Mysuru: Amid the angry exchanges that mark every Tipu Jayanti and the attempt to brand him as the Muslim tyrant who put hundreds of Hindus and Christians to the sword is the back story of the battles he waged to protect Sringeri and the revered idol of Sharadamba, and the jade Shiva at the Najandeshwara temple in Nanjangud.
What is even less known, is his association with a shrine to Hanuman that dates back to the eighteenth century. Few cars stop or even slow down, but it is here on the busy Mysuru-Bengaluru highway that a Navasara Hanuman Temple sits, which as only a handful know, came into existence because ofthe patronage of the ruler of the Mysuru kingdom, Tipu Sultan.
While one story goes that the temple was built by Tipu as he was a firm believer in Lord Hanuman who had granted him a boon, another says the temple was built for his second wife, who was reportedly a Hindu, although not much is known about his wives.
The legendary Tiger of Mysore who stood up to the might of the British empire in India, is said to have prayed at this temple before going to
Srirangapatna to wage war against the British East India Company, which he - like his father Hyder Ali - recognized would be the biggest threat to the Indian rajas and sultans.
The temple with its 5 ft tall statue of Hanuman is under the jurisdiction today of the Mysuru tahsildhar and was recently given a facelift, accordingto its priest, Ramesh who opens its doors every day from 7 am to 9 pm for abhisheka and other pujas.
Dwelling on the importance of the temple, the priest says the crown of Lord Cheluvanarayanswami in Melukote, Mandya district was first offered puja at this temple before it was taken to adorn the deity during the Vairamudi festival. After Mandya district was carved out of Mysuru, the crown of Cheluvanarayanaswami is now stored in its treasury.
Mahadev, a security guard of a hotel attached to the temple is a regular visitor, quite taken with the fact that the temple was built by the very manthe saffronists have marked out as anti-Hindu-Tipu Sultan....