Kshetra Mahuli (Part 1)

Krishna river

Some places are seen with heart and not just with eyes. Kshetra Mahuli is such a place very close to my heart. This is the native place of my grandmother and I always get the warmth of meeting her when I am there.

On the Main Satara highway, about 100kms from Pune you will reach a square.If you take a right turn you go to Satara city, a left turn here takes you to Mahuli. Kshetra Mahuli is located about 5 kms from the main highway.

Mahuli fields

Mahuli’s  references are found from the 15th century. In the court of Ramraje (Dev Rai) of Vijaynagar (Anegundi/Anegondi), there was a learned scholar. His name was Koya Prabhu. He used to tell primeval and legendary stories (Puran) to Ramraje. Once he narrated about the charm and grace of the river Krishna. He mentioned about its dense forests and the peaceful riverbanks.He described the calmness and blend of natural beauty.

Placid waters of Krishna river

Mahuli fields1

This created a strong desire in Ramraje to visit this place. When he visited it, he was simply mesmerized by the beauty of this place. Highly impressed with the work of Koya Prabhu,  Ramraje awarded this place to him. As per the procedure at that time Ramraje offered him a Copperplate (Tamrapat) and allocated all the related rights to him (Ashtadhikar). Now the descendants of Koya Prabhu are the people known as Prabhune, from Mahuli.

Pictureaque beauty at Mahuli fields

Later on, after the death of Aurangzeb, Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj’s son Shahu Maharaj was released. Shahu Maharaj made Satara his capital and Satara became the centre of main decisions and interactions. Many temples were built in the Peshwa era at that time on the banks of the river Krishna.

Various temples nearby Satara

Mahuli is situated on the confluence of Krishna and Venna river. On one bank of the river Kshetra Mahuli is located and on the other bank Sangam Mahuli.

Inside view of Dattamandir

In Kshetra Mahuli my ancestors built a Datta Mandir (Datta Temple) around 150 years ago. This Mandir is situated on the banks of Krishna river. It is a nice, simple temple with a black stone idol. As heard from my grandmother her ancestors found this idol in the Krishna river and installed it on the river banks by building a small temple.

Datta Idol1

Every year on Dattajayanti a two day celebration(utsav) takes place. There is Bhajan, Kirtan and the whole ambiance is pure and blessed.

Kirtan on the occassion of Datta Jayanti

The ancestral house at Kshetra Mahuli is now rebuilt and converted into Sanskrutik Bhawan(Cultural Hall) where important events/ ceremonies of the village take place.

ancestral house

Ancestral house

Sanskrutik Bhawan

Old house now transformed into Sanskrutik Bhawan(Cultural Hall)

On one side of the Datta Mandir there is Bilweshwar Temple.

Bilweshwar Mandir

Bilweshwar Temple

Bilveshwar Nandi 1

The story of Bilweshwar temple goes like this. There was a priest called Bilwamangal who used to stay in Kshetra Mahuli. He used to cross the river daily to visit Kashi Vishweshwar temple on the opposite banks (Sangam Mahuli) and offer Bilva patra or bel leaves. These are special type of leaves signifying the three gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh). These are offered to lord Shiva. Once due to a flood, it was not possible for Bilwamangal to cross the river and he was very much upset that he couldn’t visit the temple and offer his prayers. In a sad mood he kept his basket of flowers and bel leaves on the soil and he found a Shivling there. He built a temple there which is now known as Bilweshwar.

Bilweshwar Mandir Nandi
This is a stone temple built in the Peshwa era. Artistically carved nandi idol is present at the entrance of this temple. In the sanctum there is a big tortoise carved on the floor.In the sanctum sanctorum Shivling is there. It is quite dark inside the temple. There is no window or any space for light to come inside this temple. Don’t you think it is done intentionally so that one can see the power of his/ her inner light (soul). This Shivling is regularly worshipped and the natives have also cleaned and painted the temple recently.

On the other hand of the Datta Mandir one can find the remains of Bundel wada. It is more popularly known as Mastani Buruj. Shrimant Bajirao Peshwa (I) (Thorale Bajirao Peshwe) was not allowed to meet Mastani. Shahu Maharaj had kept Mastani in this Bundelwada. He had issued strict instructions that no one will help Shrimant Bajirao Peshwe to meet Mastani. Bajirao Peshwe gave his diamond ring to a boatman and asked him to take him to the other bank of the river to meet Mastani. The remains of this structure still speak a lot about this part of history.

Mastani Buruj

Mastani Buruj

I got an interesting reference of Sambhaji Maharaj while reading the book Sambhaji (by Mr.Vishwas Patil) about this place. It was at this place that Sambhaji Maharaj crossed the river and joined with the Mughals on the other side.

