Panchavati, Nasik

"Welcome to City of Pilgrimage" is with what Nasik(or Nashik) welcomes you when you reach their by road. It was my third day of Shirdi/Nasik trip (See blog for Shirdi & Trimbakeshwar covered in first two days). Nasik is one of the most holiest places in India and is sacred as it is in this place Lord Rama along with Devi Sita and brother Laxman spent their part of the exile period and has witnessed several mythological events. Its is one of the four cities which hosts Kumbha Mela which occurs every after 12 years (next is on 2015). Legend has that during Sagar Manthan the Demigods while they tried to hide the Nector of Immortality from the demons, four drops fell onto the four location on the earth (other location are Prayag,Haridwar and Ujjain). Thus these four places are believed to have acquired mystic power and hosts the Meha Kumbha Mela every after 12 years ("Kumbha" means "Pot of Nector" and "Mela" means festival) where dates are calculated depending upon the certain planetary positions. In the medieval era several temples where built by devotees along the bank of river Godavari. 

The name Panchavati it got is from the five banyan tree present in the vicinity where Lord Ram and Sita spent their exile period. The name Nasik also has a legend, during exile period Laxman (brother of Shri Ram) cut off Shupernakha's Nose (In Sanskrit Nose means "Nasik") and throws it on other side of the river Godavari (Ganga) which then christened as "Nasik" or "Nashik". Thus on one side of the sacred river is known as Nasik while other side where five banyan tree is known as Panchavati. Various legends are associated with each of the places here and its to be noted that Lord Rama hasn't consecrated any of the Idols during his exile period here though some of the priests here falsely claims that some Shivlingams are consecrated by Lord Rama himself. Most of the temples falls in Panchavati province where only one or two resides other side of the river Godavari i.e. in Nasik.

Ram Kund
As the names says its a Kund (pond) on the river Godavari in Panchavati where Lord Ram is said to have taken bath. Its the place where one immerse the mortal remains (Arthi) and is said to be absorbed in the river quickly. It is also the place where according to Hindu rituals one performs Shrad's of their beloveds. At the very place is the sangam of three rivers Aruna, Varuna and the Godavari. Aruna/Varuna is said to be coming from underneath whereas Godavari flows on top of them. Its here where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed and to commorate the same Ghandi Memorial (the tall tower in the pic) was built along side the bank, underneath is where Idols of Shri Ram is installed. Just adjacent to Ram Kund is temple of Devi Ganga and Sai Baba. You will get plenty of guides (authorized) so without wasting time I hired one old age person who was born there and is almost 70 years old by now. Interestingly at several occasions I find very discriminating facts about what he told and what priests are believing. Thus you always needs to cross examine the facts with other sources (off-course only if you are interested else you will end up cascading the story which might not be 100% true)

Kapaleshwar Temple 
Just in front of Ram Kund is the Shiva Temple called "Kapaleshwar", Its around 250 years old and probably the only temple in the world where Nandi Idol is not placed in front of the Shivlingam. The very reason is it is at this place where Lord Shiva considered Nandi as his master. Legend behind this is, Lord Shiva incurred a sin (Brahma Hatya) by cutting off one of the Lord Brahma's head (fifth head). Shiva wandered the whole universe and tried every possible penance to get rid of this sin but all went into vain. Then Nandi advised him to take holy bath in Godavari which he followed and was purified (this is what told by my guide). Other sources relates this sin incurred by killing a cow by mistake. Whatever be the story, the bottom line is that Lord Shiva accepted Nandi as his master due to his advice, which is why we don't see Nandi Idol at its position (i.e. infront of Shivlingam).

