Manamadurai is a place famous for for earthen pots and other clay items. This is one of the big businesses of this place. River Vaigai flows through this town. Earlier days this was one of the finest agriculture lands. This place was governed by many great kings. The course of flow of Vaigai here is considered auspicious hence kings had built temples of great magnitude.
I was planning a trip to Madurai and wanted to visit Manamadurai also. As usual, I went through internet to find out about Sri Hanuman Temples at that place. There was a spot marked as “Brindhavan Hanuman Temple” with few photos in the map. But the photos had nothing about the temple but it was of stone pillars with inscriptions.
After I had visited the place and enquired about the pillar, I came to know that the inscriptions in the pillar relate to Rajaraja cholan1. The wonder of the inscription is there are two inscriptions of Rajaraja1 with a gap of around twenty years in the same pillar. The spot has nothing to do with Hanuman temple.
Manamadurai I had a special interest to visit from the day I had visited SV Nagar Anjaneya temple and Brindavan of Sri Sathyavijaya Teertha of Uttaradimath and wrote the article about Sri Anjaneya temple. The only connection I know between SV Nagaram and Manamadurai was Sri Sathyavijaya Teertha and the next peetathipati of Uttaradimath Sri Sathyapriya Teertha. SV Nagaram is the only place named after a Madwa guru in present Tamilnadu. An incident in the life of next guru Sri Sathyapriya Theertha had given this place name “Manamadurai” As per the local legend the name of this place was “Veera Vanara Madurai” with time became Vanara Madurai then Vana Madurai and later Mana Madurai.
Sri Sathyapriya Teertha went on a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram, and on return, he halted on the banks of Vaigai at present-day Manamadurai. In those days, the area was a dense forest. While he was camping at that place, some thieves attacked the Math and stole away the Pooja box, thinking it is a jewel box. Guru was wonderstruck to see this mishappening and started praying Mukhya prana [Sri Hanuman] to restore Mola Rama pooja in the mutt. [Normally the bell used for pooja in the mutt has Sri Hanuman idol on it – see the photo given along.] As a miracle sprang a monkey from the idol of Hanuman on the bell kept for pooja in the Mutt. Following this first monkey many more came. Shocked were the thieves when they saw huge number of monkeys screaming wildly at them. Frightened thieves sought forgiveness from Guru and pleaded that they would work and earn their food henceforth.
This incident had brought the name “Veera Vanara Madurapuri” to this place. With time it became Vanara Madurai then Vana Madurai and later Mana Madurai.
There is a second version of legend which says that Sri Hanuman was on en-tour to Lanka after Vibheeshana became king of Lanka, along with vanara. On the way they saw this kshetra so pleasant they stayed for a long period. Vibheeshana after waiting for some time to receive Sri Hanuman and entourage at Lanka, he came to this kshetra itself. He placed his crown on Sri Hanuman took him along to Lanka. Since Veera Vanaras along with Sri Hanuman stayed in this place, this came to be known as “Veera Vanara Madurapuri” which became Manamadurai at later stage.
There are two great saints who had obtained Moksha in this kshetra. Sri Sathyapriya Theertha who professed dvaita philosophy and the other is Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral who professed advaita philosophy. Moola Brindavanam of Sri Sathyapriya Theerthar is located in Uttradi Mutt on the eastern bank of Vaigai. The adhishtanam of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral is located in the Sri Somanather temple on the bank of Vaigai. Every year music festival is conducted in his honor at Manamadurai. [It may be mentioned that his adhishtanam is located at Nerur also and believed to taken moksha at more than one place]
Maavali Vaanathi Raya was then ruling this place. He had the practice of going to Azhagar Koil for worshipping Kallazhagar. For few days in a row, he could not go over to Azhagar Koil and have darshan of Lord Kallazhagar. Kallazhagar gave darshan to him and instructed him to build a temple here itself. A place on the banks of Vaigai was indicated by Lord for building of the temple. The place is none other than the place where Sri Hanuman had stayed and Sri Vibheeshana met him.
The King had built a grand temple for Sri Azhagar and with a special grand place for Sri Hanuman in the temple. The presiding deity is Sundararaja Perumal is east facing as in Azhagar Kovil of Madurai. Sri Azhagar the utsava murthi is in the main sanctum. A separate sannidhi for Sri Soundaravalli Thayar is in the eastern side of the main sannidhi.
Three-tier rajagopuram has lot of inscriptions on the outer wall of the temple. The Sannidhi for Sri Hanuman is facing south. The festivals celebrated at Azhagar Kovil of Madurai are replicated in this temple as well. The Hanuman idol facing south is said to predate the temple. The temple is under the administration of Sivaganga Devasthanam.
Sri Hanuman idol of this kshetra is around six and a half feet tall. Lord is in standing posture facing south. In His lotus feet He is wearing Thandai. He is seen with His folded hands and joined palms in 'anjali' posture. In the wrist, kankanam is seen. In the neck Lord is wearing a necklace. He is wearing kundalam in the ears. Karna puspam is also seen on the ears. He is seen wearing a crown on His head. His eyes are seen sharply looking with a bright glow. As per the legend, the lord is looking at Vibheeshana the Rama devotee and his kingdom – reason for the glow seen in the eyes.
Have darshan of Sri Hanuman of this kshetra, the protector of SriRama’s devotee. He is sure to protect us too if we stand by dharma as Vibheeshana stood.
Ed: September 2019
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SRI HANUMAN THINKS DIFFERENTLY, THINKS FAST, THINKS AHEAD AND ACTS FOR SURE.
Our salutations to this Hanuman who always brings subham - everything that is good - for His devotees and eliminates the bad and the evil. He removes even the traces of bad thoughts and deeds from His devotees. i.e He makes them pure in words, thought and deed.