Mahendra Hills must have been a hill at some point in time in the true sense of the word – hill. Today it is a highly populated locality that lives on the inclines of the hill. You realize it is a hill only when your lungs or the engine of the vehicle you are in indicate the incline you have to negotiate. Once you reach the top of this hill you get a bird’s eye view of Secunderabad.
My first thought after the view was, Oh, is the city so dense and crowded? Looked around and discovered two temples on top of the hill one belonging to the Buddhists and the other to Mata Amtritanandmayi.
Birds Eye views from Mahendra Hills
Ananda Buddha Vihar
The Ananda Buddha Vihar is a temple almost at the highest point of the hill. Surrounded by gardens and a man-made pool with a Buddha statue standing in between and another meditating in front of it, this place looks serene. You have to climb the stairs to reach the main entrance of the temple which has beautifully carved wooden doors. Inside the hall is a huge hall with tall glass windows that gives a view of the city around.
On the altar sits an idol of Buddha in Golden color with the corridor leading you to it in the Chaitya shape. Below this hall is a meditation hall that is open only to those who want to do meditation in solitude. A group of Bhikshus lives here in the residential quarters and runs this place. I found most of them in Bengal and around. They run a small shop that sells Buddhist literature. And would be happy to tell you about Buddhism and its tenets. There was an attempt to take me into the fold, but after a little effort, they let it go.
Mata Amritananmayi’s Math
Close to Ananda Buddha Vihar is Mata Amritananmayi’s Math. I am no follower of any of these new-age Swamis. But I don’t mind visiting the beautiful temples they build. This math has a small Shiva temple on top of another peak on the hill. I love visiting this temple built in a typical Kerala style, the home state of the founder. Huge brass lampstands in front of the temple and idols in black adorn the off-white walls.
The main idol has a front face of a Devi and at the back is Shiva’s face. The other two sides have Ganesh and Karthik’s faces. A board at the temple tells us that this is a representation of Kundalini Shakti at the Mooladhara Chakra within our body. There is a school surrounding the temple. Here again, a bigger attempt was made to convert me to a devotee of the commune. But the Swami Ji who was trying to convert me could never explain to me why I should join in. Except saying Amma is something different and everyone should devote their life at her feet.
Well, I think all of us have the same Jiva and hence the same potential inside us. There is no need to seek salvation at someone else’s feet. I would be willing to take knowledge and guidance from those who can provide it. But blind devotion is not my cup of tea.
Roaming around the hill you can see some big bungalows, some small shops, and zig-zag roads and streets. It looks like a locality in a hill station rather than a part of the Deccan. To me, these were surprising discoveries for a first-time visit. But the next two times I could take people around the place and show them around. If someone knows Secunderabad well, it would be interesting to go there. And guess some prominent buildings from the top.
Take a leisurely walk on this hill on a weekend maybe.