It is believed that apes (Vanaras in Sanskrit) are the closest of the Human ancestors. Today’s modern Human holds its ancestors in very high regard. Also, according to Hinduism ancestors have a special place in the lineage. They are revered over generations by celebrating their death anniversaries in the form of Shraddha. How then could the Hindus not idolize their most favorite Vanara, Hanuman, Maruti; Son of Marut, the storm deity? Maruti one of the Hindu Gods and an ardent devotee of Lord Rama finds a significant mention in Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Lord Hanuman’s holy prominence is especially apparent within Maharashtra that has 11 temples devoted often visited in a circuit. These temples were established in the 17th century by Samarth Ramdas Swamy to immortalize the BajrangBali (the strong one) form of Lord Maruti and to enlighten the youth of Maharashtra about the importance of physical fitness. These ‘Sankat Mochan’ temples are:
This temple built in Shahapur near Karad and adorned with a 6 foot tall Lime idol of Lord Maruti, was established in the year 1644. Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti are the two main festivals at this temple. The honor of performing pujas (worship services) is bestowed up on the Kulkarni family of Shahapur.
The best and the most beautiful of all the eleven temples, the Maharudra Hanuman temple in Masur was established in the year 1645. The lime statue of Hanuman sits amidst the portraits of Chattrapati Shivaji and Shri Swami Samarth. The Kulkarnis of Brahmapuri enjoy the privilege of performing pujas at this temple.
Established in the year 1648, the specialty of this temple is that Lord Hanuman can be seen kneeling in front of his Lord Rama with his hands folded in the Namaskar Mudra.
This temple is located behind the Rama temple of Chaphal. This one too was established in the year 1648.
Smallest of the eleven Maruti temples and established in the year 1649, the Baal Maruti has been built in Ramphal the place where Swami Samartha is said to be meditating. The temple precinct also has the spring of Kubdi Thirth.
The one amongst the eleven Maruti temples to be without a spire this temple was established in the year 1649. The Hanuman idol in this temple is made of Lime, sand and jute.
A unique feature of this temple is that the Maruti idol faces westwards or in the direction of the Ram Mandir in Chaphal.
Located on an island named Ramalinga; island has a temple of Rama with a Shivalinga installed in front, on the banks of River Krishna. The Maruti statue in this temple sits behind the Rama temple in a posture as if warding off the water of the River Krishna.
In this temple that was established in the year 1651, a 5 feet tall idol of Maruti can be reached and worshipped after passing through a hall of 26 x 15 square feet.
Adorned with the smallest of the idols amongst all the eleven temples and made of stone, this temple was established in the year 1651.
Established in the year 1654, this temple has the Deshpande family performing the Pujas. Battish Shirala has a very high population of snakes.