A rare sculpture of the mighty monkey god

It is not uncommon to find an idol of Lord Hanuman in a standing position and in some places, reclining. But, it is unusual to see the Vanara (half monkey, half human) appearing in the posture of a yogi. This rare sculpture can be found at the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Temple at Dharmapuri in Jagtial district.

The deity is seated in yogasana and the yogapatta cloth reaching till the knees. Lord Hanuman is depicted as a yogi and in a deep state of meditation with anjalimudra (practice of placing the hands together in prayer position). “His upper hands hold the sankha (conch) and chakra (disc), and this clearly indicates that Anjaneya meditates for Lord Rama.

The image is datable to 13th century A.D.,” said D. Kanna Babu, former superintending archaeologist, Temple Survey Project (Southern Region) Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai.

He observed that some of its features were not visible as it is covered under thick coats of saffron oil paint. “It is a rare sight to find the flickering Chiranjeevi in a yogi’s posture. Perhaps, this could be among very few sculptures of the lord in the country,” he said.

Further, while conducting a detailed exploration of Kakatiya-era shrines in the Telangana region to ascertain their historical heritage and architectural peculiarities, Mr. Babu exposed a distinctive and so far not covered historical aspects pertaining to the adoration of the deity at Alampur in Jogulamba-Gadwal district.

Narrating the significance of Hanuman worship in Telangana during the historical period, he said the emergence of worship of the deity in this region goes back to the 7th century A.D. under the tutelage of Badami Chalukyas at Alampur. “It was followed by the succeeding royal dynasties like Western Chalukyas, Kanduri Chodas, Recherla Padmanayakas, Chalukyas of Vemulavada, Recherla Reddi chiefs, and the mighty Kakatiya rulers. They enshrined the images of Anjaneya most particularly in their newly built shrines in different periods from the 8th to 13th centuries A.D. Among all these royal families, the Kakatiyas of Orugallu deserve special mention for their remarkable patronage to this divinity,” he said.

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