I went to a beautiful quaint little hillock on the outskirts of Hyderabad city recently. The place had a very deep and sensual aura to it, and as usual I was not expecting anything much for it was a religious place for hindus.
Its named keesargutta, gutta in Telugu mostly translates into a hillock, and keesar is another name for hanuman. The legend goes that; after the avatara for good (or something) Rama goes and kills his counterpart Ravana in Lanka, he feels that he has to atone for the sin/karma of killing a learned person (brahamana or whatever!). So he comes to near Hyderabad (actually he settles in the holy jyoti-linga at SriSailam- which is some 100 odd km from hyderabad), and he asks his devotee and friend the monkey god hanuman to go and get him some 101/108 shiva lingas, so he may worship them and atone for his “sin”
Hanuman sets forth and for some weird reason, he is not able to get the shiva-lingas in time and when he returns, he sees that rama has already begun his worship on some other lingas (probably present at SriSailam) on his own. This infuriates hanuman, and he throws these holy-phallus’ away, they land here at keesar gutta.
The temple is ancient, and its blended perfectly between the even more older hillocks around. There are tons of shiva-lingas; all of them which are well built and probably quite pristine and old strewn around this hillock. Some of them are still worshipped by people who come to see the power place, while many are in neglect, because they remain further away inaccessible due to being shrouded by bushes and more recently human plastic garbage *what a blasphemy*
I could see the main shiva linga at the temple and it seemed that many a generation had done worship on it. There was a certain serenity which i could find, and in fact that is the only gyroscope which I use when ‘seeing’ any supposed religious or power place. I landed up on diwali morning and was expecting a huge rush but to my pleasant surprise; there were very few people... perhaps most were enjoying the much deserved holiday in the middle of the week and also because through time I have personally seen, that almost all shiva temples remain barren marring a few important shiva festivals held every year (like shiva ratri and such).
There is a huge hanuman idol as well, which to my best guess was very recently made, but seeing the monkey god is always a heart’s joy; in whichever form and disguise. And needless to say, the entire hill is plagued by this generations hanuman- the Indian recess monkeys, always on the prowl to scare some poor housewife or kid to steal the prasad or even their personal belonging which could be returned in exchange for food.
The fact that surprised me through my visit was that there were such beautiful sights just on the outskirts of hyderabad, and without the normal tourist distractions, the hillock and the adjoining areas reminded me of hampi.. this region has similar landscape to the neighbouring state north karnatakas landscape. rocky and barren and generally very very dry and hot throughout the year.
There are certain other places which one can see near keesar gutta, there is a small temple dedicated to the lord hanuman in the form of Panchmukhi- 5 faced hanuman, which is considered extremely powerful and auspicious to remove any troubles faced especially through supernatural entities. There is some sort of museum adjoining to this area, which has been recently built.. which has a steep entry of some Rs 250/- but one can go in to see some 300 odd main temples of india rebuilt in similar fashion with their history written as well. Of course I did not visit this museum temple zone, mostly because I have travelled to most of the shrines which were probably remade in this museum and i do not like to visit places to see something man-made, I get intense kick of seeing places where man has made some sort of tribute to nature or to power in general.
There is also an old boingir fort nearby keesargutta, I saw the place though I could not climb to marvel its view (its located again on top of another hillock) for want of time, and its a difficult trek up, as the locals informed me later, and I am sure it would be fun for any nature enthusiast to see a ruin atop a hill.
I also had the time (not on the same day though), to visit another religious shrine on a hillock near hyderabad recently, that is called yada-giri-gutta. The place too is steeped in religious fervor and this time for one of the avatars of lord vishnu- the Narasimha/Man-lion.
Narsimha here has come forth in five avatars, mainly and of the avatars is again taken and kept under the cave area by lord hanuman. It seems hanuman has spent quite some time in this region in fervor for his lord.
Narsimha here comes forth in svaymbhu form. He has come forth from a rock which looks exactly like his beautiful ferocious face and body (this was found which was originally a part of the cave on top of this hillock).
He is supposedly the god of physicians and the reliever of all ailments, and many people come here to get cure from their chronic diseases, they stay here for months on end till a cure is achieved at the hand of the loving man-lion form of the divine narayana.
Here too I was expecting the usual temple crowd; the millions of people with no cure in sight coming to experience power and the transformation that might take place.
But I found the entire temple empty, devoid of the stinking flesh and the hope (lessness) it carries. There was a beautiful serenity; a glimpse of true inner peace. The deity was beautiful, a part of the mountain present inside a secluded cave enclosure. The temple priest was exceptional, he had an aura which most of his counterparts do not possess in this day and age irrespective of the god or religion they preach for. The priest explained in simple terms the lord and his forms/rupas/bhavas here. Here is he is fire/agniand the anger/ugra, the consort and union/lakshmi narsimha and divine/yogananda as well as gandabherunda (this is the one which hanuman is said to have installed).
The view from the hillock is amazing; there is a certainty of peace here for sure. Not because of some extended religious fervor but plainly because of the power this place possesses. People still boast that there are lots of saints meditating on hills close by. On the beauty of the lord!
I strongly recommend people visiting these small hillocks on the outskirts of Hyderabad whenever they get the time. Religion or faith is not the question here, the true question is only whether we can withstand the power of peace.