Gramsanskruti Udyan

Gramsanskruti

Gramsanskruti

Villages have always been an integral part of India. A few years ago most of the population was living in villages. Today due to various reasons, villages have been vacated and most of the people have moved to cities in search of jobs, education, superior infrastructure and comfort. Today the younger generation will get a glimpse of village life after visiting Gramsanskruti udyan at Pashan.

Located in Pashan at Someshwarwadi is a newly built theme park by PMC ‘Gramsanskruti Udyan’. To reach here one might take Baner road from Pune University and take a left turn at Someshwar Chowk. This park is situated just next to Someshwar temple. This theme park is a good show case of how a self sufficient village used to be.

Park Entrance

Entrance wall of the park is nicely decorated and looks like a fortification of fort. After entering we are greeted by a beautifully decorated wall depicting different festivals celebrated even today with great enthusiasm and vigour in villages. It has wata pournima scene (Worshipping of Banyan tree) which is performed by married ladies wishing long life for their husbands,  Gudhipadwa i.e. celebrating the beginning of new year as per the Hindu calendar, Nagpanchami (worshipping snakes as they are friends of farmers) and many more.

Watpournima Celebration

Wata Pournima( Worshipping Banyan Tree)

Nagpanchami

Nagpanchami festival

Nandibail

Nandi Bail

In the earlier days villages use to be self sufficient. All people’s needs were getting satisfied in the village itself.  Mahatma Gandhi had the idea of self sufficient village in his mind.

In this park they have created small houses to display different professions. One can see scenes such as a doctor performing a surgery on a patient, a family asking for loan from a merchant, a tailor shop, Bangles shop (kasaar), perfumes shop, sculptor, potter, blacksmith, goldsmith, cobbler,washer-man, fortune teller etc.

Potter

Potter

There is a superb detailing in clothes, attire and hair styles which infuses life in the life less statues.

Pinjari

Pinjari

Different aspects have been taken care of for the houses e.g. the colours which are seen are very  typical to those found in village houses and also the interior structures i.e. of wooden columns and use of frames of Gods and saints to decorate the house.

sculptor

sculptors

Stone cutter_Patharwat

Stone cutter_Patharwat

The utensils,furniture,ornaments of villagers, curtains, doors and even the facial expressions of the villagers all the precise details have been taken care of and altogether give a feel of being there.

Tailor

Tailor

bangles Shop

Kasaar- Bangles shop Owner

A little ahead one can see a village school which used to take place in the shadow of tree. I am sure it will make you nostalgic if you have spent your childhood in a small village.

School

School

It also introduces concepts of farming. Agriculture is still the main occupation in India. Even today India is second in the world in the farm outputs. This park has a good display of main farming concepts like land preparation, seed selection, seed sowing and harvesting.

Farming

Farming

Farming_1

Farming

The next section has a replica of Patil wada. This used to be the residence of  the most important person of the village. He could be called as the leader of the village and a had major role to play in dispute solving, celebrations and events. Minute details have been captured here like the entrance, sitout place for discussion and hearing complaints of villagers, inner rooms and even the cow shed.

Patil wada

Patil Wada exterior

Patil wada_1

Sitout at Patil wada

When you go forward, this park has a jungle section which we did not find that impressive since we had already seen good quality detailed statues earlier.

When we speak of a village a few things come to our mind very quickly. Those are simplicity, straightforwardness, openness, naturalness, innocence and selfless help.

Wari celebration

Wari /Palakhi celebration

Nagpanchami festival

A trip to this park will give you an inside look into the village life, barter system, Gram Panchayat and rural occupations.

Village _Panchayat

Village Panchayat

One will get a nice exhibit by looking at weekly bazaar here. Weekly bazaar used to be (still it is present in villages ) an amalgamation of shopping, buying necessities, little bit of entertainment and enjoyment, amusement for kids and a good business opportunity for stalls or shop owners.

Weekly bazaar_1

Shop keeper

ram fight

Ram fight

bioscope

saree shop

Saree Shop

This park has been created with the efforts of about 1000 plus creators. I wonder will they ever get recognition for their fabulous work individually. Will they ever be recognized as sculptors or will they remain just mere workers?

The statues have been built with cement and concrete so they become more hard with rain and sunshine. Only some colour touch up is done yearly.

