The Anjaneyas around Manchale

We know that Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha (1447-1539) and Raghavendra Swamy (1595-1671) were avatars of Prahalada.

As Bahlika Raja, the first avatar after Prahalada, lay dying after engaging in a mace fight with Bheema in the Kurukshetra war which is now dated by scholars sometime around 3126 BC, he seeks pardon from Vayu Devaru and ablution from the sins. Bheema then tells him that their avatars will never cross paths in the Kali Yuga (which commenced with Krishna leaving his mortal body on February 2, 3102), and that he would be reborn as a Brahmin.

Interestingly, Bahlika Raja was the only Brahmin to participate in the Kurukshetra war and he fought on the side of the Kauravas against the Pandavas. He did so unwillingly as he had to heed the advice of his elder, Bheeshma. All the other warriors were Kshatriyas. Krishna, however, was a Yadava and he did not participate in the war except as a charioteer to Arjuna.   

When Bahlika Raja is reborn as Vyasa Raja, the seer consecrates 732 idols of Hanuman and this is seen by many scholars and Madhwa saints as a penance to atone for the act of hitting Bheema 732 times in the mace fight in the Kurukshetra War.

(Locals of Penukonda, however, have another tale of the Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman. They say that the venerable seer defeated and overcame 732 Jain scholars in and around Penukonda and each of the Hanuman is a thanks giving to God for having enabled him to emerge victorious in debate. A few others say that Vyasa Raja consecrated 365 Hanuman temples in Penukonda to ensure that one temple was worshipped a day in an year. By the way, Vyasa Raja was Raja Guru to Krishna Deva Raya who spent a lot of time here. You can still see his palace, gymnasium and a few temples.)

What is amazing is that though Vyasa Raja consecrated 732 idols of Hanuman, in his next avatar as Raghavendra Swamy, he consecrates only three idols of Hanuman.

The idol in front of the Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy was consecrated by Rayaru’s successor, Yogeendra Theerta (1671-1688). Rayaru consecrated the HanumanTemple at Hattibelagall near Chikkalparvi or Chippargi in Andhra Pradesh. Some people also call it Chippageri.

Hattibelagall is just a short distance from Guntakal and if one wants to visit this village it can be clubbed with a visit to Chippargi which is also near Guntakal and which houses the Samadhi of Vijaya Dasa.

The other idol that Raghavendra Swamy consecrated of  Hanuman was at the Japada Katte in Bichale, a small village on the banks of the Tungabhadra in Karnataka.

Interestingly, Vyasa Raja had also visited Bichale and he too consecrated an idol of Hanuman. Thus we have Hanuman consecrated by both the avatars of  Vyasa Raja and Raghavendra Swamy. Both these idols can be seen even today at Bichale.

By the way, Vyasa Raja has consecrated several Hanumans in and around Bichale and Adoni they can be seen even today.

You can visit many of these places if you camp at Mantralaya, Raichur or Adoni.

Some of the the Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman temples are: the Anjaneya idols at Raghavendra Swamy Matha Vyasa Raja matha, Uttaradi Matha, all at Penukonda and at the Sanjeevaraya Temple and the Uravaralu Anjaneya both in Penukonda, the Hanuman temple at Kasapuram.

The wild fort of Penukonda had scores of temples of Hanuman but several or rather most of them have fallen to time, some to vandalism and of course an equal number to sheer neglect. It is difficult to climb the Penukonda fort and a guide is necessary to show some of the remnants of a few Hanuman temples.     

Basaladoddi near Mantralaya has is a temple of Mukhya Prana consecrated by Vyasa Raja. This is just 25 kms from Mantralaya.

One of the most unique Hanuman temples is at Budamala Doddi. This Vyasa Prathisthana temple has an idol of Mukya Prana. It is known as palikedevudu which in Telugu means God who talks. This is about 40 kms from Mantralaya on the Adoni-Mantralaya road.

Apart from these temples, there are Hanuman idols consecrated by Vyasa Raja in Mahaboobnagar and Kurnool district, several in and around Hindupur.

By the way, both Vyasa Raja and Raghavendra Swamy have visited the Hanuman temple at Ranamandala in Adoni. The Hanuman here can be accessed only by climbing the Ranamandala hill or Konda. Hanuman killed several demons who were doing their best to disturb Ram and Lakshmana when they were mediating. Hence, the name Rannamandala.

The Hanuman temple here is again one of those consecrated by Vyasa Raja. The Ramjala lake is associated with Rama. He created the lake by shooting an arrow into the earth. Sita was thirsty and as there was no water, Rama shot an arrow and ensured that water sprang out from a spring. This is believed to be the origin of the Ramjala lake.

Adoni, during the British Raj, was known as Chotta Bombay. This was because it was a major trading centre in cotton and commodities. Adoni was in Bellary district for several decades and apart from Bellary, it was the only other municipality of the district. It was in 1867 that both Adoni and Bellary were declared as municipalities.      

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