This place has spacious river banks. During the day time one can see ladies washing clothes, villagers cleaning and washing their cattle and now a days they bring their cars and motorbikes for washing 🙂

Sapcious banks of Krishna River

I can spend hours sitting on the banks here. Especially the dusk is awesome. The placid water simply spells peace.

Krishna river banks

I wanted to write about this place as a tribute to my grandmother but when I started collecting more information about this place I was amazed to see the remarkable facts getting unfolded. I got an opportunity to talk to Mr. Bhagwan Aphale, an eminent teacher in Satara. As our discussion progressed, I realised that it had a great connection with history. These stories are no where on Google but on the tip of the natives tongues.

Many esteemed and renowned personalities are also associated with Kshetra Mahuli. Article on Kshetra Mahuli would be incomplete without Nyayamurti Ramshastri Prabhune (a famous judge ,who was well known for his justful and fair decisions in the court of Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwe) There are many interesting stories about other temples like Rameshwar temple, Radha Shankar temple, self-manifested Ganapati (Ganesh) on the banks of Krishna river, Kashi Vishweshwar at Sangam Mahuli, Krishnabai Utsav and many more. I will be covering all these stories in the next post.It will take you on a journey back in time. Do check next part of this series coming next week.

Chatushrungi Temple

Chatushrungi Temple from outside

Chatushrungi Mandir is a picturesque temple situated on Senapati Bapat Road (S.B.Road), Pune. Unlike other temples in Pune this one has a vast area. It is located on a hilltop at about 90ft. height.Once you enter the temple premises you will see few shops selling Prasad, coconuts and flowers. Recently this temple has been renovated and decorated  so you would get to see a few nice statues on the way to the top.

Renovation and decoration at the temple

Renovation and Decoration of the premises

Statues inside the premises

Renovation and Decoration of the premises

This temple has 160 steps. Children would enjoy climbing the steps and elders too would find it easy as  they are not too steep.

160 steps to the temple

Steps to the temple

At about 50,60 steps there is Ganesh Temple. Before starting any sort of work we always take the blessings of Lord Ganesh. As per Hindu tradition  lord Ganesh is worshipped before any other deity.  This temple has red columns and the inner walls are painted with gracious designs of colourful leaves and flowers. In this temple Ashtavinayak idols (8 Sacred places of lord Ganesh)  are engraved on the walls in saffron colour.

After taking blessings of Ganapati one might proceed to the main temple. On the way to the main temple you will see different sitouts. The exquisite brick stone structures painted in pleasant pink red colour will make you stay there for some more time.

Nice Sitting place at Chatushrungi

Once you reach the temple you would see that the actual temple area is very small.  This Goddess is self-manifested (swayambhu). Money lender of Peshwas Mr.Durlabhshet was a great devotee of Saptashrungi devi. He found this idol at the hilltop and he started this temple. He had also started a Chatushrungi Rupee during those times. Currently the temple is looked after by Angal family.

Devi idol has been decorated with pearl nath(nose ornament), a crown and many necklaces. The temple is decorated with photos of different prominent goddesses.There is no permission to go inside the sanctum sanctorum so just outside it two idols have been kept ; one of brass and another of silver.You can offer haldi kumkum and flowers to these idols. During the Navratri festival this temple is extremely crowded and the long queues cross the spacious expanses of this temple and come out on the main Senapati Bapat road.

Renovation preserving nature

Renovation preserving nature

What makes this temple so special is that it is not just a divine and religious destination but it is a very clean place amidst the nature. The temple authorities plant trees here regularly and one can see various trees and birds in this area. We can get good view of Pune from top.

zigzag way leading through greenery

During one of our recent visits to this temple we got to see a kite plucking dry branches of small plants and taking it away to build a nest on a far away tree. It was an amazing thing to watch. We kept looking at it for several minutes.

champa tree

Temple view

This is a place where one can enjoy the song of nature and can inhale the freshness of air.
Visiting this temple daily could be a good exercise to get a healthy body and a peaceful mind.

Quick notes:

Location: Senapati Bapat Road(near Savitribai Phule Pune University), Pune

Timings: 6:30 AM to 8:00PM (On Tuesdays temple is open till 12 midnight)

Parking space : Available inside the premises

On your way back do eat at Durga snacks(located at the starting point of the temple) a wholesome plate of Upma and nice masala chai.

Bhuleshwar: Hidden Treasure

Light and shadow effect at Bhuleshwar

There is always something special about every visit, every trail, every moment and every experience. I visited Bhuleswar twice. First time it was with a group of trekkers and an expert historian and the next visit was with my family. Both the trips were magical and miraculous.