Naroshankar Temple

This is Shiva temple built by Naroshankar Rajabahadur 1747 along side of Godavari. It is fortified by 11 feet tall stone wall on each corner of the wall is a dome like structure built, where one of them is said to be washed out by flood in Godavari river. The most noticeable thing about this temple is the 6 feet wide Bell which is fixed on top of the entrance gate of this temple. The Maratha Ruler  Bajirao Peshwa’s younger brother Chimaji Appa won the fort of Vasai  against Portuguese.After winning the  fort, Vasai Portuguese Church bell was removed, marched on elephant till Nashik with great celebration and offered to Naroshankar as a medal  - an award for  his bravery.  It is made of bronze, with six feet diameter. The year engraved on it is 1921. 
The temple is beautifully sculpted from outside and is raised on a 2 feet platform. The architect is more similar to Tirmbakeshwar temple (only the roof of sanctum sanctorum) . Photography was allowed so was able to click some. No entrance fees for any of the temple in Panchavati. The style of this architecture is called "Maya". Now the interesting part, as per the priest this temple is 10,000 year old and Shivalingam is placed by Shri Ram himself. As I said earlier you need to cross verify each legend you hear. There is no formal information inscribed anywhere in the temple which would verify the history. Whatever be the case all temples throughout Nasik seems to follow same style of architecture i.e. there are 3 domes out of which the one which houses the sanctum sanctorum is the tallest, the smallest is for the entrance and the middle is of the hall/space in front of sanctum sanctorum and is in circular dome shape from inside. 

Neelkantheshwar Temple
Its a Shiva temple on the river side, didn't get much information about this temple.

Dutondaya Maruti Hanuman
It has Idol on both side of the structure I didn't know that earlier and thus only showing the Idol of one side. On side of wall there is a painted water meter to measure the level of water during flood. It is believed that flood no matter at what level it never touches or raise upto or above the Idol head. (my guide didn't mention this :-( so again discrepancy in facts). 

Sunder Narayan Mandir
It is situated in one end of the Devi Ahilliyabai Holkar bridge (from where I shot the panoramic pic, first pic). Its a Lord Vishnu's temple and why its named as "Sunder" is because he was once become ugly by the curse given by Jalandar's (wicked Demon) wife Vrinda. Due to curse Lord Vishnu turned black and ugly. He then took bath in Godavari and thus was relieved from the curse and regained his beauty again. So many temples along the bank of Godavari so does the legends of it.
The temple is built by Gangadhar Yashwant Chandrachud in 1756. One remarkable thing about this temple is that it is built at such an angle that on 21st March, rays of the rising Sun first fall exactly upon the idols. Some sources says the rays falls on the foot of deity. 

Kalaram Mandir
Its Ram temple and named KalaRam ("Kala" means Black). The temple is built in the remembrance of the exile period of Ram during which his complexion became dark (this is as per my guide). This is the only biggest temple of Lord Ram in Nasik and is built by Sardar Odhekar of Peshwas with black stones brought from Ramshej 200 years back. It took 23 lakhs and around 2000 workers to build this temple in 12 years. The Apex of the temple is made up of 32 tons of Gold which is said to be gifted by Devi Aahilliya. Its a massive temple from outside and fortified with 15-20 feet wall. For the construction no cement is being used there was only three ingredients (choona, malaai and gur) used to clay the stones together. Photography was strictly prohibited though you can carry camera and mobile inside the temple. Since the Lord Ram's Idol is black here so does of Shri Hanuman. After the entrance you will step into a long varanda (or pillared corridor) at the starting of which is Hanuman's black Idol facing exactly straight to the sanctum sanctorum. This pillared structure is separate then the main temple and is constructed just in-front of it. There are total 40 pillars which are said to set because there are 40 shloka's of Shri Hanuman (i.e. Hanuman Chalisa). There is nothing else inside this structure except the Hanuman'd Idol positioned in start and the pillars which total counts to 40. Its an open architecture from the sides i.e. no closed walls. You pass through this and then will take steps to the main deity temple which is on the raised platform. There are total 14 steps to reach the temple door, 14 because Shri Ram spent 14 years in exile. All three gates of this temple has exactly 14 steps. The architecture is very much similar to of Trimbakeshwar. As I mentioned earlier most of them are following same pattern, i.e. 3 dome structure one being the tallest which houses the main deity and one medium size which is the front portion/space of the sanctum sanctorum and the smallest in the front i.e. of the entrance door. The fortified wall has pillars too which total counts to 90, it has some reason for 90 but unfortunately I forgot what was that. On the back side of this temple is a Lord Ganesh idol with a stone platform just enough to enclose this Idol. No separate guide or information brochure available, but it appearance is too aesthetic similar to Trimbakeshwar. This temple is thronged during hindu festivals like Ram Navami etc and probably the only temple (there is one more) where Lord Ram is enshrined in black stone. As per my guide the Idols are self emerged from the Godavari and since it was black in color so the temple was named as KalaRam.

