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PRATAPAH VEERA HANUMAR TEMPLE, MOOLAI ANJANEYAR KOIL, THANJAVUR, T NADU
Thanjavur, rightly acclaimed as the Granary of the South India, lies in the
deltaic region of the famous river Cauvery and is a cultural treasure house
of Tamil Nadu. This was the Royal city of the Cholas, Khiliji, the Sultan of
Delhi, Nayaks and the Marattas. The notable feature is that in spite of
several alien invasions, onslaughts and internal conflicts, the ancient
culture and civilisation have not suffered much devastation. During the
reign of Cholas, Thanjavur flourished humming with trade and cultural
Why name the city as Thanjavur?
It is interesting to note that the place had been named as Thanjavur by Shri
Neelamega Perumal as a grant of a last wish of His devotee turned demon due
to a curse. Tanjan got boons from Lord Siva and became arrogant and started
devastating the neighborhood. It is said that Sri Anaandavalli Thayar (Lakshmi)
and Sri Neelamega Perumal (Vishnu) killed the demon Tanjan, as wished by
Lord Siva (Lord Tanjapuriswarar). As requested by the demon this place had
been named after him as Thanjavur.
Marathas’ of Thanjavur and Lord Anjaneya:
While Nayaks the rulers of Thanjavur were loyal to Vijayanagar kingdom,
Nayaks of Madurai (Alagiri) wanted to capture the power of Thanjavur. At
that time General Venkaji alias Ekoji (1676-1683), the half brother of
Sivaji the Great defeated Alagiri and thus established the Marathas rule in
It is known that the followers of Vijanagar Empire were devotees of Lord
Anjaneya because of the influence of Saint Vyasaraja. The followers of
Sivaji the Great were equally devoted to Lord Anjaneya because of the
influence of Saint Samarth Ramadas. During these two dynasties many temples
for Lord Anjaneya and Lord Rama were built in and around Thanjavur. ***
Sri Pratapah Simhan and Sri Tulaja II
Thanjavur was under the rule of Maratha king Sri Pratapah Simha during the
period 1739-1763, subsequently by his son Sri Tulaja II. The Maratas were
facing trouble from the Nawabs of Arcot during this period. The capital town
of Thajavur was expanding and Pratapah Simha had then taken up development
of the town in a systematic way. During his regime he had built temples and
chatrams (wayside rest houses). Sri Sethu Bhawa Swami was his guru. Sri
Sethu Bhawa Swami was living in Thiruviyar a small village near Thanjavur
just near iyarappan temple. During their rule the father and son had
patronized many religious activities and cultural activities in and around
Thanjavur, which transeeded the boundaries of religion itself. Patronising
construction of minars for Nagoor dargah by Sri Vera Prataph Simha and the
patronization of Melattur Bhagavathamela troupe by Tulaja II during 1787-88
are worth mentioning.
Temple for Lord Anjaneya
Under the noble guidance of his Guru Sri Sethu Bhawa Swami, Sri Pratapah
Simha had built a temple exclusively for Lord Anjaneya in Thanjavur.
Normally temple for Lord Anjaneya will be small in size and built-up area.
There will be no exclusive Rajagopuram or dwaja sthambam, but this temple is
an exception. This temple has a three tier rajagopuram and a dwaja sthambam.
It has a eighteen pillered alankara mandapam. This is the second largest
ancient temple built exclusively for the Lord with
rajagopuram and dwaja sthambam, I had come across and the
other being the temple in Iyenkulam near Kanchipuram. **** The Lord of this
temple built by Sri Veera Pratapah Simha is known by the ‘Sri Pratapah Veera
Hanumar’. But this temple is known as 'Moolai Anjaneya' temple, moolai in
Tamil means corner.
Uniqueness of the Sri Pratapah Veera Hanumar Temple
This temple had been planned and built in the North-West corner of then
Thanjavur. The North-West corner is also known as ‘Vayu mulai’ in accordance
to Vasthu Sastra, and since Lord Anjaneya is son of Vayu (hence Vayusutha:)
this corner acquires special significance for the Lord Anjaneya. For this
reason the temple came to be known as moolai Anajaneyar koil.
