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2005 – 06? I don’t remember. Might be later also. I had gone to Rameswaram for first time in life. After showing floating rocks in a temple, the guide took us to a small hillock with 50 – 60 steps, and an antenna above. “Gandhamana Parvatham”, he said with all pride in his face. This is the point where Hanuman took Vishwaroopam, and jumped to Lanka. From here it is 16kms, he said. From that place, we could see some distant land. He continued, “That is Lanka!”

I was slowly rewinding “Jai Hanuman !” serial in DD which I had seen in school days in my mind. Hanuman actually did 2 things in that flight. First, He killed a demoness on the way, who pulled Him near her using Hanuman’s shadow. Second, He defeated Naga-Matha Sursai by taking a very small figure and speeding away. If both has to happen, 16kms is too short a distance I thought. Hanuman is considered Maha-bala. If so, what is the great deal in jumping 16 kms? Rama banam is believed to have crossed very great distances to kill asuras. When Hanuman’s valour is so equally celebrated, I felt something was missing. And, this hillock is too small to hold His weight was my next thought. Logic didn’t fall in place, and I left it at that point that day.

Years later, when I was reading Siththanarul blog, did I come across an incident as Mahaguru Agasthiyar narrated to Hanumathdasan, a person who had read his Jeeva nadi for long time – close to 50 years !!!

“இந்த இடத்திலிருந்து தான் அனுமன், விஸ்வரூபம் எடுத்து, சீதாதேவியைத் தேடி ஸ்ரீலங்காவுக்கு புறப்பட்ட இடம். முன் காலத்தில் இதற்குப் பெயர் மகோதர மலை.  இங்கு கொடிய விலங்குகள், அடர்த்தியான காடுகள் சுற்றி இருந்தன.  அனுமன் விஸ்வரூபம் எடுத்தவுடன், அத்தனை விலங்குகளும், மலைகளும், காடுகளும் வீழ்ந்து நொறுங்கின.  அந்தக் காட்சியை அகத்தியன் யாமும் கண்டு மெய் சிலிர்த்துப் போனேன்.”

Though I am not gifted to have met Late Shri Hanumathdasan, I was carried away by this narration. And these lines did throw me a picture of how Hanuman would have taken his Vishwaroopam. After this, I tried a lot to go to this place as usual, and it never happened, until my friend Jana sir came on a 2 week long assignment to Bangalore. First weekend, we both left to Mantralayam. My plan was simple – Go and pray Shri Raghavendrar first, and then go to this hill.

And Mahodhara hills of Thretha yuga is today called RANAMANDALAM !!!

As such, let me reserve the Mantralayam experience for another blog, since there is a lot to write 🙂

Hill of Surprises, even today:

It was almost 11:45 AM when we reached the foot hills, and as usual, I was bothered about the closing time. There is a small Hanuman vigraha, which I prayed for a second before climbing up, and had a very strange feel at that moment.

I felt like some one was pulling my eyes and ears towards him from a different direction. I turned my head, and saw an old man sitting there in rags. Beggar should be, I thought. He did not turn towards me, but told in clear tamil, “………………. poitu vaa. Ellam sari aayidum” (Go to ………… All will become ok.) I was dumb-stuck. I didn’t talk there after getting down from the auto, but how he knows I am a Tamilian? I thought and thought if I had spoken any word, and really nothing !!! And I should add, I went to that famous temple almost after 2 weeks.

One month later, in my own hands I realized why he had instructed me to do so !!! Who was he? A fortune teller? A Rishi / Muni / Siddha? I dont know. But I do know one thing, He saved me from something big, and I am thankful to God for that 🙂

Entrance to Ranamandalam Temple !

Entrance to Ranamandalam Temple !

Temple Details:

Two distinct things will catch your attention for sure. One, the Hanuman statue which I told first, and next a very old banyan tree. Also, there is not much greenery around.

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Hanuman, in the pose of Ravana’s son Akshaya Kumara vadham ! (For a fact, same vigraha of Hanuman is just opposite Moola Brindhavanam of Shri Raghavendra !)

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Very old Banyan tree. Long live you, I thought seeing the roots falling down !

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Climb a couple of steps, Swami padham is there for us to pray and climb !

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Rain water flowing down, amidst Tulsi and other herbs !! We tasted it, and it was pleasant !

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Some surroundings, with slight water flow, and in summer, absolutely nothing 🙂

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A separate rock, standing on its own without support !!!

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Way to temple !

Climbing this is not too difficult. The first time I went here, it was all pleasant cloudy weather. We two were not finding it difficult to climb. After climbing almost 150 – 200 steps, a nice view of another temple in the vicinity was visible.

Shiva temple in vicinity. Covered later in this blog-post !

Shiva temple in vicinity. Covered later in this blog-post !

After climbing close to 250 steps, there was a small path to the left. We didn’t know whether to venture, when couple of local-ites guided Jana sir to go inside. And to our surprise, we came to know that it was some Sidhdha / muni cave.

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Kaaval deivam with weapons at the entrance of the cave. Don’t know if it is Bhairavar, since there is no Vaahanam !

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Nandhi Devar at entrance !

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Surprised to see Babaji !!! but no one to explain why!

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Rocky beds inside !!!

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Zoomed inside, but this was the picture !

So, came out again, and continued climbing another 35 steps. There was a Shiva temple on the way.

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Left building is the Shiva temple.

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Lord Shiva inside that small temple. History unknown.

After this, it was all climbing. When I reached 300 steps from ground level, there was a small Hanuman sannidhi. Again no one to explain what is the significance.

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Hanuman again in Akshaya kumara vadha kolam !

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Swami Padham, again 🙂

Walking up, almost when reaching 400 steps, we can clearly see Adoni fort !!!

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After climbing 522 steps from ground, finally we come near the main temple, and have darshan of Vinayaga peruman first.

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Beautiful Valampuri Vinayagar that too in standing position !!!

So, with another 22 steps, and 544 in total from ground, we enter the main premises.

Temple whole view...

Temple whole view…

There is no separate sanctum for Hanuman. He stands in open arena. I could imagine the place almost 40 years back. If there was no transport facility, how much that noble soul would have suffered before reaching this place ! Hanuman stands same through time. We went on a Saturday and there was some pooja. So we sat down patiently, and started chanting Hanuman mantras, and more importantly Panchamukhi Hanuman Kavacham. I had got it the previous day, minutes before I had left office. 20 – 25 minutes of real bad reading of it, since we both don’t know sanskrit, we finished it, and someone showed Harathi. And as I stood up, few drops of drizzle fell on me and my friend, just like a blessing 🙂 Before or after this, in the total 5 hours we spent on this hill, there was no drizzle / rain ! Happy we were !!

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Sri Ranamandala Rama Anjaneya Swamy !!!

Opposite to Him, stands His boss, Sri Ram, albeit a small vigraham.

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Now we go around the Hanuman shrine. Behind the shrine, there are lots of newly constructed sannidhis. We shall have a darshan of them too.

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Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita with Hanuman…new vigrahas, but very good looking with the vahanam opposite this shrine !!!

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Vahanam opposite Sri Rama…Adhisheshan should be I thought, since there are multiple heads !

IMG_0880This most effectively completes this temple. I wanted to continue on Venugopala Swami temple and Shiva temple but due to the length, will reserve it for part – 2!

How To Reach:

Adoni is around 50 kms from Mantralayam. Ranamandalam is close to 4 kms from the bus stop. You need to go through very narrow market streets, and in the end of the town, you find this temple.

Temple Timings:

I don’t know if there is timing at all. If you walk in broad day light, you should be able to have darshan and come down.

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