Windy walk to the peak | Daily News
Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple

Windy walk to the peak

Pictures by  Supun Tharindu  Samarakoon
Pictures by Supun Tharindu Samarakoon

The Kandy-bound trip always poses a challenge to any driver: the mission uphill. For the manual gear drivers, it is an acid test of striking a balance between releasing the accelerator pedal and pressing the clutch pedal down. As for auto-gear drivers, they need to have enormous faith in the vehicle performance.

Driving on a straight countryside is quite an easy task although the real driving skills are required when you have to drive along slopes and hills. Things get a bit worse when you decide to drive a bit further towards Nuwara Eliya en route Gampola. Perhaps that explains the ubiquitous eateries and places of worship – to feed and nourish your body as well as the soul.

Driving on the Gampola route through Thavalantenna, you are greeted by the solemn nestling of the Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple. You have 30 kilometres more to reach Nuwara Eliya so this is a good place to take a good break.

But the driver’s challenge is not over yet. The divert route to the temple is even steeper offering the enchanting view of the downhill for the passenger and a heart-throbbing experience for the driver. Following a few bends, you are finally at your destination: Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple. As the winds waft across your face, you will begin to feel the solemnity of spirituality.

In Sri Lanka’s melting pot of various cults, the Hanuman is almost an alien concept. The Hanuman God concept is overridden by other deities. The colossal figure God Hanuman offers an awe-inspiring moment.

The temple is built by the Chinmaya Mission of Sri Lanka.

The Chinmaya Mission is a Hindu spiritual organization dedicated to studies of Vedanta, a branch of Hinduism. The studies focus on Upanishads and other Hindu scriptural aspects. The mission was formed in 1953 by the devotees of Swami Chinmayananda.

Once foot set in here, you naturally become a devotee. Perched about 500 metres from the Nuwara-Eliya-Gampola road, the environs soothe your soul with the lush greenery in the surrounding. Walking further, you come across another steep flight of stairs. That leads to the abode of the God with a monkey form admirably named Lord Hanuman. This is one of the most worshipped deities among the Hindus. Wherever a Hindu chooses to live, the presence of a Lord Hanuman’s statue is quite likely.

This larger-than-life statue glistens in black deep inside the abode. Behind his shoulder is a large pail. The ladder rests close by to reach the pail.

Lord Hanuman, as the legend dictates, was a dedicated bachelor fully committed to his master, Sri Ram. He is considered as a Chiranjeevi which means an immortal and also omnipresent. He is also called Anjani Putra as his mother was Anjani. It is said that he was blessed with Hanuman due to her devotion to Lord Shiva. The place is also believed to be where King Ravana kept Sita in captivity and Lord Hanuman came looking for her.

Unlike most other places of worship, the Sri Bhakta Hanuman temple is blessed with impeccable cleanliness. The Lord Hanuman abode is not overwrought with decorations either. The surrounding garden area is spotless beyond imagination. Made of black granite, the statue is about 16 feet tall.

The abode is surrounded by a 16-room ashram. For the dwellers, the meals will be fully vegetarian.

The Sri Lankan edition of Sri Bhakta Hanuman temple materialised in 1981 when the Chinmayanandan Mission purchased 10 acres of the present land. The temple premise was named as Ramboda, located in the central part of Sri Lanka 3,200 ft above sea level, at a distance of 150 km from Colombo (a three and half hour drive). Swami Tejomayananda consecrated the temple in 2001 by performing Maha Kumbhabhishekam. The premise is now an impressive attraction with the 16-ft tall statue of Lord Hanuman.

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There is supposed to be a stretch of barren land known as the ‘Chariot Path’ on which Ravana took Sita to Ashoka Vatika to showcase the beauty of his kingdom to her. There is also said to be a pond - the ‘Sita Tear Pond’ - here, which was formed from Sita’s tears. The temple itself is one of the more enterprising establishments devoted to this legend and contains a granite statue of Lord Hanuman. It is believed that Lord Hanuman was searching for Sitadevi from these hills of Ramboda. The Ramboda area is believed to be an area where Rama’s forces were gathered against Ravana. Ram Padai means Rama’s Force. The hills of Ramboda is also believed where Hanuman was searching for Sitadevi.

On every full moon day, special poojas are conducted and witnessed by thousands of devotees. Senthooram is being applied to Sri Bhakta Hanuman. Senthooram symbolises victory. Senthooram is only offered at Hanuman temples

Flowers, silk and different coloured wool are also used to make garlands for special occasions. Other items are used for decoration of the temple, especially a brass statue of Sri Bhakta Hanuman. Garlands made of flowers are available for a nominal charge to be offered at the Sri Bhakta Hanuman temple ever since its inception in 1999.

The belief is that Hanuman safeguards whoever believes in Hanuma.

The Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka has built Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple with Lord Hanuman as the presiding deity. 


 

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