Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Wait a minute. It’s Tuesday, April 11th, that means it’s Hanuman’s birthday! Revered by hundreds of millions, temples, shrines and massive statutes of Hanuman are dotted all around Delhi. Unsure about who he is? Check out his CV.
Slap bang in Connaught place, in the heart of New Delhi, is one of Delhi’s oldest and holiest Hanuman Mandirs (temples).
The site, said to date back to the Mahabharata, an ancient period estimated to be in 4th century BCE, is one of the most popular places for worshipers in Delhi. Thousands of devotees flock here each day to pay their respects to a mega star of Hindu mythology, Hanuman.
If you are wondering who he is and why his so popular, then read on.
Hanuman loves Lord Rama
Hanuman, also known as Anjaneya, Mahavira, Bajrangbali, is a loving devotee of Lord Rama.
A leading figure in the Hindu epic the Ramayana, Hanuman fought alongside Lord Rama in his war against Ravan. After rescuing Sita, Rama’s wife from the evil Ravan’s cluthches, Hanuman destroyed the evil empire with swipes of his tail and his huge monkey army.
Hanuman’s love of mangoes got him in a whole lot of trouble. But it’s also how he got his name.
As a child, Hanuman believed the sun was a ripe mango. Naturally, he wanted to eat it. I get that. Mangoes are worth chasing after
Pursuing the sun, Hanuman clashed with and beat up Rahu, a vedic planet, who wanted capture the sun to cause an eclipse. Hanuman’s behaviour outraged the Indira, the King of the Gods, and he threw a thunderbolt which struck Hanuman on the jaw, damaging it forever.
It’s an act that gave Hanuman his name. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Hanu’ means jaw and ‘Man’ means disfigure. Put it the two together and you have Hanuman.
Hindu’s love Hanuman so much they’ve built some massive statues to honour him
At a staggering 176 feet, the tallest statue in India is of Hanuman at Madapam, Andhra Pradesh. Completed last year, this Hanuman statue took the tallest statue title from the Anjaneya Swami Hanuman statue, also in Andhra Pradesh, which was installed in 2003 and stands at a mere 135 feet.
Tying in third place with three other Hanuman statues is Delhi’s Shri Sankat Mochan Hanuman statue. Situated on a west Delhi roundabout, towering over Delhi’s metro and visible from Jhandewalan and Karol Bagh stations, the joint third tallest Hanuman in the country was completed in 1997 and stands at 108 foot. On Tuesday’s head to the New Link Road, Karol Bagh, and you’ll see Hanuman’s arms move as he opens up his heart to reveal statues of Rama and Sita.
Delhi’s tallest Hanuman shares bronze medal position with the 108 foot Hanuman Murti in the hill station of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, and another Hanuman at Nandura, on National Highway No. 6.
In sixth place, at exactly 100ft, another Delhi Hanuman stands proud. Chattarpur Temple Hanuman looks over devotees in South Delhi. At that height, I bet he can he see the statue in Karolbagh.
Mangalvar (Tuesday) is the day that the devotees flock to Hanuman Mandirs (Temple)
Each day of the week is dedicated to a Hindu god and Tuesday has Hanuman’s name on it. Head to Hanuman Mandir’s on Mangalvar and you’ll find devotees sharing Bundi, a small round Indian sweet, with friends, family and fellow worshipers. It’s a tasty, simple, sugary snack.
Hanuman protects the world from evil spirits to this day
When Rama passed away, Sita, his loving wife and Lakshman, his brother, followed him to his heavenly abode. Hanuman didn’t. He vowed to remain on earth and protect the world from evil spirits. That is, for as long the name of his master, Rama, is chanted by humans.
Do you now know Hanuman ji that little bit better? I hope so. Happy Birthday Hanuman!