Walkabout @ the Magnificent Bhuleshwar Temple
December came and went with lots of overtime work! As it was the year end, there was a lot of rush in work. Many clienteles called last minute, ordered changes with final submissions on short notice. But, I am not complaining as it comes with the job of being an entrepreneur!
At home, usually on weekends, in addition to performing daily chores, you will find me cuddling with my sugar-pie (my daughter Kiara). It’s too cold in Pune anyway to be going anywhere…hail 8 degrees!!
The Journey to Bhuleshwar Temple
So it came as a complete surprise that my friend, Siddharth called me this Saturday and told me we were going for a trip to a religious temple around 40 km from Pune.
He said the location was a Shiva temple on Pune-Solapur road and that the Winter season was ideal for visiting.
It’s really difficult to convince me on a very morning without any planning (esp. trekking) on a weekend, but when informed it had architecture from medieval India, I was prepped up and ready in an instant!
We initially planned to go by Car, however being just two, we preferred going by bike. Also, you can’t get enough ‘feel’ of the trip unless you go by bike!
We left Pune at 10 am and set off on the Pune-Solapur National Highway 9.
In Loni Kalbhor, you will see many mechanical industries and petrol pumps along the way.
12 kms after Loni Kalbhor, you enter Uruli Kanchan village, officially “Sugar Country”. You will see many sugarcane factories, and naturally, many dhabas selling jaggery, ‘Kakvi’ (molasses) and organic sugarcane syrup.
The Bhuleshwar exit lies just after a Toll Junction to the right. This junction lies after Uruli Kanchan village and before Yavat village, but inside Yavat jurisdiction.
Just before turning right to the Bhuleshwar exit (seen by a green road post), there are many dhabas on the left in Uruli. For those who consider themselves ‘chaat connoisseurs’, you have to try the bhel offered here!
It is about 6 kms on the exit till you reach the temple, but this route is very scenic with lots of hilly terrain.
This road also goes to Jejuri temple. On the road, you will see many agro-tourism facilities and horticulture farms.
We trekked up from the base of the ghat that leads to the temple. As you enter the temple surroundings, you get a glimpse of the beautiful architecture in the form of statues on the outer walls, and a huge medieval bell. Inside the temple, the play of light makes for an interesting phenomenon for photographers and art enthusiasts alike.
The site boasts of mythological importance. Since ancient times, it was a fort called ‘Mangalgadh’. It is said that goddess Parvati danced for Lord Shiva and from here they went to Kailash for marriage.
It sees lots of crowds during the Mahashivratri occasion.
Built in the 13th century, the temple on top of a hill boasts of beautiful stone carvings on the walls.
The temple has been declared by the Archeological Survey of India as protected.
The fort was built by the Yadava rulers in 1629 after they looted Pune.
There are depictions of apsaras and the Kurukshetra war (Mahabharata) and Ramayana on its walls.
The temple also houses a Ganesha idol in female attire known as Lambodari, Ganeshwari or Ganeshyani.
It is said that that the sweetmeats offered to the deities during evening (7 pm) aarti mysteriously disappear!
Such is the splendor and aura of this place, that I would recommend at least 3 hours looking at the architecture inside the temple. However, broken and shattered sculptures bear witness to the consequent battles between Mughals and Marathas.
Peshva’s guru and the guru of Satar’s Shahu Shree Brahmendra Swami renovated the temple in 18th century.
They reconstructed the 3 pinnacles of temple, nagharkhana and the front halls.
We saw a lot of newly married/engaged couples here!
There were many unmarried lovebirds as well. We later learned that this place is also known unofficially as the ‘Love Temple’.
Speaking of birds, the surroundings are full of many avian species. This area and the surrounding Narayanbet (15 kms from here) witnesses many bird migrations especially during the summer. The spot is hence visited by avid bird-watchers.
Nearby Bhuleshwar, there are many Places to visit like Theur Ganapati Mandir, Ramdara Temple and Jejuri Temple.
If you are visiting this site, make sure to bring plenty of water with you.
Although you may get plenty of water over here, the quality of water is not that good.
Also, if you go from 12pm to 4pm, you can feast on the tasty PRASAD. It usually consists of rice, one sabji and one sweet.
It was 4.30 pm and we decided to return back. We could have stayed at this mystical place for days…and still not gotten enough of its grandeur! While returning we stopped at a table-top at the bottom of the temple and had a taste of the rural landscape. We reached back to Pune at around 7 pm.
Bhuleshwar is one of the best models of contemporary experiments done in any temple architecture in Maharashtra.
Though very less study has been done till now and the main temple is partially destroyed; existing remains can help and support to study the temple and surroundings.
Still, modern haphazard amendments to the place without any aesthetic perspective can be easily identified today.
At the end of the day, we felt rejuvenated and refreshed after visiting this mystical place.
It really was like going back in time and touching a piece of the medieval Yadava dynasty in Pune!
Bhuleshwar is really the converging point of two contrasts – the commercial reality with the mystical dream…we can certainly say it’s God’s own playground!