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On a Hanuman temple trail

Text and photographs: Manish and Vidisha Gupta

Hanuman who helped Lord Rama in winning the fight against Ravana in Lanka in the epic Ramayana, and is worshiped to be fearless has numerous temples all over India. Here we share our visit to four Hanuman temples and the legend associated with these sacred sites.

Hanuman Tok, Gangtok

Tucked away at an altitude of over 7000 feet, 11 km from Gangtok, driving past a tortuous road offering breathtaking views, is Hanuman Tok (Tok means hill). Soon after you enter the temple premises, a big statue of Hanumanji greets you. You will also find the Hanuman aarti written on a wall stone.

We visited this place in early February. Climbing up the icy-cool cemented stairs to the main temple, we wished we didn't have to take our shoes off before entering the main area.

Unlike any temple that we have seen so far, this temple is maintained by the Indian Army. So, instead of seeing a dhoti-clad pujari (priest) in the temple, expect a man in uniform to smear vermillion on your forehead and offer you the sugary prasaad. Needless to say, the system helps in keeping the temple very clean and quite. Another good thing is that the temple is not surrounded by small shops which would have otherwise camouflaged the temple with their commercial existence.

Take a walk around the temple to soak in the misty views of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world. Near the temple is Lukshyama, the royal cremation grounds of the erstwhile royal family of Sikkim.

Text and photographs: Manish and Vidisha Gupta

Also see: Faith in the time of strife
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