Hanuman to bring Sushena a very skilful physician residing in Lanka for treating all those who were hurt and fell unconscious. So Hanuman went to Lanka and brought the Physician along with his house.

Himalayas were far away from the Lanka. Hanuman or the monkey God, who could fly long distances in no time and who had immense strength and intelligence was deputed to bring the herb, but before sunrise. Hanuman went to the Himalayas in no time. But he could not differentiate between the various herbs and plants available. It is also said that these herbs hide themselves when someone comes to pluck them. He was enraged by this. So He just plucked the entire mountain and carried back to the place where Lakshmana was lying unconscious. 

Hanuman carrying the Sanjeevani Mountain

During this journey, as He was flying with great velocity, it is believed that a piece of rock from the mountain containing all great herbs, fell into the tank. Since a piece of mountain fell here it got its name of Ardhagiri or Arakonda.

The Tank where the piece of rock fell

Statue of Lord Hanuman in meditative pose

It is believed that the tank never dries up and the water contains medicinal properties. The water when stored, stays fresh for a long time. Its true. Its more than a month since I have brought the water from the tank and it is still fresh. usually water when kept in a container for more than three or four days does not stay fresh.This water when consumed is believed to cure all diseases even acute cases.This has been proved in the cases of Psoriasis, initial stages of TB, asthma, cancer & joint pains. The experiences of the patients who were cured have been recorded and they stand as testimony to it.

This is where the water from the tank is filled. You can see the monkey.

Entrance to the Temple

Small Temple

The God here is Hanuman-the monkey God. He is in the form of Veera or the valorous. The temple is more than 300 years old. The striking feature of the deity is that it faces towards North , which is a rarity. The first says of the sun, fall on the feet of the Lord. As the day progresses, gradually the sun rays disappear after reaching the head of the lord. It is also believed that the ardent devotees and staunch believers can even hear the 'Omkara Nadam' (Chanting of Om) at midnight amidst silence.

The temple is open for public from 05.30 am to 1.30 pm and 01.30 pm to 9.00 pm. On a full moon day it is open till 11 pm.Full moon Day attracts thousands of pilgrims. It is said that prayers offered at night on a full moon day give immense power, peace and happiness. Garlands made of betel leaves, Marrigolds, and Tulasi(Indian Basil), and other flowers are offered to Lord.

Shops selling the flowers n other offerings including Joss Sticks n Camphor

I offered coconuts as is done usually in the temples. I fed these to the monkeys. You can usually find monkeys near the Hanuman temples, as people treat them as the descendants of Hanuman. So they are fed and pampered. But one has to be very careful as they snatch any eatables or spectacles and can be a menace sometimes.

We sat there for sometime as it was very peaceful and quite. Tough it was very hot and humid we felt at peace. We ate the Prasadam-Laddu and Vada -ie offerings made to Lord.

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