Marriage scene

Marriage Scene

We surely get to see various facets of village and village life but I had few things which were causing a concern in my mind. Parking space is not provided separately. One has to park the vehicles in front of the gate. As the theme park will get popularity it will cause a major problem for parking. Another point was, the park has over 400 statues and all are must watch, they might provide sit-outs after some distance so that senior citizens would also be able to enjoy it properly. Also they have provided small information boards in Marathi which also could be in Hindi and English.

While leaving the park I heard a remark from one elderly lady of about 80 years that this is what she had experienced in her childhood. Does that mean the kind of lifestyle we are having now will only be seen in a theme park 100 years later?? Only time will tell…..

Gram Sanskruti Park_Entrance

Quick Notes:

Location: Near Rajwada hotel Pashan, Someshwar wadi, Pune

Visiting hours : From 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM

Entrance fees: Adults Rs.50, Children (3 years to 12 years) Rs.30, foreigners Rs.150

Do visit Someshwar Temple of Peshwa era which is just next to the park.

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Kshetra Mahuli (Part 2)

Kashi Vishweshwar1

In the excitement of sharing vast information sometimes you get confused and struggle to find a take off point. Same was the case with Mahuli. There is so much to reveal and express. But this time that chaos has brought the clarity and harmony. Let us continue the amazing kaleidoscope of temples, greenery, Krishna river, farms, people and heritage in Kshetra Mahuli Part 2.

Radha Shankar Temple:

On the river banks of Kshetra Mahuli, RadhaShankar temple is situated. This temple was built in 1762 AD by Radhabai Taisaheb in the memory of her husband Shankararao Pantasachiv. Surprisingly Nandi idol is on the same square of the temple structure here, usually it is built separately just outside the Shiva Temple. On the left hand side of the door Ganesh Murti is there. Ganesh idol is also carved on the main entrance of all these temples underlining the fact that this deity had the immense importance in the Peshwa era and was most worshipped.

RadhaShankar Temple

There is also a Hanuman idol coloured in saffron colour. Some different stone carvings could be seen in this temple.

RadhaShankar inside

Statue at RadhaShankar

The columns in this temple have lotus design and remind us of the wooden carvings of palaces or wadas. In the inner sanctum Shivling is there. Two towers  of light are there(Deepamala)

 

RadhaShankar Mandir

RadhaShankar Mandir

 

Very near to this place is self manifested Ganesh.

Self manifested Ganesh

Self manifested Ganesh

 

Badrinarayan Temple:

Behind the Datta Temple there is Badrinarayan Mandir built in 1905 AD  by Radhabai Joshi/ Moropant Joshi. Once a very big and beautiful temple, it is in ruins now.

1

Badrinarayan temple

History would be incomplete without ruins, they tell us a story of the past. But isn’t it important to preserve and look after these forgotten places?

Badrinarayan temple

Badrinarayan temple

 

Rameshwar temple:

Built by Parshuram Anagal in the 17th century Rameshwar temple is an elegant stone temple. Impact of Mughal architecture can be easily noticed by looking at the domes of this temple. This temple has a vast courtyard as compared to other two temples of Kshetra Mahuli. On entering the temple premises one shivling is seen. The Nandi idol here is bigger and carved with heavy bells design. Inside the sanctum sanctorum the main Shivling is there.

Rameshwar Temple

Mahuli is a pilgrimage centre, hence the name Kshetra Mahuli. It is also known as Dakshin Kashi. On one bank of the river, Kashi Vishweshwar temple is situated and on the other bank, Rameshwar temple. On visiting both the temples one would get the punya of visiting Tirthakshetra (Pilgrimage centre)

 

Kashi Vishweshwar temple:

Kashi Vishweshwar temple is an amazing example of temple architecture. It is a magnificent piece of art.

Kashi vishweshwar

The Nandi idol has been recently painted in white and golden colour and the square on which it is placed is also worth watching. Various designs are used to decorate this square and the design is not even repeated once.

 

Nandi at Kashi Vishweshwar

Nandi at Kashi Vishweshwar

Inside the temple numerous columns are beautifully decorated with diverse designs of parrots, peacocks and swans.