Location:

Bhuleshwar Temple is situated about 53 Kms from Pune and 10 Kms from Yawat. To visit this temple from Pune you need to catch the Pune Solapur Highway. Just before Yawat you will find Kamat hotel on the left hand side and Kanchan hotel on the right hand side if you are going from Pune. Take a right turn and follow the Malshiras road to reach Bhuleshwar temple. Be careful on the inner ghat road. On the way you would see Suhana Masala factory, Nishigandh and Custard Apple plantation, Dwarika Krishi sankalp etc. Take a right turn and you will reach an entrance arch saying Bhuleshwar Vana Udyan. This temple is situated on a hilltop. There are two very sharp turns before reaching the top. Be extremely careful.

On the way to Bhuleshwar

On the way to Bhuleshwar

Nature on the way

Nature on the way

History of this place:

Bhuleshwar temple was built in 1230 AD by Yadava rulers. It was deformed and destroyed by Mughal attackers. In 1629 Adilshahi Sardar Murar Jagdev destroyed and looted Pune completely and he literally deployed donkeys to plough the fields in Pune. He constructed a fort here which was known as DaulatMangal Gadh. He used it to keep a watch on Pune city from this fort. It is said that later Shivaji Maharaj and Peshwas did some restoration of this temple. One can still find some signs of earlier Muslim rule by looking at Eidgah (open air gathering place normally on the outskirts of the city).

Remains of Eidgah

Remains of Eidgah

Now Bhuleshwar temple comes under the Archaeological survey of India and is a protected monument.

Bhuleshwar Temple from outside

 

Once you reach the temple you won’t be able to guess from outside what the temple would be from inside. From outside it has an appearance like a mosque which reflects the social impact on the architecture of that era.

When you enter the temple premises from the first few steps the saga of magical carvings starts.

carvings at the entrance steps

Sculptures at the entrance steps

 

Normally Nandi idol is outside the Shiva temple but in this one you will find a big one inside the temple. It is huge and beautiful ornaments are carved on it.

Nandi idol

On the walls there are carvings from Ramayan, Mahabharat etc. The most prominent scenes like Draupadi Swayamwar, Mahabharat war, Shriram Bharat meeting, Kidnapping of Seeta by Ravan,Churning of the ocean etc.

Draupadi Swayamwar

Draupadi Swayamwar(Mahabharat)

 

Bheem fighting with elephants

Bheem fighting with elephants ( Mahabharat)

 

Bhishma on bed of arrows

Bhishma on bed of arrows , Pandavas sitting beside him

Ram and Bharat Meeting

Ram and Bharat Meeting (Ramayana)

 

Samudramanthan

Samudramanthan (Churning of the Ocean)

 

It also has Ganesh, Shankar and Vishnu in Female form.

 

Idols in female form

Idols of Ganesh, Shankar, Vishnu


Each pillar, each carving is unique. Even the borders of each carving are decorated with different designs. On pillars we saw different carvings of Bells, flowers and even inverted cobras (which was quite popular during 12 and 13th century)

 

Elephants on pillars

Elephants on the pillars

Ceiling carving at the entrance

Carvings

In the Pradakshina marg one would see a beautiful light and shadow effect. It gives an individuality to each and every sculpture.

Inside the temple

Bell, Cobra and flower design

Darpan Sundari

Darpan Sundari(Lady admiring herself in mirror)

There is a sculpture of group of artists playing various intruments like flute, Mridangam, Pakhwaj, Shehnai etc. One could understand that there was great recognition, appreciation and respect for art in different forms.

Musicians

Musicians

While we were appreciating the beauty of the sculptures it was causing immense pain to see deformed idols. What wonder the temple would have created if it was intact with all the carvings???

Deformed sculptures

Deformed sculptures

Once you enter the sanctum sanctorum the scene is completely different. All the materialistic emotions of life are displayed outside and once inside the temple there is not even a single carving denoting complete detachment and renunciation of the material world.

Shivling

 

There is also a story associated with this temple that if you offer a pack of Pedhas to this Shivling and keep that pack below the mask of Shiva at least one Pedhha disappears. It is said that many people have experienced this. We have not tried it so can’t comment anything about this.

This place is very much crowded during Mahashivratri and Shravani Somwar but on rest of the days very few people visit this temple. The care taker told us that they are getting different information from different sources. They are collecting it and planning to put a board outside for visitors to get some information.

If you climb down about 50 steps you will reach a water storage of ancient times. It is covered with rocks so water is stored there from many years and very less evaporation takes place. There is also a Shivling here. If you peep inside you will see different compartments of water. Those different compartments might have been used for different purposes like drinking, cleaning, washing clothes etc.

Water storage

It is a unique place where intricately carved sculptures will surely take your breath away. I would recommend that you make a complete one day trip to visit this place and study it in detail. Do take a powerful torch with you to admire the real grandeur of the carvings.

One would simply wonder at the marvelous piece of art the sculptors have created. They have infused life into the life less stones. It is a must visit for art lovers.

Nagkanya

Quick Notes:

Location: Near Yawat on Pune Solapur road about 53 Kms from Pune

Visiting hours : From 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Take care of the last two sharp turns and most important take a powerful torch with you to observe the sculptures in detail.

