Volume: 17, No: 05 ; May-2023
Even in the scorching heat of summer, the love story of Lucknow with Hanuman goes on. Pawan Putra fans still flock to Bada Mangal to see the monkey king. In Lucknow, Jyeshth is celebrated as the month of Hanuman (Jyeshth being the third month in the Hindu calendar) with the hymns to the king of monkeys. Bada Mangal is dedicated to the Pawan Putra we all know and like Lucknow; there are various theories about how it came to be.
Even before Superman was born, there was a god who knew that we Indians had the power to fly without wings, and that god was none other than the king of monkeys, Hanuman. If Ganesha is worshiped as vigna-harta in India, then Hanuman is also known as sankat mochan who helps people in their time of need.
Hanuman is one of the Hindu gods and an ardent devotee of Rama, who is one of the main characters in the Hindu epic Ramayana, and in various versions of the Ramayana. He is also mentioned in several other Hindu texts, including Mahabharata and various Puranas and Jain texts. In the Ramayana, Hanuman, who is a Vanara (monkey), participated in Rama’s war against Ravana, the demon king. Some texts portray him as an avatar of Lord Shiva. It is said that Hanuman is the son of the gods Anjana, Kesari, and Vayu, the God of the wind, and according to some stories, Vayu played a part in his birth.
Hanuman’s Day is celebrated every Tuesday in the month of Jyeshth. Over the years, Hanuman’s Day has come to be celebrated as a feast for the people of Lucknow, and the surrounding areas. What began as a simple affair of poori sabji and a few coolers during the summer months has now evolved into a full-fledged festival.
With over 5000 kiosks located in every village and locality of the city, the menu of Hanuman’s Day can be enjoyed by the people of all walks of life.
The menu ranges from poori-sabzi to chola bhatura and kadi-chawal. It also includes boondi, ice cream, laddoos, coldrinks, juices, halwa and kheer.
Despite the scorching heat in the city, scores of people indulge in prasad and worships on Bada Mangal. Hanuman devotees flock to temples every Tuesday during the holy month of Jyeshth in Lucknow. In a show of brotherhood and amity, both Hindus and Muslims take to the streets to celebrate the life of Hanuman. The echoing of the Hanuman Chalisa and the soothing sounds of the Sundarkand paath begin from the early morning. Some people walk for miles on their bare feet while others lie down on the roads to reach the temples to see their beloved deity.
Purana Hanuman Mandir in Aliganj is one of the finest examples of communal harmony of Awadh as it has a crescent over its dome which symbolizes the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb of Lucknow.
The festival coincides with the months of May or June in the Gregorian calendar.
All major temples in the city – Dakshinmukhi Hanuman temple in Hazratganj, Purana and Naya Mandir in Aliganj, Chachi Kuan temple in Lal Kuan, Hanuman Setu temple and the Khatu Shyamji temple on the university road are decked up with flowers and lights.
Century old traditional fairs are organized around Hanuman temples; the idol is embellished with vermillion, chameli oil, scent and flowers. A special 51-kg besan ka laddu is prepared at the Aminabad Hanuman Temple.
The police have taken special measures to ensure that traffic is not disturbed at different places. As the temperature is rising, voluntary organizations have installed water and cold drinks kiosks for the devotees. Bhandaras cost anywhere between Rs 35000 to Rs 300000.
According to the priests, the festival begins with the traditional offering of a chola to the deity. Nowadays, with the help of technology, people are able to watch darshan via webcam in some temples.
There are very few rituals in the festival, but the tradition of writing a letter to Lord Hanuman persists. The priests continue the tradition of reading these letters to Lord Hanuman in the night.
The origin of Bada Mangal is one of the most fascinating aspects of the festival. There are many fascinating stories behind the origins of the festival. The first of these stories is about the plague in Lucknow. The then Nawab of Lucknow, Asaf ud daullah, prayed for the prosperity of the people from the Monkey King. Therefore, he declared the first Tuesday of Jyeshth month as Lord Hanuman’s day.
In the second version of the legend, Lord Hanuman was accidentally shot by Bharat while attempting to procure Sanjeevani booti for Lakshman in the vicinity of Lakshmanpur, now known as Lucknow. Consequently, Hanuman fell to the ground, and the festival has been commemorated and celebrated ever since.
The most well-known theory that has found its way into books and newspapers is the one that revolves around the triumph of the Hindu god Hanuman. Bada Mangal is a festival that celebrates the birth of a child. The festival is associated with the second wife of the Nawab Shuja ud-Duallah. She had no children. She was devoutly religious to Hanuman and built a temple to him. Soon after that, she gave birth to a child and declared this festival.
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