Mysore is a city that has a high culture and a place for noble souls. Even now, the town is a simple place without any much of showoff. The glory of the city is its simplicity, locals’ straightforwardness, austerity in their customs. The city by nature is clean and healthy. The city overlooks the Chamundi hills, hill forming the backdrop of the town and thereby, the beauty of the city is enhanced.
From the good old days, the fort, which houses the palace of the Maharaja, was the center of the city. The area is known as killa mohalla or fort mohalla. The palace and fort itself were then in mud and brick, so also the houses around. The then population was less, and the needs of the people were also minimal.
Mysore was part of Vijayanagara Empire, and when the empire disintegrated, the then ruler of Mysore Raja Wadiyar I formed the independent Mysore kingdom and, in 1610, changed the capital city from Mysore to Srirangapatna. For security reasons and to have natural protection, he chose Srirangapatna as capital, island which is protected by the river Kaveri, which provided natural protection against military attacks.
Mysore became the capital of Mysore kingdom when Tipu sultan was killed, and Wadiyars were reinstalled as the rulers of the kingdom. The city then started flourishing with activity. The old palace was to be demolished, and new palace was designed and constructed. With the expansion of the fort area, the old houses were demolished, and further extensions were formed just outside the fort area.
Agrahara is a residential colony for Vedic scholars and priests. With the expansion of palace/fort area, such people who were then living in fort mohalla were also to be shifted. Krishnaraja wadiyar III and his Dewan Sri Purniah built new agrahara for these scholars, vidwans who were working in Maharajas’ Sanskrit collage and priests working in palace temples. For those who came from the Srirangapatna, the old capital was also accommodated in these agraharas.
Purniah was born in a family devoted to the Madwa philosophy. From a humble beginning he came to serve the three heads of the Mysuru kingdom Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan then Sri Krishnaraja wadiyar III Maharaja of Mysuru. It was during the time of Sri Krishnaraja wadiyar III and his Dewan Sri Purniah the Agraharas came up just south of the fort.
Sri Purniah is known for his philanthropic work. As a devoted follower of Sanadhana dharma he had contributed towards up keeping and reconstructing of temples, promoting Vedic research and studies etc.
As a part of this when the Agrahara was formed, he had built a Chattra or choultry or dharmasala which can accommodate the people coming to Mysuru on pilgrimage or for Vedic research. This benefit was extended to the students of Maharaja Sanskrit collage. This huge choultry was by the side of Ane Karoti – the place where palace elephants were stationed, which looked a vast forest.
As a practice, the choultries are built near the temple or a temple is built in the choultry by the rulers. In such choultries, the pilgrims are fed free annadhanam. This could be seen as practiced by the many rulers of south who were vessel of Vijayanagara Samrajya. [There is also a concept where a building is built for the purpose of marriage as philanthropic work for the society by some great souls and such buildings are also known/called as choultry – we are not talking about them here].
As a follower of Sri Madwa Philosophy and born in a simple orthodox family, and well versed in Sanskrit Sri Purniah had taken to worship of Sri Mukhya Prana [Anjaneya]. During his time, he had built some temples for Sri Mukhya Prana [Hanuman]. One such temple he created as a part of the choultry he had constructed in Agrahara Mysuru.
The choultry built by Sri Purniah is no more in existence. In the part of the then choultry today JSS Hospital has come up. And a portion had been taken away by the expansion of the road now named as MG Road. But thank heaven the temples built for the choultry by Sri Purniah has not been removed. The MG Road takes a branch at this particular point and rejoins, making the temple as on an island.
A simple building on the road island of the MGRoad is the temple for two deities. It does not have any vimanam or ornamental finish to look like a temple, but the deities inside this temple had been worshipped by many scholars, many pundits and many purohits during earlier times. Maybe it is their prayers that had made this temple stand stronger even after demolition of Purniah choultry. East facing temple has two sannidhis side by side for Sri Chamundeswari and Sri Anjaneya. Sri Purniah had chosen to build sannidhi for the Sri Chamundiswari, for she is the kshetra deity of ‘Mahisuru’. The other sannidhi was built for Sri Anjaneya, who is the bestower of wisdom, physical strength, fame, courage, valor(fearlessness), good health, vigilance, eloquence, all these and more since they were the need of the hour then.
The main sannidhi of this temple is for Sri Anjaneya. Devotee can have dharshan of the Lord from out side the building itself. As one enters the temple big hall then these sannidhis Garbhagraha of Sri Anjaneya is seen first and next to that is the sannidhi of Sri Chamundeswari. There is pathway on the sides of these two sannidhi and devotee can do pradhakshanam. Devotee can sit in the hall and offer their prayers to the deities without being disturbed.
Lord is facing east and is in standing posture with both His palms together in “Anjanali Hastha”. The vigraha is made of a single granite stone with “Tiruvachi” [decorated arch behind the deity]. His both lotus feet are seen wearing a hollow anklet known as “thandai” and also a decorated chain anklet known as “noopuram”. An ornament just below the left knee is captive in this standing posture. He is wearing dothi in kacham style and is held on His hip with a decorative hip belt. There are three malas made of beads adorning His bosom. While both His hands are folded, and palms joined, He is holding a sowgandhika flower tucked in the left hand fold. In both His wrists, he is wearing a hollow bracelet known as “Kangan”, in His upper arm, He is wearing “keyuram”. His broad shoulders are decorated with an ornament known as “Buja valayam”. He is seen wearing heavey “Kundalam” in ears, which are just touching His shoulders. Through the smiling lips the ‘kora pal’ is protruding. His cheeks are swollen and shining. With both the shining eyes He is emitting compassion and empathy. His curly hair is flowing sideways adding exquisiteness to the appearance of the Lord. Over His head the tail with a small bell at curved end is seen.
Sit in front of the Lord, close the eyes, and offer your prayer. Ask nothing. Open eyes and look at the Lord, feel and see all that flows on you through His eyes. You can ask for nothing better.
Ed: July 2020
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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.