Do visit Kanchan hotel on your way back (On main highway). It is a beautiful place with innovative interior and earthen decor. Good place to have snacks.

Sarasbaug

 

Sarasbaug Devdeveshwar sansthan

In Pune every Punekar has a deep faith on either Sarasbaug Ganapati or Dagadusheth Halawai Ganapati. Every age group has a reason to visit this place. There are regular morning walkers, children, youngsters, women just everyone.

Sarasbaug is located on Bajirao Road very near to Swargate, one of the major bus stands of Pune. It is very close to Nehru Cricket stadium.

There is a parking area just opposite the temple. An overbridge connects the parking area with the garden. From this overbridge you can get a beautiful view of Parvati hills.

Parvati hills view

On entering the garden you need to climb down few steps. You will see a small artificial waterall . Nice spot for clicking photos.

sarasbaug waterfall

 

From here you may head straight to the temple. On the temple foot steps we saw an artist drawing Ganesha picture by using different names. There is also an artist who makes small Ganapati idols using Areca nuts(Supari). Don’t forget to take one with you on your way back as a souvenir or blessing what ever you may call it.

Sarasbaug Entrance footsteps

 

History of this place:

Shimant Nanasaheb Peshwe started Devdeveshwar Sansthan as per the orders of his mother Kashibai. In the year 1750 during his tenure he gave orders to construct an artificial lake along the Ambil stream near the Parvati foothills. While creating the lake 25000 square feet island was kept to construct temple and garden later.

Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshawe

Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwe

 

This lake was used for boating. This lake was also used by Peshwas for secret discussions and meetings and the person who used to row the boat was usually Habashi (African negro) who was not able to understand a single word of Local Marathi
Language.

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe and Mahadaji Shinde

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe and Mahadaji Shinde

Later Shrimant Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe constructed a small temple on the island in the year 1784 and installed Siddhivinayak Ganesh idol there. He gave a very poetic name to it Sarasbaug which reminds us of beautiful Saras birds a type of crane, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit literature.

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe Darbar 1790

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe Darbar (1790)

In the year 1966 Pune Municipal Corporation developed a park in the place of lake. This temple is popularly known as Talyatla Ganapati ( Ganesha in the Lake)

The temple is beautiful and airy. The marble flooring and red columns make the temple look fascinating. Lanterns surrounding the temple enhance its beauty. Inside the temple Ganesh Stotra (Atharvshirsh and Falashruti) is inscribed.

Like the other temples you won’t normally find long queues here except on Major celebration days like Ganesh Jayanti and Sankashti Chaturthi. So normally darshan is very peaceful and no pushing and rushing required.

Sarasbaug temple interior

At 5:30 AM daily Panchamrut Pooja is done. Snan of Ganesha idol and decoration with beautiful flowers takes place. This decoration is done in front of the devotees and then Sansthan aarti takes place. After that around 6:40 AM devotees do aarti in chorus.Evening aarti takes place at 7:15 PM which is performed by a group of devotees.

They also arrange beautiful musical programs during various auspicious days.

Maghi Jayanti

Maghi Ganesh Jayanti Program

Just behind the temple there is a collection of various Ganesha idols on display. Earlier there used to be a nominal charge for visiting this display but now it is completely free.

It is a great visiting place. It has a huge garden. Children enjoy playing and running in the vast expanses of this garden. Children can enjoy themselves by buying colourful balls just for Rs.20 and playing them. The lake, though not very clean provides the right environment for aqua life. Please avoid throwing any food items in the water or don’t try to feed the fish.

Sarasbaug lake

 

Adjacent to Sarasbaug is Peshwe Park Urja Udyan which has a collection adventure games.

I remember going to Sarasbaug for celebrating full moon night (Kojagiri). It was a great experience.

Sarasbaug entrance steps

 

We always blame the government for not cleaning public places unfortunately we are the ones creating lot of garbage, throwing the wrappers of balls, plastic bottles, unfinished food items, papers etc on the lawn and making the place inelegant. It really feels bad. Every evening you get to see this garbage picture in Sarasbaug though they have kept dustbeens at every 5 metres distance.But one very good thing is when you visit the place next morning its completely clean. Thanks a lot to these cleaners and sweepers. Wish we could learn something from them.

Sarasbaug park

 

I remember visiting this temple every year during Diwali on Narakchaturdashi day. We used to get ready and wear new clothes and head straight to the temple early morning. The atmosphere used to be not just holy but it was a simple bliss.

Every visit to Sarasbaug leaves us calm yet energetic for rest of the routine.

Temple interior

Quick facts:

Open from 5.30 AM to 9:00PM

Location : Near Swargate bus depot and Nehru stadium.