Designs on columns

Designs on columns

Outside the temple huge deepmala (tower like structure where oil lamps could be kept) is there which is approximately 45 to 50 feet in height.

Tower of Light

Tower of Light (Deepmala)

Krishnabai Utsav (Krishna River celebration):

Krishna river (4th biggest  river in India after Ganga, Brahmhaputra and Godavari) originates in Maharashtra near Mahabaleshwar. With its most fertile soil no wonder it is regarded as Lokamata (Mother) by people. Krishnabai Utsav is celebrated in different places in Wai, Mahabaleshwar , Limb, Kshetra Mahuli, Sangam Mahuli, Karad, Amanapur, Narsinhwadi even till Karnataka. This celebration starts from Vaishakh shudh Ekadashi and ends on Vaishakh Pournima as per the Hindu calendar which usually falls in the month of May. 5 days of celebration are filled with Bhajan, Kirtan, Katha Kathan etc. During this celebration various competitions take place. Various camps are organised such as Blood donation, free medical check up for needy people, uniforms and books distribution to the poor and deserving students.

This type of festivity takes place almost in each village and town where ever Krishna river is present. People from all age groups and all social strata participate in this. The jubilation and glee of the place is contagious. Large number of people have now migrated to bigger cities like to Mumbai and Pune , but they flock to Kshetra Mahuli  during Krishnabai Utsav. This shows the immense faith and love for their native place.

 

Lokmata Krishnabai

Lokmata Krishnabai

There is a connection of this celebration with Shivaji era. There was a priest called Shendye Shastri  in Wai. He had pleaded to the Krishna river to protect Shivaji Maharaj from the mighty and evil Afzalkhan. Afzalkhan had started his journey towards Shivaji Maharaj’s capital and was destroying the pilgrimage centres on the way. He had a huge army with him and anticipating this danger Shivaji Maharaj shifted his headquarters  to Pratapgad. As we know Shivaji Maharaj with his guerrilla war fare techniques killed Afzalkhan and destroyed his huge army.

This Shendye Shastri took a vow to Krishna river saying that if you save our king from this difficult phase we will celebrate your festival every year on all the banks where ever you appear. His wish was fulfilled and from that time this celebration takes place every year without any break.

Krishnadham:

Near Kshetra Mahuli there is a place called Krishnadham. This is an Ashram of Yogi Krishnanad maharaj. This place is a picture perfect beauty. The winding steps here lead you to a tranquil and soothing place very near to the river. This will make you forget about your worries and will take you in a trance.You will feel like never leaving this place.  I wish to relish every moment spent here.

Krishnadham

Krishnadham

Kshetra Mahuli would impress the travelers of various interests. It has been a shooting location for some superhit movies like Sant Tukaram, Gunj Uthi Shahanai etc.

Many persons of national presence and historical importance belong to this place. To name a few Shrirang Jadhav, an Olympic wrestler who participated in Helsinki Olympics, Kirtankar of national fame Govind Aphale and Charudatta Aphale who delighted the entire nation by their auspicious and divine compositions and above all Nyaymurti Ramshastri Prabhune who was famous for his impartial and fair justice in the court of Madhavrao Peshwe.

Ramshastri Prabhune  even told Madhavrao Peshwe that now he has accepted the Kshatriya dharma so his duty should be to govern and protect his subjects and he should not spend so much time in religious processes/ rituals. Because of his fearless and outspoken nature he did not hesitate to tell Raghoba dada Peshwe (Raghunath Peshwe) to take the death penalty (dehant Prayachitta) for his involvement in the murder of Narayanrao Peshwe. Such a courageous person who would not spare even the supreme authority is difficult to find these days.

Ramashastri Prabhune

Ramashastri Prabhune

Mahuli got its reputation in Peshwa era primarily because of Ramshashtri Prabhune.

This was a short tale of this sacred town of Kshetra Mahuli. It is one such landmark which has historical tales, architectural splendor and jubilant people. Do take out time and visit this place.

Quick Facts:

Location: 105 kms from Pune

Don’t forget to  take kandi pedha of Satara (Yogesh Sweets Modi Pedhewale and Ladkar are well known) and famous brinjals of Krishna banks on your way back.

References: Document Nyayadewata published in 1979 and Lokmata document published in 2005 and discussions with noteworthy mahulikars