Lord Hanuman is said to be the 11th Rudra incarnation of Lord Shiva. An ardent devotee of Lord Rama, this Monkey God is a celibate and is worshipped as the protector and source of strength to the world.
The apsara, Anjana, was his mother. She was born on earth to fulfill a curse. She gained redemption from the curse after giving birth to a son. The Valmiki Ramayana says that his father, Kesari, was the son of Brihaspati, the ruler of Sumeru. Anjana worshipped Shiva and performed intense prayers that lasted 12 long years to get a child. Pleased with their devotion, Shiva bestowed the son they wanted. Hanuman is a reflection of Shiva himself.
Hanuman also manifested in the form of Panchamukhi Hanuman, with five faces. He took this five-faced avatar during Lord Rama’s battle against Ravana in the Ramayana. Panchmukha or Panchmukhi means ‘five-faced’.
There is a story behind the origin of Panchamukhi Hanuman. Ravana, the demon king, sought the help of Ahiravana, his brother, and the king of Patal-Lok or the underworld to defeat Rama.
Ahiravana went in the disguise of Ravana’s brother, Vibhishana, and kidnapped Rama and Lakshmana as they slept.
When Lord Hanuman realized this, he went to Patal-Lok in search of Rama and his brother. During the search, he found out that the demon’s life was concealed in five lamps and each lamp faced different directions. According to a boon, Ahiravana could be killed only if all five lamps were extinguished simultaneously.
In order to kill Ahiravana, Hanuman appeared in his Panchamukhi form. His five faces were the faces of five gods-
In this form, Hanuman extinguished all the five lamps and killed Ahiravana.
Here are the 10 most famous Hanuman temples that you must surely visit:
Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Varanasi
Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple is near the Assi river in Varanasi. The temple is said to be one of the most sacred Hanuman temples in India, and thousands of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman devotees converge here every day.
Jakhoo Temple, Shimla
Shimla’s Jakhoo Peeth is the most renowned Hanuman temple in Himachal Pradesh. It is located on Jakhoo Hill and has a huge, 108 feet tall deity of Lord Hanuman built at an altitude of over 8100 feet. One can see hordes of monkeys here.
Mahavir Mandir, Patna
Mahavir Mandir in Patna is the second most visited religious shrine in Bihar after Patna Sahib Gurudwara. It is visited by huge numbers of pilgrims every day and is one of the richest temple trusts in India.
Shri Hanuman Temple, Jamnagar
Shri Bala Hanuman Temple, Jamnagar, is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It entered The Guinness Book of World Records for 24/7 chanting of Ram Dhun. It has been going on since August 1, 1964.
Hanuman Temple, Delhi
Hanuman Temple is located in Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi. It is one among the five temples from the days of the Mahabharata in Delhi. The temple has a self-manifested form of Lord Hanuman.
Panchmukhi Hanuman Dhara temple in Chitrakoot is situated on a rock face that is several hundred feet up on a steep hillside. Chitrakoot is also known for several temples and sites related to the Ramayana.
Salasar Hanuman Temple, Salasar
Salasar Balaji Temple is a very unique and important shrine for Hanuman devotees, and it is in the town of Salasar in Rajasthan. At the temple, we can see the idols of Lord Hanuman with a round face, mustache, and beard.
Bet Dwarka Hanuman Temple, Gujarat
Bet Dwarka Hanuman Temple is situated in close proximity to the temple of Lord Krishna, situated on the island of Bet Dwarka. The island is also considered part of the ancient city of Dwarka. Bet Dwarka has many religious shrines.
Balaji Hanuman Temple, Mehendipur
Mehandipur Balaji Temple is perhaps the most renowned Hanuman temple in North India. Hanuman is worshipped here as Balaji, which is his childhood name.
Namakkal Anjaneyar Temple, Tamil Nadu
Namakkal Anjaneyar Temple is a very popular temple of Hanuman in South India. One of the tallest statues of Hanuman in Tamil Nadu is found here. Separate shrines for Hanuman and Narasimha are found here.