Travelogue: Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple in Varanasi
This temple is one of the sacred temples of Lord Hanuman in the city of Varanasi. It is believed that Tulsidas, the Hindi author of the “Ramayana” founded the temple after a vision of the Lord Hanuman at that spot.
Near the long walk way entrance to the temple, several monkeys were playing here and there.
As we walked further, we came to the main temple area where there was a huge line of people waiting to see Lord Hanuman. It was a Saturday, and several devotees worship Lord Hanuman on Saturdays, including the devotees at our own Devi Mandir.
There were a few distinctions in this temple compared to others I had seen. First, this temple uniquely has Hanumanji facing his Lord, Rama, whom he worshiped with steadfast and selfless devotion.
Second, I was surprised to see just how active this temple was with devotees chanting and singing kirtan. Many of the people standing in the line for darshan were actively reading from the Hanuman Chalisa or Sundar Kanda.
Swamiji explained that the reason the Hanuman Temples may be more active with devotees doing sadhana is that many of the texts for worshiping Lord Hanuman, like Hanuman Chalisa and the Ramacharitamanas, are in a language called “Avadhi”.
Avadhi is much more familiar and accessible to most Indian people than is Sanskrit, and, so, the people are more empowered to understand it and read it. Chanting Sanskrit is often seen as something that only the Pundits could do.
It was a great joy to see a temple where everyone was able to worship. In so many other temples only the priest were reciting mantras, while everyone else stood in line to wait to see the deity. This Hanuman Temple was a complete place of worship – a place where we really fit in!
We sat down among the many people, who were chanting and singing, and recited the Sundar Kanda. Swamiji chanted so loud that he lost his voice for a day or two. Afterwards, we went to take darshan of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanumanji and offer our respect.