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Posts Tagged ‘Heritage’

Some places appeal so much to your heart that you get an intense desire to visit them, Khidrapur is one of such places. I came to know about this place some half an year ago and was keen to visit. Each hectic visit to Kolhapur somehow didn’t allow me to do so and this fact made the desire stronger and deep. Finally my latest trip to Kolhapur was fruitful. My sis took out time from her busy schedule and made it so.

We headed for Khidrapur in the morning. We took up road to ‘Narsobachi wadi’. It was pleasant drive through lush green fields of sugar-cane. It rained very heavily which added to the atmosphere. I found some birds like Shrikes, Brahminy Kites and Black-shouldered Kite on the way.

To reach Khidrapur (from Kolhapur):

  1. Take Kolhapur-Miraj Highway.
  2. Cross small villages like Dharma-nagar, Chipri, Shahu Nagar, and Shirol to reach Narsobachi wadi.
  3. From Narsobachi wadi, take road of Kurundwad and then via Sainik Takli reach Khidrapur village.
  4. Ask for ‘Kopeshwar Temple’.
  5. Approx distance is 60-65 Kms.

We reached Khidrapur. It is very small village with farming as primary occupation.

Kopeshwar TempleAs I parked my car, I got few early glimpses from road. This magnificent temple belongs to Lord Shiva, and named as ‘Kopeshwar’. I crossed the old stone entrance which brought us to temple vicinity. Kopeshwar reminded me of wonderful architectural carvings temples of Halebidu and Bellur. It is believed that Kopeshwar temple was built by three generations of kings, the Shilahar kings Gandaraditya, Vijayaditya and Bhoj-2 between 1109 and 1178 AD. There are Devanagri writings in the temple to support this. It’s also one of the few temples where both the Shaivas and Vaishnavas, who are arch rivals, come together in worship.

The mythological story behind the name ‘Kopeshwar’ is – Devi Sati (daughter of King Daksha) was married to lord Shiva. Daksha didn’t like in son-in-law at all. He was about to perform some yagna (hindu ritual performed along with holy fire) and he didn’t invite Sati & Shiva. Devi Sati felt sad and went to meet her father asking the reason behind not inviting her husband. In turn, King Daksha insulted Shiva and it was unbearable for Sati to tolerate her husband’s insult. She jumped in the yajna. Hearing this news, Shiva was furious and he punished Daksha by cutting his head. Later on, due to request of other deities, Shiva took back the curse and granted him life with goat’s head. It is believed that angry Shiva was brought to this place (temple) to cool his anger. Hence the temple got its name i.e. ‘Kop’ means anger and ‘Eshwar’ means lord Shiva.

Swarg MandapTemple stand firm with all its glory of stone carvings of 95 elephants and 108 pillars and hundreds of sculptures depicting scenes about from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Shiva, the twelve astrological signs and flowers, trees, birds, human figures. As you step into the beautiful Swarga Mandap, you can actually feel the coolness. There are 12 superbly carved pillars which support the stone ceiling that is open to the skies. There is a beautiful round black stone slab at the centre which is called the ‘rangshila’. It is an amazing experience to sit on the centre of the stone round open ‘akaash gavaksh’ on the ceiling and look towards the dark inner sanctum of the grabha griha with its beautiful Shiva linga. It is said that all ‘adhyaaya‘ (parts) of ‘Shivlilamrut‘ are carved on the walls of the temple.

Next comes Sabhamandap, Antaral-kaksha and Garbhagriha. The Garbhagriha is more cold and dark. The shiva linga, burning lamps make the atmosphere peaceful and divine.

I was surprised to know that there was no nandi in the temple in spite of the fact that it is Shiva mandir. This is probably one of the unique things about this place. Another unsual thing here is sanctum has lord Vishnu first and then the Shiva linga to protect it. Each visitor first sees lord Vishnu and then Shiva.