Entry : Free

Parking : Limited parking space available opposite the temple.( Best way to visit will be to catch an auto from your place and visit it)

 

 

Ramdara

 

Picturesque view of Ramdara

Has it ever occurred to you that you plan to go somewhere and suddenly a plan changes and you get to visit a different place all together? This is how our Ramdara trip happened. My friend had mentioned to me about this place earlier but got a chance to visit this one very recently. It is about 26 km from Pune.

To Visit Ramdara you need to follow Pune Solapur road. You will pass through Hadapsar, Manjari , National Research Centre for grapes etc. On the way you will see HP fuel tanks on the left hand side while going from Pune. You need to cross one bridge and immediately after the bridge take a right turn into Loni village.

On the way to Ramdara

Loni Kalbhor Village

You need to pass through the village to reach there. On entering the village you are greeted by  Ambernath vegetable market. You need to go inside for about 5.7 Km. Inside the village surprisingly there is a cement road though narrow. There are different shops on both sides. Once you cross the village a dirt road (kaccha road) will start.

The journey from here till Ramdara was a nature lover’s delight. There were fields on either sides capturing our attention. We saw Cabbage, Cauliflower, Coriander, Fenugreek fields. Also Sugarcane and Banana plantation were seen.

Fields on the way

Fields on the way to Ramdara

There is a slight slope and 2 sharp turns. Then you will reach an entrance arch welcoming you into the temple and its surroundings. On entering we saw huge trees of various types and greenery was in the air.

Entrance Arch Ramdara

It is a great place to go with family and have your food in the shadow of a tree.You can relish  the beauty of  nature but you don’t have to worry about your safety and security. That’s a nice feeling.

Dashawatar

There is a small temple like structure where 10 incarnations of Vishnu (Dashawatar) i.e.Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasinha, Vaman, Parshuram, Ram, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki are sculpted. It has been protected by grill in order to keep it safe, secure and clean.

Inside the main temple there are idols of Shreeram, Sita and Lakshman and in the same inner sanctum there is  a Shivling. In the temple, 15th Chapter of Bhagvad Geeta is inscribed on the wall in which God Krishna explains the Purushottam Yog: The realization of the ultimate truth. Surrounding this temple beautiful and colourful sculptures are present of various saints and sages such as Surdas, Kabir,Guru Nanak, Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Tulasidas, Swami Vivekanand, Shankaracharya, Narad, Valmiki, Vyas etc.

Main temple Ramdara

Ramdara Temple Nandi

This temple is surrounded by water from three sides, Just outside the temple few coconut trees are seen.

Ramdara temple with surrounding water

There is a picturesque nature trail circling the temple. You would get to see various birds like Coppersmith Barbet, Orange headed ground thrush, Black winged kite, Oriental white eye, Plum headed Parakeete,. There are sit outs/ huts like structures made to sit and observe the beauty of nature. We also observed the nests of weaver birds. Water body attracts many types of cranes, swans and ducks as well. A Massive tamarind tree was seen covered fully with mouthwatering tamarinds.

Sitouts at Ramdara

weaver nests at Ramdara

Children have a gala time when they are amidst the nature and we also set them free. Kids and adults can enjoy themselves by climbing on trees.

Ramdara ducks

On many trees artificial softwood nests were attached. Those were used by birds for laying eggs. This place is a good collage of flora and fauna.

There are 2 small snacks outlet where you can get chips, water and other snacks like missal, Vada pav etc. But the real fun is to carry your homemade food in a picnic basket and enjoy eating it in the lap of nature.

Ramdara Temple interior

Quick Facts:
Open on: All days from 6 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fee: Free
Location: Pune Solapur Road near Loni kalbhor
Best time to visit : Dawn and Dusk( as you would get to see many birds and ideal for taking photos as well.)

 

Aga Khan Palace

Aga Khan Palace  EntranceHistory of this place:
Aga Khan Palace is situated on Pune Nagar highway near Bund garden. It is now known as Gandhi national memorial. It was built in 1892 by 3rd Aga Khan , Sultan Mohammad Shah Aga khan. It served as a source of employment to the famine struck villagers in the nearby area. It took about five years to complete the place of this work and around 1000 people were employed here at that time. The total cost incurred was about 12 Lakhs. The palace covers of about 19 acres of area out of which 7 acres is built up. This palace has Italian arches architecture and superb corridors.

Corridors at Aga Khan

Corridors at Aga Khan Palace

Corridors
In 1969 Prince Karim El Hussenum Agakhan IV came to India and donated this palace with surrounding land to Government of India Gandhi smarak Nidhi, New Delhi  in memory of Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy.

Aga Khan Palace view

Aga Khan Palace

Importance of this Place:

In 1942 during Quit India movement Gandhiji was arrested in Mumbai and was brought to Aga Khan palace at Pune on 9th August 1942. He was kept here along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai and few other prominent freedom fighters like Sarojini Naidu. Gandhiji  was interened here for 21 months , and was released on 6th may 1944.  Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai expired at this place so this place has tremendous historical importance. Kasturba expired on 22nd February 1944.

