TEMPLES OF INDIA. SARISKA TIGER RESERVE, ALWAR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA.
Hanuman temple, Pandupol.
To visitors used to seeing the Vedic age Hanuman in its present day highly sculpted form complete with the face of a monkey and standing upright as a man with a mace in one hand and a mountain in the other, the idol at Pandupol, deep within the Sariska Tiger Reserve, can at first be a little difficult to comprehend let alone imagine as another artistic version of the demigod.
Peculiar as it is with its splayed out shape which from certain angles resemble a squid like creature with a massive head rising between two over-sized tentacles that does not even remotely resemble that of a primate.
Yet, the peculiar shape of the hefty idol is what makes it a rarity in existence and perhaps the only one to come out of antiquity that tries to depict Hanuman in a sleeping position as narrated in a tale within the epic Mahabharata, embedded in which is the mythical encounter that occurred between the Pandavas and the demigod at Pandupol, a place mentioned in the same epic and where now the modern day temple made of brick and mortar stand harboring the idol within.
Although there is no actual evidence to suggest as to the era in which the idol and the first temple was made or by whom, the rudimentary craftsmanship tends to suggest it was likely by a people who hadn’t as yet developed the skills or arrived at the uniform image in which the demigod came to be represented later – in which case the idol could indeed be a very early form of the deity.
History records the region to be the home of the Matsya – an ancient Vedic clan, who in all likelihood were well aware of the gateway like gap in the mountains mentioned as Pandupol in the epic when traveling through the area.
File Fact, Hanuman temple at Pandupol: A cenotaph inside the Pandupol temple within the Sariska Tiger Reserve narrates the story of how the temple came to be. See Farbound.Net Snippet: Who were the people who created the first Hanuman idol at Pandupol?