Salasar Balaji Temple in Churu , Rajasthan
Salasar dham or Salasar Balaji is 25 K.M. from Sujangarh and 170 K.M. from Jaipur, world famous for its Hanuman Temple. Salasar Dham attracts innumerable of Indian worshipers throughout the year. Dedicated to Lord Balaji (Lord Hanuman), the temple is so popular that even on a day when temperatures cross 40 degrees, a steady stream of devotees gather here. Made completely out of silver, the temple is spread in a huge area. Beautiful inscriptions of ‘Shree Ram’ and intricate carvings of Shree Balaji beautify the silver walls inside the temple. The temple room was full of devotees who come from all over India to take the blessings. After taking the blessings, most of the devotees take a few moments out to recite the Hanuman Chalisa or other sacred texts. The temple witnesses lacs of devotees during the fairs on Chaitra Purnima and Ashwin Purnima as well as on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti. It is one of the biggest temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman in India.
One of the most remarkable features of this famous temple is that Akhand Hari Kirtan (continuous chanting of name of Lord Rama) has been going on in the temple premises for the last 20 years. Also, a number of devotees can be seen tying coconuts with moli (sacred red threads) in the temple premises which is believed to fulfill all their wishes, if done with sincere faith.
The temple area is electrifying almost everyday and experiences crowds beyond normal at festivals. The market is congested with the temple walls joint with other private properties of others. A double lane street runs all the way to the other side of entry passing from in front of the temple with private residence and shops on either side. These shops are mainly, hotels, Prasad and gifts and spices shops. The temple is built in around 3000-4000 square meter area (this is only a visual estimate) which is congested within to accommodate a large pilgrimage. Though the general construction of the Salasar Balaji Temple is done with regular bricks and cement and marble, however within the central area, more and more are, specially the walls and ceiling is getting covered up with embossed silver plates of Sri Hanuman figures.
Importance of Sri Salasar Balaji Temple
Salasar Balaji temple holds an important place in many ways.The Hanumanji’s idol present in this temple holds a unique form of Hanumaji with shave and moustache which cannot be seen elsewhere in the world. It is also believed that on the auspicious day of Purnima , all wishes are granted. People tie coconut on an ancient tree ,to get their wishes fulfilled.
Architecture of Sri Salasar Balaji Temple
The present temple built is considered as big, magnificent and splendid. The temple was constructed over a period of about 2 years while using bricks, stones, cement, lime mortar, and marble. While white marble stone has been extensively used throughout the construction of the temple, the entire circulatory path, the Sabha Mandap (prayer hall) and the Sanctum Sanctorum is covered with artistic works of Gold and Silver. The vestibule, the doors and the utensils used in worshiping are made of silver. The main gate is made up of carving works of white marble. The temple shrine and the sanctum sanctorum are decorated with floral patterns and other kinds of mosaic works done in Gold and Silver to give the temple a rich look. The idols placed were built of a high quality sculpture.
Administration of Sri Salasar Balaji Temple
While the worship of the deity is manged by the Brahmins priests from the Dadhich clan, the temple is managed and maintained by the trust Hanuman Sewa Samiti. They also look after the management of the fairs, social works, public and private facilities such as the maintenance of road, water supply, charitable hospitals, in the village. Over the years, there have been many Dharamshalas and restaurants constructed here to stay and eat comfortably.
On Saturday, Shravan Shukla-Navami Samvat 1811, a miracle happened. A farmer of village Asota in district Nagaur of Rajasthan was ploughing his field. Suddenly his plough hit some stony thing and produced a strange sound. On digging up the place, he found an idol which was covered with sand. Soon his wife reached there with his lunch and the farmer showed the idol to his wife. She cleaned the idol with her sari. On discovering that the idol was of none other but that of Lord Balaji (Lord Hanuman), they considered themselves blessed, bowed their heads with devotion and started worshipping the idol.
The news of the appearance of Lord Balaji spread like wild fire in Asota. The Thakur of the village heard the news too. He then had a vision in which Balaji ordered him to send the idol to Salasar in the Churu district. The same night, Lord Balaji came in the dream of Mohandasji Maharaj of Salasar (who was unaware of this incident), an ardent devotee of Lord Hanuman and told him about the idol found in Asota. Mohandasji immediately sent a message to the Thakur of Asota. The Thakur was amazed when he realized that Mohandasji knew the finer details of the event without even coming to Asota. He now understood that the entire episode, which was taking place, was nothing short of a miracle, undoubtedly happening as per the wishes of Lord Balaji. Soon after, the idol was sent to Salasar and sanctified at the place known as Salasar Dham today.
Festivals celebrated at Sri Salasar Balaji Temple
On the occasion of hanuman Jayanti ,and Ram Navami special arrangements are made for Bhajans and Kirtans. Especially on Tuesday and Saturday ,temple is echoed with bhajans throughout the day and huge crowd of devotees turns up to worship Hanumanji.From 20 years there has been going on an unbroken text of Ramayana ,and includes many living prophets.
