The Hanuman Temple is an ancient Hindu temple that lies amidst a crowded area on Baba Kharak Singh Marg formerly known as the Old Irwin Road in Connaught Place in the heart of New Delhi and can be accessed via local transport and from Rajiv Chowk Metro Station. It is believed to house an ancient Idol of Lord Hanuman that had self manifested centuries ago. The main Idol worshipped here is Bala Hanuman [the child form of Lord Hanuman] and is known and called by all devotees as Shri Hanuman Ji Maharaj.
History has that during the Mahabharata period the Pandavas had constructed and ruled over their first city of Delhi named Indraprastha on the banks of the Yamuna River while the Kauravas ruled over Hastinapur. Over a game, the Pandavas lost their Kingdom to the Kauravas and were sent on exile for 13 years. It was during this exile period that legend tells a tale of Bhima, who was the second of the five Pandav brothers.
Lord Hanuman, who was considered to be the brother of Bhima as both were Children of Vayu, wanted to teach Bhima a lesson and curb his arrogance and hence one day when Bhima was seeking for a fragrant flower for Draupadi in a dense forest, Hanuman transformed himself into an old and aged monkey and with his tail blocked the path of Bhima.
Bhima lost his anger and ordered the monkey to remove the tail from his way; however, being old, the monkey requested Bhima to do it for him as it was too heavy. Bhima tried several times and with all his might to lift the tail but failed miserably and then gradually realised that this monkey could only be his brother. Upon realisation, Bhima apologised and requested his brother to transform into his true form and obliged his brother by transforming himself into a massive figure of Hanuman.
Many believe that after the Pandavas won over the Kauravas in the Epic Battle of Kurukshetra and re-claimed their Throne and Kingdom in Indraprastha, they constructed five Temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman and related Deities which are believed to be the Kalkaji Temple in South Delhi, the Yogmaya Temple near Qutb Minar, the Bhairav Temple near the Old Fort in Old Delhi and the Neeli Chattri Mahadev Temple situated at Nigambodh Ghat on the outskirts of Old Delhi. However, a known fact is that the Hanuman Temple was initially constructed by Maharaja Man Singh I of Amber who ruled Jaipur between 1540 AD and 1614 AD under the Mughal reign of Emperor Akbar [1542-1605]. This Temple was then renovated in 1724 AD by Maharaja Jai Singh who ruled between 1688 AD and 1743 AD. Later, the temple underwent numerous additions and renovations and became a prominent religious centre in the heart of Delhi.
The Hanuman Mandir was once graced by the presence of Tulsidas [1532-1623], a legendary poet who penned the famous 'Ramacharitamanas' and 'Hanuman Chalisa' hymns in honour of Lord Hanuman. It was during his stay in Delhi, when Tulsidas was summoned to the Courts of the Mughal Emperor and was asked to perform a miracle which he was able to do with the help and blessings of Lord Hanuman. As a token of appreciation and delight, the Mughal Emperor presented Tulsidas with a Crescent moon-shaped structure, a symbolic structure of Islam which is noticeable even today on a Spire in the Hanuman Temple. This Symbol protected the Temple during the several Mughal Invasions post this incident.
The Hanuman Temple stands at a height of 108 feet from the ground level and is beautifully decorated with marble steps, doors made with silver overlay engraved with scenes depicting the Ramayan epic and the main ceiling above the 'Mandap' or 'Hall' is also seen with paintings of the Ramayan era. The Idol of Lord Hanuman is graced with the images of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman along with images of Radha and Lord Krishna.
The Hanuman Temple was recently enhanced by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation [NDMC] who incorporated a shrine to Lord Shiva, Parvathi, Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthik and adjoining the main hall is an area that holds the Idols of Goddess Durga, Lord Ganesha and Lakshmi Narayan while the southern portion houses the Idol of Goddess Santoshi Mata [A Goddess that fulfils your wishes]. Since 1st August 1964, a unique 24-hour chanting of the hymn 'Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram' has won this temple a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for continuous chanting.
The Head Priest of the Hanuman Temple gifted American President, Barak Obama with a gold plated statue of Lord Hanuman weighing 15 kgs. after he learnt that the President had lucky charms of 'Madonna and Child' and a tiny idol of Hanuman that he carried with him throughout the presidential election campaigns in United States. The Temple organised a small ceremony in June 2008 and presented the Statue to President Obama through Carolene Saurce, a representative of the Democratic Party of the United States of America.
Visitors and Devotees can visit the Hanuman Temple on any day, especially every Tuesday and Saturday which is considered as special and auspicious days of Lord Hanuman when the temple is packed with large number of devotees who visit to seek the blessings of Lord Hanuman. During the festival of 'Hanuman Jayanti' [Birthday of Lord Hanuman] held every year during full moon or 'Purnima' day of the Chaitra month that falls between the months of March and April, the temple is adorned with beautiful decorations and organises grand celebrations and Colourful religious processions where one will notice devotees dressed up with a Hanuman mask, tail and carrying a club and an idol of Lord Hanuman on their shoulders and chanting religious hymns.