Hanuman and Maharashtra

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Sun Dec 7 12:54:10 UTC 1997

        At the village level in Maharashtra, the most popular divinities
are Hanuman, Ganesha and Devi.  Consider even a city like Pune, which has
literally hundreds of small temples of Hanuman.
        Tradition believes that it was Ramadasa, Shivaji's guru who
promoted the setting up of Hanuman temples, but there may be prior history
to these temples.  Shivaji himself is, again by the tradition, more
closely associated with the goddess Bhavani.  Evidently his own sword was
named after Bhavani.
        I suspect that there are deeper historical connections between
Karnataka and Maharashtra, and the popularity of Hanuman in both of these
regions probably is one of those connections.  Of course, there are large
Madhva followers especially in southern Maharashtra.  Not only Hanuman
appears as a common first name, besides Maruti, Marut Rao etc., it also
shows up in some Marathi last names, i.e. HaNmante.
                                Madhav Deshpande

On Sat, 6 Dec 1997, S Krishna wrote:

>   I find that the first name hanuman ( or it's equivalent Maruti) being
> very prevalent in Maharashtra and Karnataka...I believe it's prevalence
> in Karnataka can be explained by the influence of the Madhva tradition
> here( which declares Madhva and Hanuman to be co-incarnations) a theme
> which in turn(AFAIK) was harped on in the dasakUTa but can anybody give
> me the reason for it's being so popular in Maharashtra? I remember
> reading that Ramdas, the guru of Shivaji
> ( i.e. the Chattrapati) was a worshipper of Hanuman but did Shivaji have
> anything to do with his being a popular diety in Maharashtra?
> ( or for that matter, is Hanuman a popular deity in Maharashtra?)
>  Is there any special cult/group in Maharashtra that has hanuman as one
> of the chief dieties? Any hints, references, pointers would be
> gratefully appreciated...
> REgards,
> Krishna
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