There is complete Rasi Mandalalm [the twelve houses of the various Grahas as
generally represented in a birth chart] is depicted nicely on the inside of
the roof and it is believed that the wishes of the devotees will be
fulfilled if they stand on the floor corresponding to their Rasi while
praying to Sri Anjaneya Murthy.
There is depiction of Rahu graham trying to catch the Surya (Sun) and
Chandra (Moon) grahas on the inside of the roof of the mandapam, reminding
you of the valor of the Lord Anjaneya during his early age.
In the pillar just nearby there is depiction of two Nagams (snakes)
worshiping the Lord Siva.
There are two sculptures in the Northern wall of the sanctorum depicting
Lord Anjaneya in Yoga posture sitting on the top of the mountain. There are
animals and trees shown in the mountain. Yoga Anjaneya is seen with four
arms, while top hands are seen holding sangu and chkram (couch and disk)
while the other two are seen blessing with ‘abhaya and varadha mudras’.
While one depicts the Lord being worshiped by Veera Pratabah Simha and in
the other it is his son Tulaja II. These Yoga Anjaneyas are seen facing
north, hence it is said that praying Him will give Siddhi.
When Hindu temples were hunted for the treasure by the non believers, Utsava
Murthi Vigrahas of many important temples were hidden by the devotees from
the prying eyes of the enemies. Daily poojas were performed to Utsava
Murthis while on transit from one place to another. Those days after the
fall of mighty Vijayanagar there were few Hindu Rajyas in South. Thanjavur
under the Marathas were one among them. Many of the Utsava Murthis of the
main temples took refuge in Udiyar Pallayam Siva temple and Perumal temple.
When Kanchipuram was also attacked and hunt for Gold and other treasure of
temple began, the Utsava Vigraha of Sri Kamashi known as Bangaru Kamashi was
also moved from Kanchipuram for Udiyar Pallayam. Udiyar Pallayam was then
under the rule of Thanjavur Maharaja Sri Pratapah Simha. Sri Sri Kanchi
Kamakoti Petam had also moved from turbulent Kanchipuram to Udiyar Pallayam.
The Thanjavur Maharaja Sri Pratapah Simha requested the then Acharya of Sri
Sri Kanchi Mutt to move the mutt to Thanjavur. But the then Acharya of the
mutt Sri Sri Chanderendra Saraswati Swamigal IV accepted the request and
moved the headquarters of the Mutt to Kumbakonam to be in the banks of river
Kaveri. The Utsava Murthi of Sri Kanchi Sri Kamashi known as Sri Bangaru
Kamashi was decided to be moved to Thanjavur. It is said that when Bangaru
Kamashi arrived at Thanjavur she was received by the Royal family and was
accommodated in the Pratapah Veera Hanumar temple. Presently Sri Bangaru
Kamashi (immortalised in Syama Sastri's songs) has her own temple built by
Tulaja II in the West Street very near to this temple. Even today before the
beginning of the annual festival in Sri Bangaru Kamashi temple, handful of
sand is taken from Pratapah Veera Hanumar temple.
It is said that Saint
Sri Sethu Bhawa Swami had established the temple poojas to be performed in
accordance to the Madhwa tradition, and the neem tree as
But recently the poojas had been switched over to vaikanasa agama vidi.
Sri Pratapah Veera Hanumar
Sri Pratapah Veera Hanumar (Lord Anjaneya) is in arthshila form is facing
east and Lord Anjaneya is facing north. He is seen blessing devotees with
his right hand which is in ‘Abya mudra’. The upward looking golden eyes are
blessing the devotees with lot of self confidence in their endeavor, which
brings all prosperity in life.
Next time when you are around Thanjavur make it a point to visit this
beautiful temple and bring back the blessing of the Lord (of) Veera Pratapah.
** for more details on Thanjavur, palace, forts etc., please turn to page on
“Bunk Nayak Anjaneya temple” in our site.
*** read also Bunk Nayak Anjaneya temple, Jaya Veera
Anjaneya of punnayanallur and also Puddu Agraharam
**** read details about the Iyenkulam temple in our site.