Lord Hanuman was allegedly born in the Anjan village of the Gumla district of Jharkhand, according to a widely held belief among both tribal and non-tribal people in this region. Today Ram Navami is commemorative of the birth of Lord Rama.

14 kilometers off the Gumla–Lohardaga road, the settlement of Anjan in the Palkot block of the Gumla district is surrounded by lush forests and hills. It was formerly recognized as a safe haven for ultra-leftist insurgent groups. Even during the day, the local police did not dare to enter the area, let alone strangers.

The “fact” that Lord Hanuman was born in the Anjan hamlet in the Gumla area was allegedly “found” by a youngster named Munda ‘charwaha’ (shepherd). William Saheb, a British ‘Tehsildar’ (tax collector), aided in the construction of the temple, while the then duke or zamindar of Ratu Estate contributed land, money, and other required aids, according to folklore.

Jharkhand's Lord Hanuman and the Local Folklore of the Tribes 2023 2

The temple’s Shivlings lend credence to legends.

Now that Naxalism is on the decline, hundreds of devotees from distant regions visit this shrine every day to have their wishes granted. The Baiga or Munda Pahan (priest) assists them in carrying out the ceremonies. Throughout the last few decades, the Munda and Oraon tribes have ensured the proper handling of temple matters in the region surrounding the temple.

Jharkhand's Lord Hanuman and the Local Folklore of the Tribes 2023 3

“When grazing cattle, a Lohra (Scheduled Tribe) child sat near a rock that hid what seemed to be a little cave and played his flute after eating and sleeping. “Suddenly, he observed a serpent-like monster emerging from the cave, which quickly transformed into a monkey,” author Santosh Kido tells The Indian Tribal, recounting one of the classic myths.

The terrified child fled and alerted the locals. When the people pronounced William as Billiam, the name “Billiam Saheb” quickly spread. While the British officer failed to accept the story, he still headed to the scene for an investigation and discovered nothing out of the ordinary.

When he returned to his residence, his keys were gone. William returned to the location in search of his keys. While he hurriedly looked for his keys, he watched the identical event that the Lohra youngster had described. William hurried and returned home out of extreme fear. When arriving at his residence, he discovered that the keys were in his pocket. The transformed serpent was mistaken for Hanuman.

Shivling near Cave Temple. The area has 360 shivlings and tiny ponds.

Another story holds that Anjana Devi, the mother of Lord Hanuman, dwelt in the 1500-foot cave that was well concealed on all sides. Only Pawan Dev (Vayu Devta), the father of Lord Hanuman, could enter. The Shivalingas and pond-like features found on the property add credibility to the legend that Lord Shiva whispered sermons into her ears as she sat outside the cave.

While the name Anjan Dham is claimed to have been derived from Anjana Devi, this is the only temple of its like where Lord Hanuman can be seen sitting on his mother Anjana Devi’s lap.

Hence continue the tales of Lord Hanuman’s relationships with the Jharkhandi tribes.