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.

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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

 

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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!