Volume: 6, No: 05 ; May-2012
It was 1718 when the queen Alia Begum was getting some construction work done in Aliganj area for a regal building. During the digging work labourers found two statues of Lord Hanuman. Alia Begum got the statues placed somewhere in the corner of the construction area. Next, night in her dreams, she heard -‘install these statues and you will have a child born to you’. Within few days Alia Begum got the statue installed and it is the temple that is now known as ‘Purana Hanuman Mandir’, Aliganj. Alia Begum was ‘blessed’ with a son she named him, ‘Mangat Rai Firoz Shah’
If you think that ‘Naya Hanuman Mandir’, Aliganj is some recent temple, then you are wrong. ‘Naya’ or new is a misnomer. The Naya Hanuman Mandir is about 400 years old. It’s called ‘Naya’ as it came up a few decades after the ‘Purana’ or the old temple. Jathmal made the Naya Hanuman Mandir in 1752; the commander of Alia Begum was taking the other statue to some other place for installation. While they all were moving in a procession, the elephant carrying the statue sat at one place and refused to move further. Jathmal installed the statue at the place where the elephant sat. ‘This became the ‘Naya Hanuman Temple’.
Jathmal after making the temple, performed ‘puja’ (prayers). It was the first Tuesday of Jyestha month (month in hindu calendar – usually peak summer of May/June). Since then from the first Tuesday of Jyestha this ‘Bada Mangal’, is celebrated in the Naya Hanuman Mandir, Aliganj, where people come from far off places to make their wishes to Lord Hanuman.
This is the story that old Pujaris and shopkeepers were telling the visitors on the eve of Bada Mangal on Tuesday at the Naya Hanuman Mandir.
Bada Mangal, a festival devoted to the Hindu Deity Lord Hanuman is unique to Lucknow as it happens only in Lucknow and is celebrated here for past 400 years. As it is unique to Lucknow, devotees come over from all over the state and even some other parts of the country to seek blessings of Lord Hanuman.
Bada Mangal is celebrated each Tuesday from the first Tuesday to the last Tuesday of Hindu month Jyestha. About eight hundred thousand devotees visit the temple on each Tuesday of the Bada Mangal.
The Kapata (doors) of the Sanctum Sanctorum are closed since morning and behind the closed doors, ‘snan’ (bathing), ‘vastra dharan’ (clothing) and ‘shringaar’ (make up) ceremonies of Lord Hanuman are done. The doors are thrown open to the devotees few hours before the midnight and are open till the wee hours of Wednesday.
Though the Bada Mangal is unique to Naya Hanuman Mandir, but over the years it is being celebrated in all Hanuman Temples in and around the city. In fact this year a temple in Indira Nagar locality of the city became a temple in news as here a huge ladoos (sweet meet in the shape of a ball) – weighing 301 kgs was offered to Lord Hanuman. This is claimed to be biggest ladoo being offered to lord Hanuman ever on Bada Mangal.
On the roadside corporate houses, shopkeepers and residents erect canopies to offer free unlimited chilled sherbet, water and food to all passer-bys, blaring chants dedicated to Lord Hanuman can be heard in all Hanuman temples. Evening is the time for children to rejoice in fairs that are put up around the temples for the devotees. Muslims in large numbers put up stalls to offer water and food to the devotees in the scorching summer heat of Lucknow.
This festival that is unique to Lucknow is the biggest example of secularism and cross-religious beliefs of people of Lucknow. Innumerable examples of Hindus constructing mosques and Muslims constructing temples can be found in Lucknow. Lucknow till date is a peaceful city that has had no history of any communal violence or has shown any intolerance toward opposite regions.
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