Every Year during the sacred occasion of Chaitra Purnima and Ashwin Purnima a grand fair is organized.It is believed that all wishes are granted on this day for people who visits the temple , which is why Balaji is also known as Balaji of granting wishes.This is a very auspicious day ,and people from around the world visits the temple.
Timings of Temple
The temple is open to devotees from early morning 4:00 AM till 10:00 PM in the night. However, the temple is not closed at all on some special occasions such as Hanuman Jayanti, as the number of pilgrims visiting the place reaches millions on one single day. The aim of the temple is to propagate the devotion of Lord Hanuman and thereby the devotion of Lord Rama. Thousands of visitors choose to come on feet, while some on prostrated movement showing their intensity of devotion for Lord Balaji.
Rituals followed at Salasar Balaji Temple
Coconut tying –
Of many rituals and traditions performed at the temple, the most widely followed is the tying of coconuts with moli (sacred red threads) in the temple premises by a large number of devotees. It is widely believed that such practice helps them to fulfill their wishes, if done with sincere faith. The practice was originated by the Jagirdar of Sikar, Rao Raja Devi Singh. Devi Singh did not have a son. He heard about Lord Balaji and came to this place and tied a coconut on a tree to fulfill his wish of having a son. He was later blessed with a handicapped son Rao Raja Laxman Singh after ten months. Thus the custom of tying coconuts to fulfill wishes continues at the temple from that time on wards
The other widely followed practice is the offering of food (weighing up to 50 kgs) by the devotees to their deity, referred to as Savamani. The term “Savamani” is derived from the word “Sava” meaning one and a quarter in Hindi and the word “Mun” or “Maund”, a mass unit weighing about 40 kgs; thus adding the total up to 50 kgs. Though the food is mostly prepared by the cooks of the temple kitchens, the process is now being outsourced to several independent shopkeepers & food-caterers due to the increasing number of offerings everyday. Several delicacies like Dal, Baati, Churma, Boondi, Peda & Laddu is chosen for Savamani. The food after first being offered to the deity, is later used as part of family celebrations, distributed over to family and relatives or donated to the needy.
Places of Interest
Raghunathji Mandir –
also known as Bara Mandir, is located in the vicinity of the Ratangarh town. Dedicated to Lord Raghunath or Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the temple is believed to be constructed in 1812.
Dhunia of Mohandas ji –
The holy fire lit by great devtoee Mohandas ji is still burning. The devotees take holy ashes from here. It’s the Balaji temple.
Sri Mohan Mandir –
Near Balaji temple. The foot print of Mohandasji and Kanidadi is here. This is Samadhi Sthal of both holy devotees. The continuous Ramayan reading is running for eight years.
Akhand Hari Kirtan –
In the temple premises of Lord Balaji. Akhand Hari Kirtan (Chanting of the name of Rama) is continuing for 20 years.
Anjani Mata Temple –
Anjani Mata was mother of Lord Hanuman of Balaji. Her holy temple is situated two kilometers away from Salasar Dham toward Luxmangarh Road.
Two Bullock cart –
Two Bullock Carts of the age of mohan das ji are placed here in Balaji Mandir premises.
Gudavadi Shyam Temple –
This temple is one kilometer away from Salasar Balaji Temple.
Shayanan Mata Mandir –
which is situated about 15 km from here on a unique hillock in the desert area is supposed to be about 1100 years old and is worth visiting too.
Digambar Jain Bara Temple –
is a renowned tourist attraction of Ladnun. This temple is famous for beautiful idols of Jain tirthankaras, engraved pillars, a rare collection of art and ancient Jain manuscripts. According to the inscription found on one of the doors of the temple, it was constructed on Ashad Sukla 8, in the year 1136.
Getting there and around
By Air –
The closest airport to Salasar Balaji is Jaipur which is 170 Kms. The other option again is Delhi which is most favourable for international pilgrims/ tourists and then hire a taxi or otherwise to follow the NH8 route. Delhi airport is very close to the Gurgaon Toll which is mentioned in the routes above(around 10-12 km/ 10-15 minutes of clear and great road).
By Rail –
There are 4 different railway stations on the 4 sides of Salasar Dham connected with roads coming from Ratangarh which is 45 kms, Sujangarh(27kms),Lakshmangarh(30km) and sikar(54Km) from Salasar Dham. You can suite for a train to these stations and thereafter there is a decent bus service for you to take you to the Salasar Dham.
By Road –
Churu is well connected by regular bus services to other cities of the state. Many Rajasthan State Public Transport buses ply frequently between churu and Jaipur (170 km). Private bus services can be availed to reach Churu from Delhi which is at a distance of 270 km. Salasar is well connected by Roadways & Railways to many major Indian cities like New Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Hissar & Sirsa.
There are 50-60 dharmshalas in Salasar-Balaji Dham. Most of there run by trusts. Some independent dhamshalas are also there. Lot of hotels and guest houses are available for stay in Salasar.
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