Karachi, Apr 19 : Centuries-old Hanuman temple - Shri Punch Mukhi Hanuman Mandir - in Karachi is all set for a renovation, a move which the locals say was due for past several years. However, the money for the purpose would not come from the Pakistan government, but in the form of contributions from small middle and lower income Hindu community in the city.
Located in Soldier Bazar, the aesthetically designed temple is a heritage landmark of Karachi, where the statue of Lord "Punch Mukhi" Hanuman appears naturally in a stone surface. This statue is believed to be much older, claim worshippers.
A member of the temple committee said that work on the temple is expected to start soon. "Over the past few years the number of devotees has increased so we need to expand the temple. Moreover, the structure of the temple is now becoming weaker so the present Maharaj (Priest), Shri Ram Nath, decided to take the initiative," The News quoted Pawan Kumar Perchani as saying.
A few years back, only the renovation of the dome cost the community Rs1.8 million. It is expected that the community will have to raise much more money this time.
"We don't receive enough donations. Most of money we collect everyday is utilized for the day-to-day upkeep of the temple. We hope the Pakistan Hindu Council, formed recently, is able to raise funds now," said a caretaker at the temple.
The temple is of special significance to the Hindu community as it is one of a kind in the world where the statue of Lord Punch Mukhi Hanuman appears naturally. Devotees say that that Lord Ram visited the sacred place as well. "The murti (statue) first appeared in 1882 (according to the Hindu lunar calendar). This entire land was surrounded by water back then," said temple priest Shri Ram Nath Maharaj.
According to the paper, one can see the huge stone statue of Lord Punch Mukhi Hanuman in its natural form to date in the main temple along with another statue of Hanuman in a separate area of the temple. Unlike some temples in the city that have fallen victim to vandalism, the priests at this temple have managed to preserve it well.
Citing the historic significance of the temple from the Hindu epic Ramayana, Shri Ram Nath said that according to Hindu belief Lord Hanuman evolved a syncretic form with five heads and ten arms to combat the powerful evil forces of Ahi and Mahi Ravan (devils) and rescue Lord Ram and Lord Laxman from their clutches. "During the Ramayana war, Lord Ram and Laxman were held captive and the only way to kill them was by extinguishing five lamps burning in different directions at the same time so Lord Hanuman took this form to accomplish his task," the Maharaj said.