After the Ram Janmabhoomi debate was settled by the Supreme Court in November 2019, a new controversy has erupted – this time over Hanuman Janmabhoomi.
This, however, is not between two religions but between two Hindu trusts (one in Andhra Pradesh and the other in Karnataka) claiming different locations as the birthplace of Hanuman.
The TTD, or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, in Andhra Pradesh has planned a ceremony for Wednesday to develop facilities at Anjanadri, a temple and pilgrimage site in the Tirumala Hills, where formal consecration as Hanuman’s birthplace took place on Ram Navami in April last year.
The Sri Hanumad Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust in Karnataka, however, does not agree.
Swami Govindananda Saraswati, the trust’s founder is expected in Tirumala today.
This trust claims Valmiki Ramayana specifies Hanuman was born at Anjanahalli in Kishkindha, which was believed to have been located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River near Hampi.
A debate was held in May last year to resolve this row but an agreement could not be reached.
A TTD committee (headed by National Sanskrit University Vice Chancellor V Muralidhar Sharma, who died last month) said ancient scriptures like the Puranas and copper-plate inscriptions clearly refer to Anjanadri, now called Tirumala, as Hanuman’s birthplace.
In April TTD published a booklet underling the claim of Anjanadri; the booklet was based on a report submitted by an eight-member panel constituted in December 2020.
The Teertha Kshetra Trust countered with a six-page letter to the TTD and the debate was held.
The TTD bases its claim on mythological, literary, archaeological and geographical evidence accepted by several Vedic and Puranic scholars, and also claims the Teertha Kshetra Trust has no proof.
“Clinching evidence was provided by a visually-impaired swamiji from Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh… who will be attending the Wednesday function,” TTD CEO Jawahar Reddy told NDTV.
Among those attending Wednesday’s ceremony are Sarada Peethadhipathi Swaroopanendra Saraswati, Ramabhadracharya Maharaj from Tulasi Peeth in Chitrakoot, Swami Govind Dev Giri of Rama Janma Bhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust and revered swamijis from other parts of the country, in addition to Mr Reddy, TTD Chairman YS Subba Reddy and others.