Kasturba and Gandhiji

Statues of kasturba and Gandhiji

Statue of Gandhiji and Kasturba

Statue of Gandhiji and Kasturba

Now this place has a museum which comprises of five halls. In the first hall big statues of Gandhiji and Kasturbaji are kept. In the other halls one can see an assortment of Gandhiji’s clothes, utensils,slippers, his writing desk, bed, Kasturba Gandhi’s saree and other personal items. There is also a letter written by Gandhiji to his secretary Mahadev Desai whom he always thought as his younger brother. This place has various old photos and paper cuttings related to Gandhiji on display. Photos of Gandhiji’s visits with Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, Maharshi Karve in Pune have been displayed.

The rooms where Kasturba and Mahadev Desai were interened have been well preserved.

Mahadev desai's room

Mahadev Desai’s room

I would like to mention few things about Kasturba.

Kasturba Gandhi was a great wife of a great person, wife of our father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba was six months elder to her husband. She suffered a lot due to Mahatmaji’s thoughts on simple living. Once in Africa she was severely ill and had to be operated. But Gandhiji did not allow her to go to the hospital and she was operated at the doctor’s house without giving chloroform. What a courage and strength! She participated in Satyagraha (non violent resistance)  with Gandhiji in India and Africa.By nature she was mature and always tried to find a way without any sort of aggression.A great salute to this patient and broad minded lady.

Kasturba and Mahadev Desai Samadhis

Kasturba and Mahadev Desai Samadhis

In the same campus there are samadhi’s or marble memorials of Kasturba and Mahadev Desai and a small amount of Gandhiji’s ashes is kept near these samadhis.

Mahatma Gandhi Marble memorial

This palace has a beautiful and well maintained garden. This place is often visited by families with their kids. I also saw many foreigners visiting this place.

Aga Khan Palace

Aga Khan Palace

Gandhi National memorial

Though they have mentioned about the library I was not able to locate it. Also the khadi shop was not open sadly so was not able to see the things kept there for sale.

This palace has been declared as a protected monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Aga khan Palace steps

Quick Facts:
Open on: All days from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fee: Rs.5 for Indian Nationals above 15 years age/ for Foreigners Rs.100
Location: Pune Nagar Road near Bishops Co Ed school
Parking space: Sufficient inside the campus

Mahatma Phule Museum

Last month we got an opportunity to visit Mahatma Phule Museum located on Ghole road in Pune. I had never visited it earlier though the edifice had always captured my attention.

Phule Museum.

Mahatma Phule Museum

The Phule Museum is a must see for an engineering student. Most of them have not visited it (including me) though.
To welcome you at the entrance gate is a Howitzer gun (Cannon) made in 1859 in Kazipoor Bengal.

Howitzer Cannon

Howitzer Cannon

On entering you see a half statue of Mahatma Phule. This museum was established in 1875 after an industrial exhibition. It was named as Lord Reay Museum. It was earlier located in the Phule market tower. The new building was built in 1964 at Ghole road and in 1968 it was named after the great social reformer Mahatma Jotiba Phule.

 

Mahatma Phule statue

Mahatma Jotiba Phule

Currently there are different sections like
Industry and engineering: The things to see here are Hydro electric system model with external line, Model of area irrigated by Neera canals from Bhatghar dam. It’s a huge layout with the model starting from the Arabian sea. There is also a model of Koyna Hydro electric scheme, Model of steam engine, model of sugar mill, model of coconut oil mill model of peanut oil mill, Industrial uses of electricity, display of different ball and roller bearing samples.

 

Model of Sugar mill

Model of a Sugar mill

sectional model of steam engine

Steam Engine

 

Geology and Minerals: Rocks, stones and minerals collected from different parts of India are displayed in this section.

different rocks and stones

Rocks and Stones

 

stone age weapons

Stone age weapons

Fossils

Craft and Small Scale Industries: This section has art in white marble, art in grass and leaves, art of brass ware, art in bronze and copper ware, different types of leather, paper mache work, art in bidariware, wood carvings, chinaware, art in ivory, stone age weapons, fossils, intricate stone carvings, art in bamboo ware and clay .They have displayed old photos of forts like Raigad, Pratapgad, Chakan etc.

 

warli village

Warli Village

Warli village model

Warli Village

wood carving.jpg

Wood Carving

Art in Bronze and Copperware

Armory: Different types of weapons, guns rifles of Mughal and Maratha empire. Also few weapons of British soldiers of Shivaji’s era. It also includes collection of swords, shield and mail.

swords and shield

Swords and Shield

Rifles

Rifles

Farming and Forestry: This section displays improved agricultural implements, indigeneous agricultural implements, Insects on crops, different uses of coconut tree, Gobar gas model. Different birds, animals and marine fishes are displayed. Beekeeping is explained with the help of chart and models. We also noted huge skull of an elephant and horns of a bull. There is a huge skin of crocodile killed in 1870 which is kept at the entrance showcase.