It is sad that most of the sculptures are badly damaged by Islamic invaders in the later centuries. There is a story that one of Aurangzeb’s descendants strayed when wandering around on her own and came across this temple. She loved the place so much that she refused to leave the temple complex and go with her attendants. The Mughal Emperor came personally to fetch her. She agreed to leave on the only condition that he will not harm the temple and damage its beauty and so the temple remained untouched from the otherwise merciless Aurangzeb.
 
Khyder Khan, a later invader supposedly mutilated the carvings on the temple and cut almost all the elephants’ trunks. There are no exact historical evidences of ‘who destroyed what’ but it is very painful to see such beauty ruined. Unfortunately, the village of Wadi-Kopeshwar later came to be known as Khidrapur after this cruel invader.

Kopeshwar temple gave me much more than I expected. It gave me peace, joy and an opportunity to appreciate my homeland. Once again I felt proud to be an Indian and lucky that I can see all this. I clicked some snaps. It is really sad that such wonders are still unknown to the tourists. Saddest part is there are no milestones or sign boards about Khidrapur. We had to wait and inquire at several places. Also there is no much information available on internet.

This ancient architectural splendor should be made popular so that more and more people of similar interests can come and visit here. Such place needs to be maintained and conserved.

I decided to take another way while returning just for sake of finding new route and took road to ‘Ichalkaranji’. A fox gave us generous visit on the way and disappeared in sugarcane fields. It rained very heavily and many huge trees were uprooted on the way. I took a bypass through small village. It was messed up too. I could see a huge line of cars in jam for about 2 Kms at least. Paul, our lab doesn’t like it, if the car stops and in few minutes his barking attracted all the kids of the village. Kids gathered around our car and tried to get his glimpses through sun control filmed windows. Whole situation seemed funny and equally irritating as Paul was getting impatient. Finally, when I was about to start my car, I opened the car windows and all kids were very happily to see our handsome black Labrador.

After testing all my patience by worst traffic jam, lengthy waiting hours at railway crossing and narrow roads, I reached Kolhapur at 8:00pm.

Kopeshwar, (yes I prefer to call it just ‘Kopeshwar’ instead of ‘Khidrapur – Kopeshwar’) is strictly no miss-miss place if you are planning a visit to Sangli, Miraj, Kolhapur and alike.

Few more snaps here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/khidrapur/

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Trishund Ganapati TempleI remember it was night of 29th July 2007. We came home in late evening after some shopping and cooked dinner. We almost finished eating when we got call from my friend’s cousin asking whether we would be interested in visiting ‘Trishund Ganapati Mandir’. We were bit tired but info which he gave sounded very interesting and we rushed to the temple. It was Guru Poornima day and the underground (cave) of this temple is only opened to public on this day till 12 in the midnight. We reached and joined the queue for ‘darshan’. It was an amazing temple carved in black stone. I never imagined any antique temple like this in any of this peth areas. After the temple entrance, on right hand there are stone stairs to go to underground cave. There was knee-deep water due to fresh water springs below. The water was pumped out by the water pump so that devotees could walk properly. There is small Ganapati idol in the stone wall. Also there is a Samadhi of Bhimjigiri Gosavi who has built the temple. We took darshan and came up. It was such a divine atmosphere in the temple that night that I cannot forget. We thanked my friend’s cousin for calling us promptly and without him, we would have never known this temple and about the cave beneath it which is opened only once in a year. We came back late night from the temple. I kept on thinking about our visit in such haste to this place that night. Some things are bound to happen. We couldn’t click any snaps that night and that urge remained in my mind for quite long.

Trishund MayureshwarFinally two days ago I made plan to visit ‘Trishund Ganapati Mandir’. Today morning I got up early and got ready. One of my colleagues too joined me and we went to the temple. We were lucky to get morning pooja and arati.

In the crowded mess of narrow lanes and much hidden in today’s concrete jungle of Somwar peth, this elegant and beautiful black stone temple of ‘Trishund Ganapati’ comes as a pleasant surprise. This temple built in 1754 to 1770,  is a masterpiece of stone masonry carvings. There are two sculptured ‘dwarpals’ (doorkeepers) at the entrance along with other elaborated carved peacock, parrots, elephants in combat, chained rhinos with soldiers and mythological figures from ancient era.

