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Posts Tagged ‘"Lord Shankar"’

I badly needed a ‘bhatanki-break’ to kill my boredom. On saturday night, I started hunting for a place to drive and suddenly ‘Lavthaleshwar’ stuck my mind. Actually ‘Lavthaleshwar’ needs to be clubbed with Jejuri as it is 1-1.5kms just before Jejuri but i had not been there earlier in my Jejuri visits. It is known to be an ancient cave temple of Lord Shiva. I felt keen desire to visit here. I got up early in the morning and took up Solapur highway.

To reach Lavthaleshwar:

  1. Take Solapur highway
  2. Drive up to Hadapsar and take right turn to Saswad.
  3. On the way to Saswad, you have to cross Dive ghat.
  4. From Saswad, take road to Jejuri.
  5. 1.5 kms before Jejuri, look for ‘Lavthaleshwar’ temple entrance on right hand side.
  6. Total distance from Pune is around 48 Kms.

It is good drive of around 50 kms to reach the temple. Amazing fact about this place is – the temple is underground and not easily seen from road side. I parked my vehicle near the entrance name and literally searched for the temple. Later found some deep steps leading to the temple door. I  descended and found this cave temple. Another unique thing about ‘shiva-linga’ was, it was placed perpendicular to the entrance of ‘gabhara’. Mostly shiva lingas are horizontally placed in ‘Gabhara’. Being cave temple, it was cooler inside. I bowed in front of almighty and sat in peace. I generally like to visit temples in off-season where in I can spend my own sweet time there and conversing with God in leisure. This time it was exactly same. Then I came outside the temple and spent some time observing the surroundings. It was peaceful and shady. 

It is said that Swami Ramdas on the way to Jejuri halted at this temple overnight. He composed famous Pooja Arati – “Lav lavathi vikrala brahmandi mala…” here derived from the name ‘Lavthaleshwar’.
 
I started my return journey, took a ‘Misal paav’ break in Saswad. It was good drive of 60 odd kms and the place was worth visiting. 
Lavthaleshwar can be clubbed with Jejuri. For all those who want to be at peace this is THE place to be. 🙂

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Exploring all those unexplored places around Pune and missing most obvious place like Balaji-Narayanpur was not done and so I made a weekend afternoon plan. Best thing about the trip was, I had my mom with me. We left home in the afteroon and took Pune-Satara highway.

To reach Balaji-Narayanpur (From Pune) –

  1. Take Pune-Satara Highway (NH-4).
  2. Travel some 35Kms to reach village ‘Kapurhol’.
  3. Turn left turn from here to reach village Ketkawale’.
  4. Travel more 12Kms to reach Balaji Temple.

Note: There is also another road to Balaji from village Saswad. Road is Pune-Hadapsar-Saswad-Narayanpur-Ketkawale(Balaji).

We reached Balaji and parked our vehicle in parking area. Balaji temple is replica of actual Tirupati Balaji temple in the south. The majestic walls in white marble and typical Gopur structure are amazingly beautiful. We joined the queue and after going through all those security measure we finally reached garbhalay. The standing idol of Balaji is royal and awesome. The upalay (surrounding area around main temple) has small temples of deities like Mahalakshmi, Padmawathi, Krishna, Kuber, etc. We took prasad and enjoyed divine and clean ambience at the temple.

Our next destination was Narayanpur. We took the Ketkawale-Saswad road. Glimpses of Purandar made me think of Sambhaji Maharaj again. In fact, Kapurhol village itself reminded me of ‘Dharau’. Dharau was a village woman from Kapurhol who was brought to fort Purandar for feeding him (baby Sambhaji) after death of his mother Saibai. Dharau stayed with Chatrapati’s family for quite long till her old age. I accelerated down to zero and stopped by to click some snaps.

Evening became pleasant. I was driving towards east and was exceptionally beautiful sunset in the back mirror. I didn’t want to waste time by getting down and got an instant idea to capture it in my car’s mirror itself.

We reached Narayanpur and visited Narayaneshwar temple. This is very ancient Shiva temple and the gabhara has gupta (hidden) Shiva-linga. Above it, there is golden shiva-linga gifted to the temple by Shivaji Maharaj’s mother Jijabai. We also visited adjacent ‘Ek-mukhi (single faced) Datta’ mandir. The standing idol of Lord Datta is worth seeing.

We started our return journey and took a ‘wadaa-paav’ break at famous ‘Joshi Wadewale’ near Khed-Shivapur village. It was quick and content trip.

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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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Ghorwadeshwar Base entrance‘Ghorwadeshwar’ (मराठी: घोरवडेश्वर) was on my mind since quite some time. Last Sunday, I visited this place with one of my friends. We got up early in the morning and drove to Ghorwadeshwar base. We parked our vehicle there and started climbing the mountain.

To reach Ghorwadeshwar:

  1. Start from Pune and take old Pune-Mumbai highway.
  2. Cross Dehu, Shelarwadi to reach village called ‘Somatane’.
  3. On left hand, you will see entrance of ‘Ghorwadeshwar’ and stone steps on the huge mountain.
  4. Total distance is 35-40 Kms.

Note: Carry water bottle. Wear good shoes/floaters with good grip as path is steep and rocky.  Strictly – no chappals, fancy footwear, sandals.

Cave Temple - GhorwadeshwarThere are stone steps till the half way and rest of the steps construction is still in progress. It was good trek and we climbed the mountain to reach the top. Cold breeze refreshed us and we rested for a while below the tree. And then we began to explore…

Total 11 caves and many water tanks date back to 3rd or 4th century. There is a Chaitya gruha which has 3 small rooms dug on left side, 4 on right side and similar 2 on back side. The main stupa is now turned into ‘Ghorwadeshwar’ temple. The sabha mandap is big to accomodate devotees. The Gabhara is extension to it and has no door. I found the shivlinga quite unique in shape from the rest. The base of this shivlinga is squared and not circular in structure. Some of the wall has carved messages in Brahmi lipi.

The panorama of Shelarwadi, Dehu, Talegaon, Somatane was on front side and on back side there were traces of concrete jungle in Hinjewadi. We sat on the rock for some time to figure out these places with our bino.

On the left hand side there is another cave temple dedicated to Saint Tukaram. Three beautiful black stone idols of Vitthal, Rakhumai and Tukaram are installed here. Ghorwadeshwar trust was formed in 1981.

There is huge yatra here on ‘Mahashivratri’. Thousands of devotees climb up to take darshan on this auspicious day.

A new chirping beauty caught my attention. I clicked many snaps of this place as well as of this new bird which got recently added to my bird encyclopedia. I later found its name – “Crested Bunting”. 🙂

Seeing all this was indeed very amazing. We started descending down at 10. It was wonderful trek+outing. 😀

For more snaps visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/ghorwadeshwar/

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