History

sitaHistorically, Delhi located on the banks of the Yamuna River has been stated to be the Indraprastha city built by Pandavas of the Mahabharata epic period. In the Mahabharata days, Pandavas ruled from Indraprastha and Kauravas from Hastinapur (two collateral families) as per a brokered partition of the Kuru empire. But, in a dice game, Pandavas lost their Kingdom and were exiled for a 12 year term and in the 13th year must remain in hiding (with a rider that if they were detected during this period they would undergo the exile denovo). Mythological legend states that during the Pandavas’ exile (imposed by their cousin Duryodhana of the Kaurava dynasty), in order to subdue Bhima’s (second of the five Pandava brothers) arrogance, Hanuman considered to be the brother of Bhima (both Vayu’s children, appeared in the forest disguised as a weak and aged monkey. Bhima, while in search of a fragrant flower sought by Draupadi in the forest, found Hanuman lying with his tail blocking his way and, unaware of Hanuman’s identity, scornfully asked him to remove his tail. But Hanuman told Bhima to lift the tail since being old he was unable to do it on his own. Bhima tried hard several times but failed to lift it, in spite of being a man of great strength. Bhima then realized that the monkey was none other his own brother, apologizes for his arrogant behavior and requests Hanuman to show him his true form. Hanuman was then said to have enlarged himself and showed Bhima the size in which he had crossed the sea to go to Lanka, looking for Sita during the Ramayana epic period. After the Pandavas won the Kurukshetra war against the Kauravas and re–established themselves in Indraprastha, the Pandava clan is stated to have built five temples of Hanuman and other deities.

hanuman3It is believed that Tulsidas (1532–1623), who wrote Ramacharitamanas (popularly known as Tulsi Ramayan and penned the famous Hanuman Chalisa hymns in praise of Hanuman, visited this temple in Delhi. During his visit to Delhi, Tulsidas was summoned by the Mughal Emperor and asked to perform a miracle, which he did with the blessings of Lord Hanuman. The Emperor was pleased with Tulsidas and presented the Hanuman temple with an Islamic crescent Moon finial which adorns the temple spire. It is also claimed that because of the crescent moon symbol on the spire, the temple was not destroyed by the Muslim rulers who invaded India at various times.

Reportedly, it was built originally by Maharaja Man Singh I of Amber (1540–1614) during Emperor Akbar’s (1542-1605) reign. It was reconstructed by Maharaja Jai Singh (1688-1743) in 1724, around the same time as the Jantar Mantar. After that the temple has undergone many improvements making it a notable religious centre in the heart of Central Delhi.

An important feature of the worship at this temple is the 24–hour chanting of the mantra (hymn) “Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram”, since August 1, 1964. It is claimed that this continuous chanting has been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. Note: work is released under CC-BY-SA.