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.
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.
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).
Now Bhuleshwar temple comes under the Archaeological survey of India and is a protected monument.
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.
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.
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.
It also has Ganesh, Shankar and Vishnu in Female form.
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)
In the Pradakshina marg one would see a beautiful light and shadow effect. It gives an individuality to each and every sculpture.
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.
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???
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.
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.
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.
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.