Claiming to be one of the temples from the days of Mahabharata, the ancient Hanuman Mandir (temple) has been centrally located in the Connaught Place, New Delhi. Other temples belonging to the Mahabharta era are the Kalkaji, a Kali temple in South Delhi containing Swayambu (Sanskrit: “self manifest”) Rock Idol, near Qutub Minar, the Bhairav temple located near the Purana Qila and the Nili Chatri Mahadev (Shiva temple) at Nigambodh Ghat at the outer walls of Old Delhi.
One of the most unusual features of the temple is the presence of a crescent moon (an Islamic symbol) despite a Hindu symbol like an Aum or a sun in the spire of the temple. This striking feature of the temple got very famous during the Mughal Period as an Islamic symbol on a Hindu place of worship was simply an extraordinary thing to observe. The self manifest idol which is also the main idol in the temple is that of Bala or Hanuman as a child.
One can enter the temple through the Baba Kharak Singh Marg. However, the main hall of the temple is accessible after climbing down a few marbled stairs. Getting down the stairs one will come across a lot of silver surfaced gates which have the epic Ramayan story inscribed on them, hence, a self guide for people who have no knowledge about the temple and its main deity.
On the clerestory windows of the hall several pictures of hanuman have been put, under which the marble tiles recites Tulsidas’s Sundar Kand. The main deity Hanuman’s idol is ornamented in the Sanctum Sanctorum and is exactly located at the north wall’s right side of the hall facing the southern direction. On the same wall several other idols of Radha and Krishna, a central triumvirate of Rama and Lakshmana and Sita can be seen to the right of the Hanuman idol. The devotees can only make out one eye of the idol as it is facing the Southern direction. The features of the main idol includes a Gada in the left hand with the right hand indicating towards the chest revealing the veneration to the adjacent idol of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita. What further catches eye of a viewer is the crown placed gracefully on the top of the idol as well as the holy thread on the right shoulder and also a dhoti.
Reportedly the height of the temple is 108 ft (32.9 m). The temple also displays some unique pieces of art on the ceilings of the main mandap as it has the story of the holy Ramayan painted on it. In the recent few years there was a large expansion in the no. of devotees visiting this temple as the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) added several other shrines of Shiva, Parvati and their children of a similar size as the one in the neighbor sanctum, also another bounded hall was added which comprised of the idols of deities like Durga, Lakshmi Narayan and Ganesha. A new trend of Friday worship began, taking its inspiration from the movie Jai Santoshi Ma, as soon as the idol of goddess Santoshi Mata (the wish fulfilling goddess) was added.
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