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Varaha Gate, south entrance, Mysore Palace

Sri Anjaneya Swamy Temple, South Gate, Mysore Palace, Mysore

sri kathyayini priyan*


In earlier days after long service in Government or reputed company a person from middle class family will think of spending his post retirement time peacefully in a healthy place. He will also think of medical facility and education facility for children available at that place. For many the choice was Pune, Indore, Khandwa, Bangalore and Coimbatore to name some and few more of the individual choice of the person concerned.

Sri Anjaneya Swamy Temple, Varaha Gate, Mysore Palace, Mysore After Bangalore became an industrial city from early independence, Mysore became the next choice and more popular place for many in south. Mysore is a city which has a rich culture, thanks to the legacy of the Maharajas of yester years. Even now the city is easy to live. The city is known for the simplicity of the folks living there. By and large a peace loving city. City is clean and healthy. The Chamundi hills form the backdrop for the city and thereby the beauty of the city is enhanced. The city provides excellent educational and medical facilities.

The city is built around the old-fort – now known as Mysore Palace.

Mysore palace

Any visitor will be wonderstruck by the hugeness of the palace as well as by the design and magnificence of the structure. Well maintained gardens form part of the areas surrounding the buildings.

The main palace complex is 245 ft in length and also 156 ft in width. The palace has three entrances: the East Gate - the front gate, opens only during the Dasara and that too only for dignitaries, the South Gate and North Gate are open for public. There are other gates used for specific purposes and they are not open to public. Visitors can enter either through North gate or South gate during specificed timings.

Mysore palace Gates

Although these gates are popularly named after the direction in which they are situated, each of the gates in palace has a specific name. The North entrance has two arches – each with separate gates - and these gates are known as Jayarama and Balarama gates. The East gate is known by the name Jayamarthanda Gate. The South gate is known as Varaha gate. Not just these gates; the other gates also have specific names – obviously for some reason. It is interesting to know as to why the South gate should be called “Varaha Gate”. Is it because there is a temple for Sri Varaha murthy near the gate? Let us examine.

Varaha Swamy

We all know that Lord Maha Vishnu had taken the avatar in the form of a boar – ‘Varaha’ in Sanskrit. He took this avatar to bring up the earth from the primordial waters, where the demon Hiranyaksha had kept the ‘earth’ stolen by him. Maha Vishnu rescued the mother earth – Maa Booma Devi, by slaying Hiranyaksha and restored her to her rightful place in universe.

Sri Anjaneya Swamy Temple, Varaha Gate, Mysore Palace, Mysore The Agni Purana, Narada Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Venkatacala Mahatmya of the Skanda Purana, Garuda Purana all talk about worship of Sri Varaha Swamy. Many say that Sri Varaha will bestow sovereignty, prosperity, eradication of foes, apart from many other benefits inclusive of moksha (emancipation). Here we could see that Varaha is the protector of ‘bhu’, the earth. Therefore the kings worshiped Sri Varaha Swamy as protector of their territory.

Many kings who followed Vaishnava sampradaya worshiped Sri Mahavishnu as Sri Varaha murthy. Many of them during their time of rule had renovated the temple for Sri Varaha Murthy. There are many temples in Bharat varsh for Sri Varaha Murthy, right from the time of Guptas. Temple for Sri Varaha Swamy at Tirumala, Tirupati of Andhra and Srimushnam of Tamilnadu are considered most sacred. Therefore it is no wonder that kings offered their prayers to Sri Bhoovaraha Swamy. And Mysore Wodeyars were no exception to this.

Shweta Varahaswamy temple of Srirangapatna

Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1672-1704) was the Maharaja of Mysore, and during his time Srirangapatna was the capital. He planned a temple for Sri Varahaswamy in his capital. He visited Srimushnam and with the blessings of the acharyas of the kshetra obtained stone image of Shweta Varahaswamy for the temple to be built at Srirangapatna. He then built a temple for Sri Shweta Varahaswamy at Srirangapatna and he had got made the utsava murthis for the temple. The “Utsava Moorthi” of the temple has an inscription stating that it was donated by Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar.

Shweta Varahaswamy temple of Mysore

After defeat of Tippu Sultan by the British, on 4th May 1799 Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi took the initiative to get the throne back to Wodeyars. Five year old Krishna Raja Wodyar III was installed as maharaja with Purnaiah as Dewan to assist the king in administration. The capital was then changed from Srirangapatna to Mysore.

The coronation of the five year old Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was led by the Duke of Wellington and took place at Lakshmiramanaswamy Temple, for want of more decent structures to celebrate the occassion. The condition of the palace complex was pathetic when the power got transferred to Wodeyars.

The first thing that Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi - grandmother of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III - did with the able assistance of Dewan Purnaiah was to build an important temple at the south-west namely Shweta Varahaswamy temple with a view to providing security to the palace. For this they shifted the Sri Shweta Varahaswamy idols from Srirangapatna. The earlier temple built by Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar hundred years ago had been destroyed by Tipu Sultan. They built the temple with materials brought from a temple – originally built in Hoysala style - which was in ruins at Shimoga district. The construction of the temple for Sri Shweta Varaha Swamy was completed in 1809 with the efforts of Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi and Dewan Sri.Purniah. This was primarily done with a view to bestowing sovereignty, prosperity to Mysore Kingdom and to provide security from the enemies of the State.