Elephant Skull

Elephant Skull

 

equipments used for farming

Equipment used  for farming

Few other attractions at this place are marble statue of Edward VIII Prince of Wales and a huge bell weighing 300 kg.

300Kg bell

Huge bell

They also have a small garden where botanical trees are planted. Many schools have their field trips there. There is a huge library on the top floor where mostly the students of MPSC and UPSC come and study.

It is in all a great industrial museum with good models and charts. It is a must visit for metallurgy, agriculture, mechanical and other science students. Sadly during my two visits to the museum I was not accompanied by any other visitor. Such a vast treasure of information is still not able to reach the entire mass population of Pune. I came to know that many schools arrange their field trips to this museum and give project assignments based on the museum. But sadly most of the citizens of Pune have not yet visited it and not explored the immense benefit of this place.

The museum could be maintained in a better way and it could be kept clean and updated with new models and charts. It can make use of new technology to attract people. The display area could also be properly lit in order to achieve the desired impression.

Museum entrance

 

 

Quick Facts:
Open on: All days from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Entry fee: Rs.10
Location: Ghole road, Pune
Parking space: Sufficient inside the campus

Sambhaji Maharaj Samadhi : Tulapur,Vadhu

Situated at about 27 km from Pune, on the Pune Nagar highway, Tulapur tells the great story of valour and sacrifice of second chatrapati of Marathas Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Great Maratha King Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

From the main Nagar road highway we need to take a left turn at Lonikand. After taking a left turn you would see the electric receiving station of Lonikand. Keep following the same road. You would see few companies and hotels on the way. After about five kilometers from the highway you would see a board pointing in the right direction saying Samadhi of Sambhaji Maharaj.

Though the inner road leading to Samadhi is very narrow (at a time only a single four wheeler can enter) there is ample space for parking two wheelers and four wheelers inside. The entrance gate is beautifully made.

Tulapur Entrance Gate

Entrance gate Tulapur

On entering the premises you are greeted by a book stall. It has most of the books about forts, Shivaji Maharaj and his great soldiers and about many other great leaders.

There is a big statue of Sambhaji Maharaj and on our recent visit we saw the compound work around this statue was in progress.

Sambhaji Maharaj statue Tulapur

Sambhaji Maharaj statue Tulapur

I remember visiting this place 15 years ago. There was hardly anyone at this place that time. Today a good number of people visit it. There is a beautiful Shiva temple Sangameshwar made up of stone.The name is given since there is confluence of three rivers Bhama, Bhima and Indrayani. The temple has a spacious courtyard and it is very clean. Inside one can see idols of Vitthal Rukhmini and Ganesh which is made up of single stone and dates back to 1633.

Sangameshwar Mandir

Sangameshwar Mandir

ganesh Murti

Ganesh Murti

The Shivaling is present in the inner sanctum. The entrance arch of inner sanctum is magnificently carved with typical garland designs and triangles at the base.

The surroundings of this temple are kept clean. When we came out of the temple we saw few vegetable hawkers selling fresh vegetables from their farms at reasonable pricing.

sangameshwar mandir1

sangameshwar mandir

Inner sanctum Sangameshwar

Inner sanctum Sangameshwar

Near the temple is the Tomb of Kavi Kalash. He was brutally tortured and killed at this place. He was the real friend of Sambhaji Maharaj who was with him till the end. Even after the brutal torture he did not stop praising Sambhaji Maharaj, Aurangzeb had his throat cut.

Kavi Kalash Samadhi Tulapur

Kavi Kalash Samadhi Tulapur

On the other side of temple is the Samadhi of Sambhaji Raje. Inside the room is a half statue of Sambhaji Maharaj. It is kept clean and worshipped daily. Around this statue few paintings related to Tulapur history are shown. There is also a picture of Sambhaji Maharaj which was obtained from the British Library in London.

Sambhaji Maharaj Samadhi Tulapur

Sambhaji Maharaj Samadhi Tulapur

There is a small canteen near the Samadhi were one can have snacks. There is also a boat ride facility available.

I have a sincere request to all the visitors to maintain the sanctity of this place and not making this place a picnic spot for entertainment.

