Siruli Mahavir Beckons Devotees, Tourists
The Siruli Temple consists of four structures comprising Vimana, Jagamohana, Natamandapa and Bhogamandapa and is said to be built by Anangabhima Deva-III (1212 AD to 1236 AD), the Ganga ruler of Odisha
Puri is one of the most revered pilgrim centres of Hindus in India. It is a holy land of Lord Jagannath- the Lord of the Universe. Siruli Mahavir near Puri is a prominent Hanuman temple in Odisha. The temple is situated about 33 kms on the north east of Puri town on way from Puri to Bhubaneswar.
A large figure of Lord Hanuman is enshrined in the sanctum, who is the presiding deity of the temple. The image is carved on a single piece of stone in the standing posture, holding a short dagger in left hand and gandha mardana mountain in right hand. The figure of Lord Hanumana has been designed slaying Murasura (a demon).
Anjana, the mother of Lord Hanumana is carved to the right side of the pedestal. The height of the figure is about 10 feet and made of black chlorite stone. A legend popular among the locals says that the left eye of Lord Hanuman faces towards Lord Jagannatha temple of Puri and the right eye is fixed on Lanka, the kingdom of Ravana. A Shiva Linga canopied by seven-hooded serpent is carved on top of the head of the figure. The figure of Lord Mahavir exhibits Lord Rama and Goddess Sita in his tearing heart.
This temple consists of four structures such as Vimana, Jagamohana, Natamandapa and Bhogamandapa. It is built with laterite and sand stones, locally called mankada and kanda patharas respectively. The Vimana’s height is about 25-feet and its base is square. It is erected on the platform of 2-feet high. The bada of the Vimana is panchanga i.e. in five-fold divisions such as pabhaga, tala jangha, bandhana, Upper jangha and baranda.
The Jagamohana of the temple is apidha deula and its height is about 20-feet. The base of the Jagamohana is rectangular measuring 20-feet in length and 10-feet in width respectively.
The Bhogamandapa of the temple is a pidha deula and its height is about 18-feet from the surface of the temple complex. The base of the structure is rectangular measuring 40-feet in length and 20-feet in width respectively.
The Natamandapa of the temple is a flat roof supported by 10 pillars was constructed in modern period. The temple complex is enclosed by a high masonry wall.
A tank has also been excavated in the eastern side of the temple complex. Two huge lions are installed on both sides of the main entrance. The outer walls of the main temple contain figures of Hanumana, Ganesha, Mahisamardini Durga, Siva Linga and bull. The figures of nine planets (navagrahas) are carved above the eastern side entrance of the temple. There is an old peepal tree in front of the temple. On the basis of the local tradition people say that the temple was built by Anangabhima Deva -III (1212 AD to 1236 AD), the Ganga ruler of Odisha. RP Mohapatra has referred that the Mahavir temple of Siruli was constructed during the late medieval period.
According to a legend, Lord Jagannath used to keep Lord Hanuman as his guard at Puri. It is said that Lord Hanuman’s snoring disturbed Goddess Lakshmi’s sleep. The goddess complained to Lord Jagannath and as a result the latter asked his guard to shift to Siruli. According to another saying, when Lord Hanuman was going to Siruli, his long tail was hurt with the plough of a farmer. The farmer became unconsciousness and when he came to his senses, he constructed the Siruli temple. The temple does not hold much importance from the architectural point of view, but from religious angle, it is one of the important shrines in Odisha.
People flock to the Siruli temple in large number, especially on Tuesday and Saturday and during various festive seasons. Festivals like Makara Sankranti, Rama Navami, Dola Purnima are celebrated in the temple with great enthusiasm and fervour. The Sidha Mahavir temple of Puri and Panchamukhi Hanuman temple of Cuttack are other prominent Hanuman temples in Odisha and the tourists and the devotees make a beeline for these centres from all over the country.
By Ashok Pande From Puri