Hyder Ali (1721 – 1782) waned to build a grand garden in Bangalore during his time and after lot of deliberation based on the design of the Mughal Gardens that once stood at Sira he commissioned the building of garden in 1760. He named the garden as “Lal Bagh”. It was his son, Tipu Sultan (20 November 1750 – 4 May 1799), who further contributed towards development of this garden by importing trees and plants from several countries. And today it has the subcontinent's largest collection of rare plants. Lal Bagh is nearly 1 sq.km. in area and is located in South Bangalore.
Even after death of Tipu Sultan, the subsequent rulers gave lot of attention to the gardens as would be evident from the fact that regular additions were made to the gardens. The extent of the gardens was around 45 acres 1874, 30 acres were added to the eastern side in 1889, followed by 13 acres in 1891 including the rock with Kempe gowda tower and 94 acres more in 1894 and with subsequent additions thereto it is now nearly 240 acres in size.
The Lal Bagh Rock, one of the oldest rock formations on earth, dating back to 3,000 million years, is another attraction.
The well laid garden has four gates as entrances from all the directions.
The western gate is situated near Siddapur Circle, where KH road popularly known as double road joins Hosur Main Road. One can enter this gate and enjoy the silvan atmosphere of the garden.
There is a very old Hanuman temple which is near this gate. It is not easy to locate this. Even today the idol is hidden in the labyrinths of the area. If one takes the Hosur Main Road towards Siddhapura Road, on the right there is a Bata showroom, adjacent to this there is by-lane which can take one to this wonderful temple of Sri Hanuman. It will be interesting to know how this deity came to be located in this place.
There was a person who was a devotee of Sri Anjaneya and called himself as Ramadas. He used to visit the temples of Sri Anjaneya and lead a saintly life, by taking prasadams offered in these temples as food. Sri Ramadas while camping near Avenue Road Tuppa Anjaneya Swamy temple had a divine direction to proceed to a place near Lal Bagh and identify the Hanuman statue there. He proceeded to the place indicated in his dream. After a long trail he found that a Hanuman statue that was carved out of a big rock on a hillock in one corner of the then Lal bagh. The exact year in which these happenings took place is not clear. It could be in the early part of the 20th century.
The statue was covered with bushes and shrubs. He took lot of efforts to get the bushes and shurbs removed. Once the idol of Sri Hanuman was visible he started offering prayers to the deity. He then started asking for alms from nearby colonies and shops, to offer prasadam to Sri Hanuman. In the mean while people living around the area and the nearby shopkeepers started visiting the Sri Hanuman rock. They volunteered in the preparation of prasadam and in the conduct of regular poojas to the deity.
The deity was considered very powerful. The miracle power of this Anjaneya started slowly spreading to the other parts of the City of Bangalore. Then Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar, was proceeding on an official visit through this route. When nearing the hillock housing the temple of Hanuman, his car engine failed and could not be started. His Highness was then taken to this temple nearby. When he returned after offering his prayers, to everybody’s surprise the car started and the official work for which the Maharaja was going was also successful. This occurrence of a near miracle made the temple of Hanuman very popular.
Since the form of the deity was carved on a rock the deity came to be known as “Gutte Anjaneya” – gutte in Kannada language means rock, small hillock.
The devotees who had been beneficiaries of the grace of Gutte Sri Anjaneya Swamy decided to develop the temple out of their regard and love for the deity. As the number of devotees increased the temple also developed fast.
As one comes from the road next to Bata showroom, we can see the fairly big temple complex. As one enters the complex from the east side which is actually the rear entrance to the complex, on the left is the office of the temple. As one proceeds further, we can see the Bali peetam, Sri Rama patham, and the Dwajastambam - all made of stone. As one stands looking northward from near the dwaja stambam, we will be looking straight into the sannadhi of Sri Rama parivar. On the west side of the complex there is a big entrance taking us towards the other side of the complex and on both sides of the pathway comfortable provision has been made for people to rest. There is a sannadhi for Lord Siva and Sri Ganapati on both the ends of this structure.
After offering our pranams to Sri Rama patham and prayers to Sri Rama, Sri Siva and Sri Ganapati one enters the main hall of the temple.
From the main mantapam one can have dharshan of Sri Anjaneya Swamy who is the presiding deity in the garbhagraham. The mantapam is big enough to accommodate many devotees without any hindrance to the dharshan of the deity. Many devotees are seen sitting on meditation and offering their prayers.
There is a pathway of about two feet width around the garbhagraham and a hall for circumambulation of the deity. As one makes the pradhakshanam he/she can see a part of the rock on which the main deity is carved.
The devotees can make pradhakshanam of the deity from outside also. On this pathway in the south-east corner the athistanam of Sri Ramadas who was responsible for identifying the idol now adorning the temple is situated. A plaque set therein mentions that he left his mortal coils on 5th of December 1955.
The deity Lord Gutte Sri Anjaneya Swamy of Lal bagh is about seven feet tall made of hard granite stone in a walking posture and is of ‘ardha shila’ type facing west. Lord is seen walking southward with His left lotus foot in the front. His right lotus foot is seen slightly raised from the ground. Both His feet are adorned with nupuram and thandai. The demon, wearing a crown is seen stamped and crushed by the Lord with his feet. The head of the demon can be seen below the Lord’s left foot and the legs of the demon can be clearly seen below the right foot of the Lord. [This is the only temple of Sri Hanuman, in all probability, where the deity is seen stamping the demon with the face of the demon facing the ground.]
The left hand of the Lord is adorned with bracelet. He is seen with his left hand resting on the left hip and holding the stem of sowgandika flower. The bottom portion of the stem with leaves is seen below his left palm. The flower- still to blossom - is seen above His left shoulder.
He is wearing ornaments which adorn His bosom. With His raised right hand He showers blessings on his devotees. The tail of the Lord is raised above his head with its curved end adorned with a small beautiful bell. The Lord is seen wearing ear-studs and His kesam is neatly tied. Small crown adorns His head. His eyes are glowing and emit karunya for the benefit of the devotees. With such bright glowing eyes Lord of the kshetra is a figure to be meditated upon.
The ‘Tiruvachi’ [artistic arch around the deity] is carved on the rock itself. On the top side of the Tiruvachi sun and moon are depicted. Sankh and Chakra are carved on the two sides of the Tiruvachi. This feature is also not seen normally in other Sri Hanuman temples, which makes this temple special.
The darshan of Gutte Sri Anjaneya Swamy is bound to inspire you to come out of any difficulty and bounce back with confidence to face the same, to end up with success.
Ed. [October 2014]
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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.