Purniah was born in a family devoted to the Madwa philosophy to Sri Krishnacharya and Lakshmi Bai in the year 1746. At that time they were living in a village of Coimbatore district, presently in Tamil nadu. The couple had a second son named Vekata Rao. Purniah lost his father when he was very young, and the family moved of the village in 1760. Purniah was soon found employment with a trader who was supplying stores to the Hyder Ali’s military. The shrewd Purniah notched a special place for him in the management of the trade and started growing up in the line. He finally ended up with the job in Hyder Ali’s treasury department. He was proficient in Kannada, Sanskrit and Persian and his knowledge and quickness in grasping attracted the attention of Hyder Ali, who ultimately made him Head of accounts and finally a trusted member of the Nawab’s Darbar and Head of Army Supplies and Logistics.
Purniah till his end served the Heads of Mysore Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan then Maharaja of Mysore. Probably he is the only one who could have served the great masters of Mysore as a trusted person/ Dewan.
As a follower of Sri Madwa Philosophy and born in a simple orthodox family, and well versed in Sanskrit he had taken to worship of Sri Mukhya Prana [Anjaneya]. During his time he had built some temple for Sri Mukhya Prana [Hanuman].
Sri Purniah had left behind scores of legend who had adopted his name as prefix and one such is Sri Purniah Narasinga Rao Krishnamurthy. He is the grand son of Purniah through his son Sri Narasinga Rao and had served as Dewan of Mysore during late 19th century and early 20th century. The Secretariat manual prepared by him during his Dewanship is still regarded and followed by the Secretariat staff.
During his tenure as Dewan of Mysore he had built an excellent building in the heart of Bangalore [Bengaluru] city. He had named it “Purna Prasad”. The massive building designed in the aesthetic style looks like a castle from a distance. Presently only a portion of the building is with the family of Purniah, and a portion is occupied by the post office.
The interesting portion of the building “Purna Prasad” is the old Hanuman temple. The family deity of Purniah is worshipped daily by the family presently living there. All the other family members [who are spread over throughout India and aboard] also come to this temple and offer their prayers as and when possible. They feel that coming to this place is a pilgrimage.
The temple is a part of the “Purna Prasad” complex. Today the unique tower of temple [vimana] is visible as you go past the BTC i.e., Bangalore race course. Though the temple is Purna Prasad Hanuman Temple, and a private temple people know that this temple as BTC [Bangalore Turf Club] Hanuman temple.
The architecture of this temple is unique fusion of Hoysala and Chandela style of architecture. The vimana of the temple has eight sides and twelve stories forming a hexagonal tapering tower. Each side of the vimana, separate statues of Sri Vishnu’s Dasavathar, Asta Lakshmi postures etc sculptured in black stone had been placed. This unique tower serves as the vimana of the Hanuman temple.
The temple has a small mandap and a small projected porch serves as the entrance to the temple. The temple by itself is not big but the prakara has some beautiful stone windows with stone meshed [jally] work. The events from the great epics Sri Ramayana and Sri Mahabarath form the jally work. Sri Bima trying to lift the tail of Sri Hanuman in the jally work is worth mentioning. There are other beautiful wall sculptures dipicting some of the Sri Madwacharya’s philosophy and Sri Acharya taking lessons from Sri Vyasa has been wonderfully sculptured.
The Sanctum [Garbhagraha] where Sri Anjaneya is, can be seen from the porch or the connecting mandap. The vigraha of Sri Hanuman is small and may be about two to two and half feet tall. But artha shila vigraha is a wonder to look at. The Lord attracts the devotees with a grace of His kataksh mesmerizing the devotees to forget the entire world around him. The Lord’s presence can be felt there in the temple. The poojas are conducted as per the Madhwa tradition.
The Hanuman is worshipped here as Sri Mukhya Prana as per the family tradition. One could feel the presence of the Lord Anjaneya here. The Purna Prasad Hanuman will bestow all good things as “prasad” to the devotees in full [Purna].
Ed [September 2011]
* the author is a retired Sr. Police Officer from Delhi.
N.B: 1. Kindly note that since the temple is a private property,
admission to the temple is restricted.
2. Information regarding Sri Purniah is based on the narratives
given by their family members in one of the internet web site.
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