After taking leave of Sita, Hanuman climbed on top of the Arishta mountain and jumped across the ocean to return to India. This mountain is in the Ramboda area about an hour drive north of Nuwara Eliya en route Kandy.
“That heroic monkey, the destroyer of enemies, went on top of a huge mountain called Arishta… Then he leapt across the ocean traveling from south to north” [Valmiki Ramayanam. Sundara kandam. Chapter 56.9, 25]
“That mountain was full of Padma trees with green foliage…the loud sounds of the mountain waters … the tall trees rising on it…the moving dark clouds of autumn…its line of innumerable foothills…its many scattered peaks…numerous species of trees…[Extracts from the description of the Arishta mountain from Valmiki Ramayanam, Sundara Kandam, Chpater 56, 10-21]
The Ramboda hill range reminded me of this description of the Arishta hill from Valmiki Ramayanam.
Ramboda is truly a place of idyllic beauty
Sri Bhakta Hanuman temple has been very appropriately built in Ramboda by the Chinmaya Mission of Sri Lanka to mark the fact that Hanuman was here.
A commanding idol of Hanuman shining in the true humility of courage, bravery, commitment, perseverance, dedication, devotion and surrender beckoned me from inside the temple. As I went inside, an elaborate worship per scriptural injunctions was underway. Vedic mantras uttered to perfect pronunciation welcomed me, filling me and the environment with thrilling sacred vibrations. The physical beauty of the mountain range outside the temple blended effortlessly with the devotional beauty of the Hanuman inside temple. It was an experience of sacredness.
Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple, Ramboda
The temple is an important place to visit…if you can put it on your itinerary.
I also heard from the local people in another part of Sri Lanka that Hanuman who grew to a gigantic size in preparation for the leap across the ocean, had one foot in Ramboda and the other in Kurunegela area. He then leapt to Triconmalee area before jumping across the ocean [roughly as shown below]
Did Hanuman jump across the ocean directly from Ramboda and Kurunegala while returning from Lanka? Or did he go to Triconmalee as the local legend has it?
Valmiki Ramayanam does mention Hanuman grew in size to gigantic proportion in preparation for the leap. It is quite possible he stood on the mountain covering the distance between today’s Kurunegala and Ramboda. This distance is about 60 miles. Valmiki does say the mountain range had a width of ten yojanas [Sundara Kandam 56.33] or about 80 miles!
Valmiki Ramayanam mentions Hanuman jumped from south to north. I suspect he would have returned directly in the shortest distance possible in view of the urgency of the message he was carrying. He in all likelihood did not make a detour and go to Triconmalee on the way back.
This is all assuming the land masses of Indian and Sri Lanka were not much different a million years ago than they are today. This is a big IF and is not a good assumption.
This intellectual quest not withstanding, the heart does speak at Ramboda. It speaks the language of faith. I had a sense of awe that I was standing on the land that bear the footmarks of a devotee extraordinaire.
Ramboda took me back a million years in a trice.
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