When thinking about the holy places of South, one will not miss remembering Madurai. The place is associated with Lord Sundereswarar and Meenakshi. The great four towers of this temple is world known. When Sri Krishna Rao of Madras School of Arts was entrusted with the work of designing an emblem for Government of Madras (then. Now Tamil Nadu), he chooses the west tower of Sri Meenakshi temple as model. (It is not Srivilliputur tower as some claims.)
Madurai has a glories history right from the days when the city was ruled by Pandiya dynasty. In modern time one could not forget the Malik Kafur ransacking the city, and paving way for other Delhi Sultanite to follow. The city was again brought back to the glory when it was part of Vijayanagara samrajya and then during Nayaks' rule. The famous among them is Tirumalai Nayak, who had contributed to the city in the best and artistic way. The Raja gopuram of Sri Meenakshi temple is one among them. Madurai had a woman ruler by name Rani Mangammal, the woman of great skill and sagacity. Rani Mangammmal, shines in almost solitary eminence as an able and powerful ruler in Tamil Nadu.
Presently Madurai is a busy city with lot of amenities. Many temples built during Nayak's period and after are there to visit. Many of the places are easily accessible since the transport system is very good. Many of the local trade depends on the tourist, hence they are tourist friendly. Lots of devotees, who visit Ramaswaram, do not miss seeing this temple town. Though Sri Meenakshi temple is centre of attraction for many visitors there are very many holy temples around Madurai for Lord Kartik, Vishnu etc.
There are many temples for Lord Sri Anjaneya in the city of Madurai. Let us visit one such temple built for the Lord Sri Anjaneya in Madurai in a place called Simmakal. This place is just two kilometers from Madurai railway junction, and Periyar bus stand. The temple is called 'Lord Sri Jayaveera Anjaneya Swami Temple'. The small and beautiful temple is worth visiting.
Sri Kuzhantai Ananda Swami was a yogi who was living near Simmakal in Madurai. The yogi was respected by many in Madurai as son of Sri Meenakshi, hence known as 'Kuzhantai' ('Kuzhantai' in tamil means child). He lived in the banks of Krithumal River a branch of Vaigai River. He had the practice of taking bath in the Vaigai River in the early morning and sat for japa in the banks of the river. The locals use to feed the 'Kuzhantai', which he accepted as per his need and wish (eccha).
One fine day Sri Anjaneya (Hanuman) appeared in the dreams of the many of the locals and informed them to install His vigraha which is lying in the Krithumala River. The locals did not know what to do, approach Sri Kuzhantai Ananda Swami. To their surprise Swamiji welcomed them and asked them 'All of you are fortunate to have dharshan of Lord Anjaneya. Have you found out where Lord Hanuman is?' People told Swamiji that they had come to him for guidance. Swamiji asked them to follow him to the river.
Under the supervision of Swamiji a search was conducted in the Krithumal River. First the deity of Lord Sri Narashima was found, followed by Lord Sri Anjaneya, Mahalakshmi, Garuda, and Ganesha (two in number).
Under the divine direction of Lord Sri Anjaneya, all these deities were to be installed under a 'Eluppai' (இலுப்பை) tree, the place indicated to the Swami Kuzhantai Ananda. When the tree was located in the banks of the river, it was observed that the tree is very old, and almost dead. Swamiji offered prayers to Lord Anjaneya and installed the deity of Lord Anjaneya under the tree on an aspious day. Other deities found along with Lord Anjaneya were also installed in the same location. To the astonishment of the people the tree stated growing, blooming with green new leaves then after.
There is big hall as you enter the temple, and the main Gharbhagraham is seen just seen with a broad doorway. Above the doorway one could find a large cement embossment work depicting the Sri Rama Darbar. The main sanctum sanctorum of the temple one will find a portion of the trunk of the tree, under which Lord Hanuman is installed. On to the right of Lord Anjaneya, Lord Yoga Narashimha, Sri Mahalakshmi and Sri Garuda had been established. The Two Ganapati deities found along with Lord Anjaneya had been installed just in a row along the walls of the sanctum. The three and half feet in height utsava deity (deity taken out on procession) is kept on left side of the main deity. Just above the sanctum a vimanam has been established.
When circumfuse the main sanctum, one could see separate sannathi one for Vishnu Durga and the other Lord Sudersanam. We can also see a figure of Lord Anjaneya naturally grown in the 'sthala virsham' (sacrat tree of the temple).
The main deity had been named as Sri Jaya Veera Anjaneya and is about two and half feet in height. Lord's left hand is seen raised and holding sanjeevi parvath. His right hand is seen resting on his hip holding 'ghadha' (mace). He has a small knife tied to his waist belt. It is said that the Lord holds a small hill tied in His langoolam (tail). There is a small bell tied to the tail. One has to wonder see His charanam (lotus feet), they are in such a posture as if He is eager to jump for helping His and Sri Rama's devotees. His eyes are gracing with fondness towards His devotees with 'deerga kataksham'. Lord is seen as an virdha (aged) when abishakam (anointment) is performed.
Since the predista is done by Sri Kuzhantai Swami in accordance with Saiva Agama, Vibuti is given as prasadam along with kunkumam. Since Lord Narashimha was first found in the river the fifteen days annual function starts on the day where Swati star falls in the solar month of 'Adi' (July-August). During these days the Lord is decorated in various forms each day and one among them is 'virdha' alankaram. Devotees can have dharshan of Lord Anjaneya and Lord Ganapati in the same temple, which is a rarity. Devotees can have dharshan of Lord Anjaneya and Lord Garuda in the same sanctum, which again is a rarity.
When in Madurai visit also this small temple of Lord Anjaneya and get the immense blessings of Sri Jaya Veera Anjaneya.
[Ed : March 2010]
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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.