Some Interesting Facts about the Salasar Balaji Temple•
Posted on January 28 2023
The Salasar Balaji temple or Salasar Dham is located in Churu district in Rajasthan and is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The deity is referred to as the Monkey god in Hindu mythology and is addressed by other names such as Maruti and Anjaneya as well. Hanuman is represented as the biggest devotee of Lord Rama. The temple witnesses a large number of devotees round the year.
The key highlight of this shrine is that Hanuman is portrayed with a beard and a moustache. The idol also has knotty eyebrows and beautiful eyes as well has a tilak on its forehead. One noteworthy aspect of the Salasar Balaji temple is that it is believed to be a swayambhu shrine or a temple with an idol that manifested by itself. Worshippers also consider the temple to be a Shakti Sthal or a place of power. The temple is also claimed to be a place where the wishes of devotees come true.
The temple priests start the pooja and rituals in honour of Lord Hanuman from early morning. They perform several artis like Sri Hanuman Ji ki Arti, Sri Balaji Ji ki Arti and Sri Salasar Balaji Arti in dedication to the god. Four pandits join to perform the Balaji havan for two and a half hours. Devotees recite the Hanuman chalisa, the Sri Hanuman stotra, the Hanuman mool mantra and the Atulita Bala Dhaamam Hanuman mantra.
The temple is open from the early morning hours at 4:00AM to 10:00PM at night. However, the best time to visit the shrine in time for the morning or evening arti. There are regular Ramayan recitations, bhajans and kirtans in the premises. On Tuesdays, a group of about 13 pundits or brahmin singers join together to recite the Sunderkhand.
The original temple was a mud-stone structure. The present-day temple sports a rich look and was built over a span of two years using several materials like marble, bricks, stone, lime, mortar and cement. The idol is covered in white marble while the utensils that are used for the ceremonies and doors are made using silver. The main entrance features intricate marble carvings. The remaining areas of the temple, namely, the sanctum sanctorum, the circulatory path and the sabha mandap feature decorations with gold and silver floral patterns as well as mosaic works.
Story Behind the Salasar Balaji Temple
Long ago on a Tuesday in the Shravan month on Navami, a farmer from a village called Asota in Rajasthan was ploughing his field. His plough suddenly struck something hard and the farmer could not move it any further. When the farmer inspected the area, he saw a stone there. The farmer removed the stone and started digging further only to find an idol of Hanuman.
It was exactly at that moment, the farmer’s wife came to the fields with lunch for the farmer. She had brought churma made using bajra for his lunch. The farmer fed some churma to the idol also. Since then, it is a customary practice among devotees to feed the deity in the shrine with some bajra churma.
On the same night that the farmer found the idol, the landlord of the place dreamt of Lord Hanuman asking him to install the same idol in a temple in Salasar. The lord also appeared in a dream before a resident of Salasar by the name Mohandas at the same time and ordered him to take the idol from Asota to Salasar.
Salasar Balaji Temple Rituals
This temple is one of the most popular shrines in the area. There are various rituals that are practiced by the lord’s followers in the temple. Among them, the coconut tying, the savamani and drinking water from the temple wells are some rituals are quite popular and worth mentioning.
The coconut tying ritual is the practice of wrapping a red thread or moli around a coconut and tying the coconut to a tree by devotees of the god. They believe that their wishes will come true if this ritual is followed with utmost devotion. This custom was practised for the first time by Rao Raja Devi Singh in hope for a son. The king was bestowed with a son a few months later. Ever since, the practise has been followed by a majority of worshippers of the lord.
The savamani is yet another important ritual that is carried out in the shrine. The highlight of this ritual is the large quantity of food, nearly 50kg of cooked food, prepared in the temple kitchens by cooks. This savamani is usually delicacies like pedas, ladoos, boondi, churma and dal baati. The term savamani is derived from the word Sava that indicates one and a quarter. He/she offers the first part of the food to the deity. The remaining part is distributed among family members and/or the needy.
Devotees drink water from the well in the temple and other temples in the town. They believe that by doing so they will be granted with the blessings and grace of Salasar Hanuman.
Some Dos and Don’ts When Visiting the Shrine
Enter the holy premises only after a bath and wear clean clothes. Men should wear shirts with pyjamas, dhotis or trousers. Women should wear a saree or half-saree or chudidhar with pyjama and dupatta. It is absolutely not allowed to wear short-length t-shirts, low-waist jeans, sleeveless tops, midis, mini-skirts and/or shorts.
Avoid drinking and smoking inside the premises. It is prohibited to spit inside the shrine and/or chew gutka, tobacco or betel leaves inside the shrine.
Hanuman Jayanti Celebrations
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on a grand scale in this ancient temple. This occurs on Chaitra Purnima in the Hindu Chaitra month on the 15th day of Shukla Paksha every year. The day typically occurs between the second half of March and the first half of April and is celebrated by devotees as the birthday of their favourite lord.
There are two fairs hosted every year in the premises surrounding the temple that attract a huge crowd. These fairs are held on the occasion of Chaitra Purnima and Sharad or Aswin Purnima. There is no pomposity in this temple and the lord’s devotees have a direct relationship with their beloved god.
Written by - Deepthi K