There is a concept called a travelogue which avid travelers use to write about their travelling experiences in a dedicated blog.For a guy like me who mostly is confined to four walls of my home(more precisely to the PC ) that concept has never excited me.But here this time I am going to write about one of my travelling experiences where I visited a temple.Yes,its an account of a temple that I visited lately.Even though I am not highly religious, I am always deeply spiritual which I don't showcase.Apart from spiritual factors few other things about this trip caught my fancy and here I am to record them all.
(can see the absence of roof over the deity's head)
Rowthanallur is the name of the place where this simple yet most revered temple by locals is located on the lap of a chain of hills and mountains.Green lush surrounding the temple renders a serene look to the place.As soon as I stepped out of the vehicle the first of the many surprises was waiting for me.As far as I know the word temple that too a temple in Tamilnadu brings the picture of towering gopurams* and sprawling mandapas* in your mind but oddly the deity of this temple has not even a roof over his head.I wondered his simplicity where his counterparts selected places beyond seven hills and deep jungles as their home which later became our place of worship.
(The Shrine of Lord Aanjaneya)
Wondered at the fact I inquired my dad who lived in the neighborhood decades ago.He said that there is a folklore that the deity denied a roof for his temple and whenever anyone tried to build one there will be lot of hindrances.Even Aanjaneya appeared in one of his worshiper's dream who wanted to build the temple and told him that he wants to be in the open space and he doesn't require any shrine.Even when I visited the place the immediate place over the deity's head is open.The other deity Venkateshwara whose shrine is few feet away from that of Aanjaneya has roof.And the other areas of temple like the administrative part has roof.Perhaps the god whose home is the entire universe would have not come to terms with the fact that he will be restricted to a small temple.
(Another picture showing the absence of roof )
The deity's statue is made up of a 9-10 feet single rock.The nuances and the subtle carvings of the statue exemplifies the olden sculpture prowess.There are generally two forms in which the deities appear in temples.One is shantha roopam* which forms the majority and the other is Ugra roopam* which is kind of furious form.Goddess Kali is mostly associated with that form.Here in this temple Aanjaneya also appears in Ugra roopam*.It is said that with the full decoration on, during Saturdays some people get terrified seeing the deity.In olden days people seemed to be scared even to cross the temple alone.
(One of the chain of hills surrounding the temple)
The statue is made such that his weapon Gadhai* is in his left hand and his right hand raised above the head as a sign of blessing the people.There is a dagger in his waist and his tail raises over his head with a bell on the end.Teeth is elongated at the edges of mouth signifying the Ugra mood.Apart from that the temple is at the outskirts of the village where mostly it is devoid of human intervention.The hills,the tress and the chirping of birds proves a heart lightener. Even though the deity is of furious mood it is certain that there is a peacefulness that creeps into the mind after you do the dharshan* of the lord.
(The shrine of Lord Venkateshwara)
More than the lore,more than the interesting state of temple and more than the peace of mind that one gets after visiting temple I guess there is also one other factor which made me write this.If you analyse the name of the village or town where the temple is located then you can find.Yes,as the name "Rowthanallur" in which Rowtha,the altered form of Islamic name "Rowther", suggests the village and the near by areas are dominated by Muslim population. There lies the beauty where the lord has decided to place himself to send across a message. Even I heard(from my dad) that the area is known for the religious harmony and few section of Muslims even revere Aanjaneya and this miraculous temple.
In the times where the words temple and Masjid can not sit together in a sentence(even if it did its for the reason of scandalizing some issues),in the times when politics can not run with out the name Ram, this messenger of Ram has sent out a message that temples are not the cornerstone for his worshipers and all the deity stands for is harmony and love.Even the very being of Aanjaneya suggests that even a soul in a beast form can elevate into divine form if it believes in right things and allows itself to be lead by love.This is what fascinated me than the other things which made me to take up writing about this in the blog.I guess its high time that we keep religion and faith inside the corners of four walls of hearts and act with compassion. Its high time that we take up love as our religion and treat fellow humans as human.Hope with the blessings of Lord Aanjaneya it happens.Let him give us the maturity to embark on the path of love.
(Close up shot of the Shrine of Lord Aanjaneya)
Catch up the Tamil version of this post @ http://veedhiulaa.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_27.html
*Tamil terms for which this little mind doesn't know English equivalents. :P.Sorry even googling did not help.