Seetha Eliya area, near Nuwara Eliya, Central region, Sri Lanka
Seetha Eliya, less than an hour drive from Nuwara Eliya in the central region of Sri Lanka, is an extremely sacred place. This is where Hanuman had the blessing of Sita Devi. Sita had been kidnapped and separated from her husband, imprisoned, mentally and verbally tortured in the hands of Ravana and his demonesses. Hanuman brought succor and solace to Sita in this place by narrating Rama’s story and conveying to her the news that Rama was safe. This is the place Sita took Hanuman into confidence, instructed him on the message to be conveyed back to Rama and handed him her crest-jewel [choodaamani] to be given to Rama.
When art speaks… Sculpture at the Seetha Amman temple, Seetha Eliya
Seetha Eliya has been sanctified by the essence of the unflinching devotion and surrender to the Almighty that Sita illustrated even in the face of extreme adversities.
I was quite moved as I stood at this holy place, recollecting what had happened here a million years ago.
Hanuman, the humble hero extraordinaire – Seetha Amman Temple.
Hanuman had not seen Sita before. While searching for her, he saw a forlorn and frail lady sitting under an Ashoka tree in front of him. She shone with the magnificent luster of unapproachable and exemplary beauty. He deduced with some brilliant reasoning that this must be the Sita Devi he has been searching for.
The mind of this Devi is dwelling in Rama and his in her. It is for this reason alone that they both are able to live even for a moment [Valmiki Ramayanam. Sundara Kandam. Chapter 15. 51-52]
A life-like depiction . Behind the Seetha Amman Temple
Seeing the distraught condition of Sita, Hanuman decided to comfort her by narrating the sweet story of Rama
That noble monkey began to narrate sweetly the story of Rama in an easily audible manner to Sita [Valmiki Ramayanam. Sundara Kandam. Chapter 31. 1]
Hanuman then brought succor and solace to her by giving her the ring from Rama.
Sita, seeing her husband’s finger ring, looked at it carefully and felt joy as if she had seen her husband himself [Valmiki Ramayanam. Sundara bKandam. Chapter 36. 5]
A painting on the temple wall
Sita handed over her crest-jewel to Hanuman to be given to Rama as a proof that he has indeed met her
Sita untied from her cloth the precious crest-jewel (choodaamani) called Jatavalli and handed it over to Hanuman saying, “Please give this to Rama” [Valmiki Ramayanam. Sundara Kandam. Chapter 38. 69]
Sita then gave Hanuman the following message to be conveyed to Rama.
“O destroyer of enemies! I shall keep up my life for one month more. After that time, I shall not be alive separated from you” [Valmiki Ramayanam. Sundara Kandam. Chapter 40.12]
The 40-year old Seetha Amman Temple stands today in this place where the enchanting conversation between Sita and Hanuman once took place. There is no Ashoka Vanam now but there is an Ashoka tree.
There is a small stream called the Sita River that flows briskly by the temple. You can see Hanuman’s foot prints on the rock near the temple even today. Some foot prints are gigantic and some others are small indicating the different sizes Hanuman donned when he was here.
The temple is a compact beauty constructed in a blend of orange and gold. Attractive and abundant sculptures galore, benignly calling your attention from every direction.
In this holy place, another memorable incident took place.
Sita told Hanuman that the passage of time was uncertain and unclear to her amidst her sufferings. She did not know what day it was when he brought the news of Rama to her. Since such an auspicious thing took place on this day when she heard that her husband was safe, she said the day would henceforth be called the “auspicious day” or “mangalvar“[mangalam – auspiciousness. var -day]. This is Tuesday in today’s parlance. Even today, Tuesdays are special days of worship for Hanuman. This was the day he was blessed with the darsan and sambhashan – the vision and conversation – of Sita Devi.
As I left Seetha Eliya most reluctantly, pulled by travel schedule constraints, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be able to return to this place again.
Please see related posts:
December 31 2016. Ramayana in Lanka
January 2 2017. Ramayana in Lanka: Hanuman lands in Lanka
January 7 2017. Ramayana in Lanka. The Fire Test. Agni Pareekshai.
January 8 2017. Ramayana in Lanka. When Indrajit became almost invincible
January 15 2017. Ramayana in Lanka. Hanuman takes a leap from Lanka
February 17 2017. Ramayana in Lanka. Vibhishana’s coronation