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Temples of Rajasthan-II; Salasar Balaji Temple

For the devotees of Lord Hanuman, Salasar Balaji Temple situated in the Churu district of Rajasthan is one of the most prominent places of worship. This is the only temple of Hanuman ji in India, which has a beard and mustache. The temple attracts a huge number of devotees, all around the year. The Salasar Balaji Mandir, also identified as Salasar Dham, remains especially crowded during the fairs organized by Chaitra Purnima and Ashvin Purnima. The number of people attending the fairs often goes past six to seven lakhs. What makes the temple even more significant is the fact that it is also considered a Swayambhu (self-created) and Shakti Sthal (shrine) by the devotees. Salasar Balaji Temple is also a part of the religious circuit, which involves other pilgrim centers of Jeen Mata temple, Rani Sati temple and Khatushyamji, all located close to the prior.


HISTORY

There are several theories associated to how the Salasar Balaji Temple came to be. A popular one about it dates back to one Saturday of Shravana Shukla, of Navami Samvat (1754 AD), when a Ginthala Jat farmer of Asota village in Nagaur unearthed a stone idol of Balaji while plowing his field. The news of this discovery soon spread throughout the town and reached the ears of the Thakur of Aosta. It is said that Lord Balaji appeared in Thakur’s dream, asking him to send forth the idol to Salasar in the Churu district. It was on the same night that Mohandas Maharaj, a Hanuman devotee in Salasar, dreamt of Balaji too. Mohandas sent forth a message to the Thakur of Asota, who was highly surprised to learn of all the tiny details that the prior had mentioned, without having visited Asota. The idol was then consecrated at a place that is now recognized as Salasar Dham. As per another version of the same story, the Thakur of Asota after having the dream, ordered for the statue to be moved to Salasar and placed within a temple. For shifting the idol, the Thakur purchased two bulls tied to a cart. It was decided that a temple would be built on the spot where these bulls would stop. Once the Salasar Balaji Temple was constructed, many traders and villagers moved to build their houses close to it, thus forming a village which is now recognized as Salasar.


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