Hyderabad was the capital of united Andhra and presently is the capital of Telangana. The Charminar of Hyderabad is well known to many, so also is the treasure of Nizam of Hyderabad. The princely state of Hyderabad was ruled by the Muslim Nizam. When India became independent in 1947, like all the other Princely states, the Hyderabad State was also given the choice of joining Dominion of India. Nizam of Hyderabad was reluctant to join India.
During this struggle a private militia known as the Razakars were organised by Qasim Razvi in support of the rule of Nizam Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII and resisted the integration of Hyderabad State into the Dominion of India. Ultimately after brief “police action” against the army of Nizam of Hyderabad and Razakars of Qasim Razvi, Hyderabad became a part of India.
Leaving the razakars aside, the people of Hyderabad then lived in harmony. Many old temples and mutts in the present old city vouch for this. One such temple is known as Sri Sitaram Temple located in Mangalhat, Malle Pally, Nampally in Hyderabad. It came into existence during the early nineteenth century. It is interesting to know that the founder of this temple had come from North of India and had established this temple here in Hyderabad.
Sri Puranmalji Ghaneriwal came from a village named Ghaneri in Rajasthan which is located at about 200 km from Ajmer. Basically Ghaneri villagers are engaged in trading and financing. Sri Puranmalji had come to Hyderabad to do trading. In the course of time he came in contact with the Nizam. Earning the trust of the Nizam he was drawn to managing the state’s finance. The unrecovered money from many revenue collectors were recovered by the able administration of Sri Puranmalji. To this effect he was ably assisted by his son Sri Prem Sukhdasji.
In the year 1832 Puranmalji built a chabutra, a paved terrace for Lord Sitaramji, in the erstwhile village of Mallepally which has now become a part of Hyderabad. The then Nizam came here and Puranmalji organised a little function for him and offered nazrana. The Nizam in return gave the jagir to Puranmalji. The revenue of two villages in Berar (now in Vidharbha) was granted to take care of the running expenses of the temple.
Puranmalji Ghaneriwal belongs to Ramanuja Vaishnav sampradaya. He is a follower and disciple of Sri Ananthacharya guru from Sri Prativadi Bhayankar Mutt. Therefore following their tradition the poojas at Sri Sitaram mandir are conducted as per the rules laid in Narad pancharatra. He had started an institution “Veda Vedanta Vardhani Paatashalaa” imparting vedas, Sanskrit and knowledge on upanishd, itihasa etc. With advancement of years the institute was affiliated to Osmania University and diploma in “Oriental Languages” are awarded. Presently the management of this institute had been handed over to T.T.D.
The Sitarambagh temple is on a sprawling area of over 25 acres and the entire complex is protected by a twenty-five feet high wall, giving the temple a fort like look. It had worked as a protective structure during the attack from the razakars in those days. The complex has three gateways which are built in an imposing size and style, each one of them has been built in different style.
The temple is equipped with six step wells of which one is defunct. There are three mosques around the temple. The property includes an old Qutub Shahi mosque with a step well, near which Puranmalji constructed the temple complex. Both mandir and mosque still use the water from the same stepwell.
Sita and Rama idols made of marble adore the main sanctum sanctorum. The facade to this sannidhi has a beautiful colourful stucco art work which will mesmerise and bring in pleasantness in one’s thinking before having a dharshan of Sri Ramji. There is a Sannidhi for Sri Garuda and Sri Anjaneya is present opposite to the main sanctum. The Kalyana mandap opposite to this is where Sri Sita-Rama Kalyanam is performed every year.
There are other sannidhis for Sri Varadarajaswami, Lakshman, Goda [andal], Ganesha, Mahadeva, Chaturbuj mathaji etc. There are many mandaps names Sukravara mantap, mukha mandap, Vaikunta mandapa, Kalyanamantapa for various functions observed in this temple. Each of this sannidhi and the mandaps were built at different time as the architectural styles are different.
The gateways and sannidhi are having different stucco decorations and the mural paintings are also impressive and had been maintained with care. It is no wonder that the temple had won many awards.
The temple won the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) - Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Award for the year 2001. The entire temple has been declared Protected Monument from Archeological Survey of India.
There is a separate temple for Sri Hanuman in this complex. This temple is located near the main entrance. As one enters through the main entrance, the first thing to see is a huge pillar standing, which is known as the SriRamaKoti stupam. One crore Rama Nama are kept here in the stupam. On the left is the main entrance to Sri Sitaram mandir. One can see a step well just on the other side of the Stupa - this puskarini is the first puskarni and known as Sudershana puskarini. Go pass the step well and the path will lead us to the Sri Hanuman Mandir after entering the archway.
The temple for Sri Hanuman is fairly big. The Garbhagraham is about ten feet by ten feet with a five feet pathway around the Garbhagrham for circumambulation. Over the Garbhagraham cupola of ten feet height looks a crown of the temple. On the cupola [vimana] in the east is the Abhaya Hanuman, in south the Veera Hanuman, in west the Bhaktha Hanuman and in north the Dasa Hanuman are seen.
The renovation of the Sitaram temple was undertaken in the year 2015 before the 185th year celebration. Sri Hanuman temple was also being renovated. During the course of renovating the Garbhagraham and the deity, a miracle had happened. Sri Hanuman at that time was seen only up to knee and had been under worship. As per the tradition the cleaning of the deity was being done with a concentrated liquid made of soapnut, rita, buttermilk, curd, multani mitti and with the help of soaked coconut fiber. While cleaning the deity of Sri Hanuman it was observed that the entire liquid was going through a crack adjacent to the deity. Slowly when investigated it was observed that the diety is half below the ground. The ground around the deity was cleared and to the astonishment of all a full deity emerged.
Finally it was a magnificent idol of Hanuman idol that was 6.5 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 3.5 feet thick emerged. The idol was placed in the same place above the ground and punar-pradishta was performed on 4th March 2015.
The deity Lord Sri Anjaneya Swamy of Sri Sitarambagh is of hard granite stone in walking posture and is of ‘ardha shila’ type. Sanku [counch] is seen on the right corner and Chakram [Disk] is seen on the left corner of the block of stone in which the deity is embossed.
Lord is seen walking southward with His left lotus foot adoring nupuram and thandai in the front slightly raised from the ground. Both His hands adorned bracelet and in the upper arms keyuram is seen. Both His palms are joined and show a ‘pranam’ posture. He is wearing a chain [mala] with a pendent. The tail of the Lord is raised above His head with a curved end. Lord is wearing ear-studs which are touching His shoulders. His kesam is neatly tied to form tuft which adds beauty to Him. His eyes are very attractive and magnetising. Devotee when looking at His eyes could feel peace and tranquility engulfing his thoughts and heart.
Sri Hanuman of this kshetra who had re-emerged in full and praying to Sri Sitarama as a baktha is sure to give us power to shun our disparities and emerge as a noble soul with vigor.
Ed [November 2018]
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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.