Sri Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, was made the full fledged Maharaja of Mysore on his attaining the age of 16 in 1810. The King, however, lost the services of his grandmother, who died in 1810, and also of Purnaiah, who died in 1812.

The Gun House -where the arms and ammunitions of the kingdom were stored - is readily and easily approachable through the South gate, and hence it was used mainly by those connected with maintaining the security of the state. For others there was a different gate on the south side.

Dewan Purnaiah and Sri Anjaneya Temple

Sri Anjaneya Swamy, Varaha Gate, Mysore Palace, Mysore Hoysalas are known for making intricately carved stone idols used in the construction of temples. The townships they built are known for provision of a temple at the center and providing the streets in four cardinal directions, surrounding the temple. Erecting Anjaneya statues at each of the gates at the end of each of the four streets was their hall mark. During their reign, the Hoysalas built more than 1500 temples all across their empire of which only a little over hundred is surviving today. Hoysalas had recognised Shaivite, Vaishnavite sects and also Jainism.

The temple ruins which were brought from Shimoga for the purpose of building Sri Shweta Varaha temple at Mysore had an idol of Sri Anjaneya also. As was the practice of the then kings, when a fort is constructed new or renovated they use to install Sri Anjaneya in all the four directions. Sri Anjaneya is considered as a protector and a keeper of vigil on enemy, and hence this practice. One could see this being practiced by almost all the kingdoms that derived powers to rule from Vijayanagara Samrajya. Mysore is one of them.

Sri Purnaiah was a devotee of Sri Anjaneya and helped building of temples for Sri Anjaneya or helped renovation of Sri Mukhya Prana temples at various places he had visited or served during his Dewanship to the Mysore Sultans and the Maharajas. He had planned installing the idol of Sri Anjaneya brought from Shimoga at Mysore security gate known as Varaha gate [presently known as south gate]. In all probability this was the last temple for Sri Anjaneya that Sri Purnaiah had built. For one another Sri Hanuman temple built by him in Mysore, kindly see our article “Dewan Purnaiah Choultry”

There is a temple for Sri Anjaneya, built by Sri.Purnaiah, at the south gate, tucked behind the kiosks where policeman of the day frisks the visitors to the palace who enter through south gate. Visitors will normally miss to notice this temple, unless they have a keen eye for details. Devotees may kindly note that the temple is opened by the priest in the morning for about ten minutes for pujas and there is no fixed timing for puja.

Sri Anjaneya Swamy

Sri Anjaneya Swamy, Varaha Gate, Mysore Palace, Mysore Magnificent, majestic and gigantic idol of Sri Anjaneya. Just one look, the devotee is sure to surrender to Him. Intricately carved with all artistic skill and rich in sculptural work, the splendid idol is adorable. Excellence of the Hoysala workmanship brought Sri Anjaneya is clearly visible in the idol.

The murthy of the Lord is about twenty feet in height and is facing east. Sculpted on a single stone Lord is standing on a raised platform. There is a path carved in the platform so that the abishekam water does not spill all over but smoothly finds its way out. All though the idol is seen as ‘artha shila’, but the sculptor – shilpi - had brought a three dimensional effect so beautifully as if the idol is a full shila.

Lotus feet of Sri Anjaneya Swamy are adorned by ‘Thandai’-hollow anklet [padavalaya] just above His ankle and a plain nupur [padasaras] without any decoration also is seen. His left calf muscle is held tightly with a decorative ornament. He is wearing loincloth [kaupeenam, langoti] as a wrestler would wear. Over that He has draped a cloth in the waist with a knot near His navel covering His thigh [urudama] and the ends of the cloth is flowing downwards. He is wearing a flat broad decorative ornament known as kanchi in His waist. Lords strong tail [lagoolam] is decorated with rings [ankuligam like] and is rising over His head. The end of the tail is coiled and a small bell is seen tied thereto. On His broad chest Lord is wearing yagnopaveetham and two garlands made of beads. In both wrists He is wearing kada also known as kangan. In His upper arm He is wearing bahuvalaya also known as Angad. His broad shoulders are decorated with bhujavalaya. His right hand is showing ‘abhaya mudra’ while in His left hand Lord is holding Sowgandika pushpa.

His peacefully smiling face [prasanna vadhanam] transmits tranquility. The swollen cheek and jaw adds beauty to Sri Hanuman’s pleasing look. His long hair had been braided neatly and held by kesabandha, since the braid is too long it can be seen that it has been folded. His closed eyes under long eyebrow show that Lord is in deep meditation. Although closed they silently convey many things to the devotees. Like Sri Dakshinamurti conveying silently explanations on Brahma Tatvam, here this Sri Rudravathara moorthi silently provides relief for all the worry that the devotee come with. Stand in front of this Lord get the answers for your problems and go back with a light heart.


Location of the temple :    "Anjaneya Swamy Temple, South Gate, Mysore Palace"


Have darshan of Sri Hanuman - the destroyer of foes and keeper of territory. Stand in front of Him for few minutes – feel the magic wand of Lord working on you. All the foes in your mind will vanish and you will realise your limit and territory where you can be ‘PURNA’.


* about the author Shri Kathyayini priyan :: Ed: February 2024





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