The detour to Panchamukhi

Two weeks ago I posted about my trip to Mantralayam. Readers can refresh their memory here, Detour to Mantralayam.From Mantralayam we started for Panchamukhi,the temple of Panchamukha Anjaneya Swamy.(Five headed deity).We crossed the Tungabhadra in the gampa, reached the other side,Chickmanchal,Karnataka,where our car was parked. From Chickmanchal,the Panchamukhi temple is at a distance of 5km.

The small village roads and fields on either side make the roads very confusing as well as interesting.

We asked for directions and reached the temple.(At first glance temple looks like this)

The temple is unpretentious and we had no idea of its rich history! The architecture is so-so, but the temple is neat and tidy.

According to the legend, during the war between Ravana Brahma and Sri Rama,Anjaneya Swamy feared for the safety of Sri Rama and Lakshmana,as the rakshas under Ravana were said to be good at performing Maya,i.e. magical tricks. He built a fort-like structure with his flexible tail and hid both Rama and Lakshmana inside.

Mahiravana,Ravana’s maternal uncle,in the disguise of Vibheeshana, enters the fortress made by Anjaneya ,kidnaps Rama Lakshmana after transforming them into palm sized toys.He returns to his kingdom,Paathala Lanka! (which is an underground kingdom).

After finding out that both Rama Lakshmana were missing, Anjaneya starts for Pathala Lanka or Manimantha puram. (The Paathala Lanka is said to be adorned with precious stones,hence the other name).

There are only two ways to reach the said Paathala Lanka,one through the secret passage from Ravana’s own room and the other through the cave situated in dense forest. For obvious reasons,Anjaneya selects the second option,entering the kingdom through cave.

The opening of the cave is said to be near the present Panchamukhi temple. The landmark for the cave is the presence of huge boulders and a particular rock formation of Pushpaka Vimanam (or an aerial vehicle,shown here in the pic.The premises of the temple has many such rock formations.)

After finding the aerial vehicle Anjaneya took a brief break on a rock,since He had travelled all the way from Lanka to Panchamukhi in India. The resting place on which He rested is the pic below,which looks so much like a bed.(Bed made of rock that is!I somehow remember the Flinstones!Yaba daba doo!)

Just opposite the rock formation of Pushpaka Vimanam, is the entrance of the cave,shown in the pic below.(Can you see the small opening between the rocks? Anjaneya shrunk in size to enter the cave. Mortals cannot enter it,thankfully! I am scared of such small caves)
Anjaneya then meets the Manimantha Devi who is the presiding deity and the saviour of the said kingdom. She allows Anjaneya to enter without a fight, after coming to know that He is on the side of Rama. Anjaneya also meets His own son,against whom He fights! (Yup,He was a bachelor but there is another story behind it!)
After reaching Paathala Lanka, Anjaneya finds out that just like Ravana abducted Sita, Mahiravana also abducted a Gandharva Kanya,Chandrasena!
The mystical Mahiravana cannot be killed or harmed physically. The secret of his death is unknown to anyone except Mahiravana himself. Here,Chandrasena helps Anjaneya by finding out the secret from Mahiravana and revealing it to Him.
So how can Mahiravana be killed? How did Anjaneya save Rama and Lakshmana and bring them back to the battle field in Lanka? Ek aur post toh banta hai!(Can’t write an endless post,can I?)
P.S:
1. The most important thing for understanding this post is a basic knowledge of Hindu mythology. Since the history of the place is so important I have decided to tell it. I have told the history my own way,hope it doesn’t offend anyone.
2. Wait for the next post on Panchamukhi, it will be out in a day or two.
3. Picture courtesy: QB team. (yippeee!!)