After a spacious sabhamandap comes the sanctum where the idol of the unusual three-trunked Ganapati, sitting on a peacock (Mayur) is installed. Hence the name ‘Trishund Ganapati’ or ‘Trishund Maruyeshwar’. Riddhi-Siddhi stands on sides of the idol. The historical information says that this temple was built as Samadhi temple and a practicing school for mystics – Hathayogis and disciples of Mantrashakti!

The temple is built in two levels – the upper level is opened to public throughout the year and underground only on the day of Guru Poornima.

Exceptionally beautiful Trishund Ganapati temple is an archeological heritage which needs to be preserved as pride of ancient India. A must visit place for people who love to see some thing unique and antique along with religious facet.

NOTE: Here is the Google map image to get directions to go to ‘Trishund Ganapati Temple‘.

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Bell TowerIt is human tendency to overlook the things or the places which are close to you. We think that we can see or visit such places anytime as they are near-by and then the thought always get somewhere back of your mind and you forget and keep on postponing. I decided not to let this happen to me as far as Bell Tower was concerned. ‘Ghorpade Peth’ being my daily route, this Bell Tower always caught my attention.

It was a holiday on 1st of May last year and I went to this church. I parked my vehicle somewhere and starting clicking some snaps from outside. Some kids gathered to see what I was doing. A teenage girl too came up to me from the near by house and stood by my side while I was clicking. She told me by the hand gestures (sign language) to go inside the church to get good snaps. She was dumb but her encouragement in the form of sign language made me speechless.

I entered the gate of the church with bit of the hesitation as I was visiting a church in Pune for first time. I spoke to the old man who was security guard there. He mistook me to be a reporter as he found camera hanging around my neck. I told him I don’t belong to any newspaper and my interest to see this place brought me to this church. I sought his permission to click the snaps. He happily allowed me to do so. He also opened the garden gate which was locked so that I could get full view of tower for clicking snaps.

Windows and bricks - The Holy ChurchThe huge Bell tower is situated in the arena of ‘The Holy Church Of The Holy Name’ in very crowded area of Guruwar Peth. This Basilica Gothic style Anglo-Catholic church was erected in 1885. The brick structure has been designed in the famous basilica style. The Panch Haud Mission’s Holy Name Church is unique because all services here are conducted in Marathi. The church, which has completed 124 years, is celebrating Christmas with a lot of enthusiasm. The society of St John The Enenglist took the initiative in building this church which is equipped with eight bells brought from Laughingburg in UK.

The tower is 135 feet high and has stairs to reach to the top. The tower is opened to public on the eve of Christmas. The Bell Tower is the only tower in South Asia which has 8 Bells, with “Holy Name Of Jesus” carved on it. The eight bells ring with several holy songs and prayers including our national anthem.

The brick and stone structure of the church was designed by a person called “Bell”. Hence the name is “Bell Tower”.

The Panch Haud Mission already runs an orphanage hostel in the same premises. As the church and the tower come under a heritage grade, it is definitely worth a dekko.

I came out of the church and I searched for that girl again. She came up running to me and I said “Thank you”. I showed her the snaps on my camera LCD and she made a sign for “Good snaps!” She made a cross over her shoulders to tell me that she was a Christian and she was happy to see the snaps of her church. Speechless communication through gestures and then smile on our faces, I was so touched. Meeting this girl was quite a experience, something that was as great as seeing the beautiful church.

I feel lucky that I have met many people like this girl at different places and different stages of life, across the globe and I communicated with them in some or the other way. These people have some share in your life for some time and then you have memories to smile upon. I don’t know whether I will meet these people again in rest of the life or not but I would like to say a sincere “thank you” to all of them for making my life worthwhile.

For some more snaps you can visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/belltower/

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