Sometimes you travel for pleasure, sometimes for religious reasons, sometimes you do it to have a great family outing. Reasons could be varied but at the bottom of all reasons lies one truth: you are looking for satisfaction and peace. Do you get it when you stay at a five-star hotel or when you visit a hot and happening destination and share each and every pic from each angle?
For some people, it might bring happiness but for most of us, it does not.
In the midst of all these travel destinations like hill stations, amusements parks, beaches and resorts, there are a few places which are sacred, which have gained purity with the stay of great people and saints and that has an impact on the terrain. One such place is Chaphal which situated near Satara city in Maharashtra.
It is a simple, peaceful Ashram of Samarth Ramdas Swami. In fact, All Samarth Ramdas math or ashrams are always clean and neat and of course simple(check out Shivtharghal – A cave of wisdom It was on my mind to write about Chaphal for many days. I had visited it many years ago but still remembered the cave and the tranquil stay at clean and simple Bhakta Niwas (rooms provided to devotees to stay for few days at a nominal charge or even for free). Even as a child I used to sit near the window soaking the calmness for many hours; these places truly bring out the inner peace in most of us. So I was really looking forward to this trip and a profound experience again.
To Reach Chaphal from Pune you can take Pune-Bangalore Highway. Chaphal is situated in Patan taluka. On the highway, you can take a right turn at Umbraj. We were lucky as we were travelling by our own vehicle because we were forced to stop by bright Gulmohar and other trees with their full Spring blossom.
We could not resist ourselves from taking pictures all along the way.
Since we had taken a halt at Satara the earlier day we had started pretty early and we did not mind spending time with our best friend: Nature.
The road quality was excellent and the overall travel was very smooth and enjoyable.
Once we enter the Ram Mandir premises at Chaphal, on the left-hand side we see one old temple of Hanuman. It is one of the 11 Hanuman temples. ‘Veer Hanuman’ and ‘Das Hanuman’ are located on the same premises as the Ram Mandir whereas ‘Khadicha Maruti’ is located some distance away towards the west. On the right-hand side, you just have to climb a few steps to reach the temple. They have also kept a road for taking wheelchair up.
After entering you see a beautiful Ram Mandir (temple of Lord Ram) built in the white stone. All walls of the temple are designed with intricate sculptures. Even inside the temple, the ceiling is full of beautiful carvings.
After entering the temple other than the three beautiful idols of Shree Ram, Sita, and, Laxman you will also see one black stone idol of Shree Ram with Laxman and Sita on either side. This is the original idol which Samarth Ramdas got from Angapur. He installed it here in 1649 and constructed a small temple around it.
In 1967 major earthquake shook Koyana Nagar and the surroundings. This temple was also damaged. The trustees like Sardar Bhimrao Patankar, Dattopant Paranjape came immediately for the rescue. Businessman of Mumbai Mr.Mafatlal offered help. He helped to reconstruct the temple. The white stone was brought from Vadodara and a beautiful temple was constructed which we see today.
There is a beautiful underground cave where Ramdas swami used to meditate. We can go down to the first room easily. You would feel a cool effect immediately once you reach this room. It was really tough to believe the temperature outside was almost 40 degrees. All components of Nature even stones are always blissfully comforting us. This amazing cave also has other interconnected rooms. Only people with a very slender and flexible body can enter there.
I remember my grandmother telling me that in the last room God Hanuman (who is immortal as per the Hindu Mythology) is still sitting and meditating.
Celebrations at Chaphal:
From the first day of Hindu New Year i.e. Gudhipadwa till Chaitra Shuddha Ekadashi festival takes place at this temple. We missed the opportunity to witness this ceremony just by a few days when we visited this place last year.
From the premises of the temple, you can see a breathtaking view of Mand river and especially in the Monsoon season the whole surroundings wear a green attire which is just a visual treat.
Another Historical Attraction on the way: Bara Motechi Vihir at Limb, Satara
We also visited a historical well (Bara Motechi Vihir) on the way just before Satara. It was a welcome addition to the trip. Check out a video to get details of this well here:
Photography is not allowed inside the Chaphal Ram Mandir and we believe in abiding by the rules strictly. So, we can’t bring you the photos of idols and the inside view of the temple but I am sure after reading this article you must have made up your mind to visit this place personally and experience it by your self.
Quick facts to remember:
Distance from Pune: 155 KM
Toll charges: Rs.90/- at Khed Shivapur and Rs.60/- at Anewadi
Food: Simple snacks and meal available just outside the premises.
Temple remains closed from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and from 9:30 PM to 4:30 AM