Sambhaji Maharaj was brutally tortured and killed by Aurangzeb. He was asked to surrender his forts, treasures and names of Mughal collaborators who helped Marathas. But he stood tall, faced all torture and refused to convert to Islam and help Aurangzeb in any way.

confluence of 3 rivers

confluence of 3 rivers

Sambhaji maharaj statue Vadhu

Sambhaji maharaj statue Vadhu

On the other side of the river bank, is the village called Vadhu. To reach there you will again have to come back to the highway and take a left turn, go for about 2 kms and take a left turn again when you see the board Shikrapur Police chowky. After going inside for about 3 km you will also see a board saying Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Samadhi. Go straight inside it you will reach Maharani Yesubai entrance gate.

sambhaji Maharaj samadhi Vadhu

sambhaji Maharaj samadhi Vadhu

It is said that Aurangzeb killed Sambhaji Maharaj and threw his body parts in the river. Vadhu villagers collected it and gave fire to it as per the Hindu rituals. There is a tomb of Sambhaji Maharaj and Kavi Kalash here. There is a big statue of Sambhaji maharaj as well. At Vadhu a big hall has been constructed and paintings depicting important incidences of Sambhaji’s life are displayed. We also saw a picture of Sambhaji Maharaj’s  rajamudra (royal seal) over there. This place can be visited from 7:00AM to 7:00 PM on all days.

Sambhaji Rajamudra Vadhu

Sambhaji Rajamudra Vadhu

Sambhaji Maharaj was great scholar of Brij and Sanskrit language.He was valiant king who stood in front of huge army of 5 lakh mughal soldiers of Aurangzeb with his own smaller army. He fought bravely with Aurangzeb for 8 years and never lost any important fort or any ship. He was the first king who tried to build a bridge in sea in order to capture invincible Janjira. He sacrificed his life at the age of 32 for the protection of his religion and his countrymen.

Great Salute to this Maratha King!

Pataleshwar Caves : Must visit in Pune

The mountains and beaches have their own charm but there is something about the temples which enchants you by taking you into a world of their own.

Pataleshwar Caves of Pune are Situated on a Super busy Junglee Maharaj road between Modern college chowk and Engineering college ground. It is a must visit for every visitor to Pune city and every Punekar. It is a rock cut cave temple of 8th Century AD of Rashtrakut Dynasty.

NandiSabhamandap_Pataleshwar

Nandi Mandap

When you enter you see two short columns on both the sides of about 2 feet height. Both the columns have different designs and no symmetry, so one cannot predict if they were part of the entrance gate. Located a few footsteps ahead is a huge banyan tree. Whenever I visit this temple a feeling of calmness and peace always touches my heart.

Banyan_tree_compressed

This temple was carved in a single stone. You need to climb down a few steps to enter the temple. One can see a beautiful Nandi Idol of stone on the left hand side. You must take a few minutes to appreciate the nice ornament carvings on it. It is situated under a Champa tree. When visited during Spring and Rainy season one can see the natural shower of Champa flowers on this Nandi Idol.

Nandi_Pataleshwarcompressed

Nandi Idol

In the centre is a Nandi mandap. It is simple canopy structure and Nandi is at the centre. This Nandi Idol is worshiped daily. After this Nandi Mandap a small cave based on four columns is seen on the left hand side. In the ancient times this might have been used by the travelers.

Cave_compressed

Cave

When you enter the main temple you can see its structure made up of 60 square columns 10 columns in each row. After entering the main temple some unfinished carvings can be seen on both the sides.

unfinished carvings_compressed

Unfinished Carving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saripat_compressed

Saripaat

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the floor one can see Saripaat (ancient board game) carved. Also few flower and leaf carvings are found on the floor. The temple is carved out of Basalt rock.

flowerleaf_compressed

Carvings on the floor

In the inner sanctum (garbhgruha) the Shivaling can be seen. It is worshiped daily. Simple carvings are seen at the top of the door. Also one can see Monster mask (Kirtimukh) carved on the entrance step of the sanctum like all other lord Shiva temples. This monster is believed to be eating all our sins.

inner sanctum_compressed

Inner Sanctum

On the left and right of the Shivaling are the Idols of goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesh. While taking Pradakshina one can see idols of Lord Shriram, Sita and Lakshman carved in white stone and Lord Hanuman in front.

RamSitaLakshaman_compressed

Idols of Shreeram,Sita and Lakshman

Unfortunately this temple was not completed. One can see completed columns and incomplete ones and can understand the difference very easily. This is supposedly because of a fault line identified behind the main temple which may have made entire structure unstable if carved further.

This temple Patal (Underground) Ishwar (god) is frequently visited by foreigners. This place is under the control of Archaeological survey of India. This place has tremendous importance for students of Architecture, History, Archaeology and Geology.

It is indeed a pride of every Punekar.

The Journey Begins

Being a travel enthusiast I love traveling whenever I get time and I escape the hustle and bustle of the city. My heart runs in search of greenery and peace. It is sometimes the ancient temple architecture that fascinates me or sometimes it is the cool and swift flow of a river that soothes my nerves.

Given a chance I would love visiting all places of historical importance and natural treasures. This blog is about my feelings, experiences and expressions.