The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has claimed that Tirumala Hills (Andhra Pradesh) is the abode of Hanuman and not Hampi (Karnataka).
The TTD states it has evidence to back its claim and would release it in the form of a book. Hampi near Ballari is considered ‘Kishkindha Kshetra’ or monkey kingdom for ages.
The TTD stated recently that Hanuman was “born” on one of the seven sacred hills of Tirumala, home to the Sri Venkateswara Swamy shrine. The Devasthanam said it will release the book on Tuesday (April 13), on Ugadi, the Hindu new year.
Archaeologist and historians differ with TTD’s claim. In fact, the Karnataka unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) suggested the TTD discuss the matter with scholars and religious heads before reaching any conclusion. Historians are confident that Hampi and the area surrounding the Vijayanagara dynasty is “Kishkindha Kshetra”.
“There are many cave paintings near Sangamkallu, Belakallu, where the human figures have tail like form. That is why it is being argued that ”Vaanara” (meaning men seemingly monkeys) is one of the species of the human race with tails. Possibly during the time of Treta Yuga and Rama, these were the people who appear to have helped him,” Dr Raghavendra Rao Kulkarni, Professor and Head, department of Art History, Chitrakala Parishath, Bengaluru, told PTI.
Kulkarni said Prof A Sundara, former chairman, department of ancient Indian History and epigraphy at Dharwad University, has identified a good number of paintings at nearby Ballari region, where the human figures in prehistoric paintings have a small protrusion on the rear side. “There are more than 1,000 Hanuman sculptures in and around Hampi,” he said.
Questioning TTD’s argument, Kulkarni asked, “Why are Hanuman sculptures found only in the Hampi region and not in Tirumala?” He claimed Anegundi was the royal place of Angada, son of Bali and the prince of Kishkindha.
T M Keshava, retired superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, said he has identified all topographical regions of Kishkindha as mentioned in the Ramayana. There is Pampa Sarovara, which is none other than the Tungabhadra river and hills like Malyavanta, Rishyamooka, Gandhamadana, Kishkindha, Matanga and Anjanadri in the region, Keshava said.
“Records, available evidence, present tradition, folklore at the available site show that the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire, earlier Pampa Kshetra, has been identified as Kishkindha, with innumerable pieces of evidence like hundreds of Hanuman Temples in the taluk,” he said.
Also, the extensive depiction of sculptures of Hanuman by the Vijayanagara artisans, building of a temple exclusively to Hazara Rama and Sita near the royal enclosure of Krishnadevaraya at Hampi “prove that this is kishkindha. “There is a Hazara Ramachandra Temple and other shrines at Hampi, narrating the story of Ramayana,” he added.
Keshava said the presence of langurs, macaque and yellow bodied monkeys even now, as also hundreds of rock shelters with proto-historic paintings in many areas in the world heritage site Hampi allude to the ”strong evidence” of Anjandri and its vicinity being the ancient Kishkindha at Anjadri.
The Karnataka organising secretary of VHP, Basavaraj, said that since Lord Rama is the important deity for Hindus, every state wishes to relate their history with him. “However, the TTD should not be in a hurry to come up with a report and should take time and consult religious heads and scholars before arriving at a conclusion,” he said.