GoreRam Temple
As the name says "Gore" (fair) the Idol inside is of Lord Rama fair in color. This temple is not a conventional one but resides inside a apartment like structure. The peculiarity of this temple is that it is made up of complete wood i.e. only the portion which shrines Lord Ram along with Laxman and Devi Sita. This is around 300 years old and the wood is still intact and has retained its strength. This was built to commemorate Lord's return from exile after killing the daemon Ravana and  rescuing Devi Sita. Lord was resurrected as King and Rajya Abhishek was carried out. The process has made his complexion fair from dark so the Idol was made white in color and thus named the temple as Gore Ram.

Sita Gumpha(Sita Cave)

Just adjacent to KalaRam Temple is the Sita Cave, the cave which is believed to be where Devi Sita was stayed to hide herself from Demons. It was very unclear that how much the original cave differs from the today's structure. One has to literally crawl to reach the bottom of the cave (its not big though) where the three Idols of Lord Ram, Laxman and Devi Sita is shrined(not possible for obese people). Cave (though very small, you enter from one side and get off the other). In the bottom which is enough for 6-8 peoples to stand is well illuminated by mini tube light. Passing this Idol while coming up from other side is Shivlingam. History say's that its the same lingam which Devi Sita used to worship. 
Also some web site mentions this place as the very point where Devi Sita was abducted by Demon Ravan (to me its contradicting facts, since the Laxman Rekha is quite far from this place). Above pic shows one of the five banyan tree (total five banyan tree is present adjacent to each other) from which the name "Panchavati" derived. Pic on the right side is said to be Laxman Rekha which is now overflowed by municipal water (see the 2 feet wide cemented path underneath the bridge). Well you can't verify this just believe it or not. The bridge is named "Laxman Bridge".

Small area scattered over 2-3 kilometers is together called tapovan (park where Lord Ram along with Laxman meditated and performed penance). From Sita Gumpha several shared auto rickshaws are available who charges Rs 30 per head to take you around Tapovan and bring you back. usually done in 30 min (not much to see). 
I took the same and Laxman Rekha (now a under bridge water line) was the first he showed us. Passing this we reached "Katya Maruti Hanuman" temple. It houses a massive 11.5 feet of Hanuman Idol and said to be self emerged and was found on a plants full of thrones thus got its name "Katya" means "Throne" (well this is as per the priest). History/web says it is built in 1771, by Shri Raghunath Bhatt Karte. 

Laxman Temple

This is the only temple in the world devoted to Laxman (brother of Shri Ram). The tree which is been shown is where Laxman is said to have mediated. Beside this is the temple built by devotees there after. It is believed that this is the very place where Laxman has cut off the nose of Surphanaka.

Adjacent to this temple is Shri Ram ParnKutir (Shri Ram's cottage) where Shri Ram is said to have performed penance for one year during his exile. 

Laxmi Narayan Temple 
This is few meters further from Shri Ram Parnkutir and Sages visit this temple during Kumbha Mela.
We are done roaming this area in 40 min, after which we are back to Sita Gumpha from where we boarded auto rikshaw. There are plenty others to see eg Pandav Cave which resembles with Ajanta Caves, though short on time thus skipped this one. The cave is around 10 km away from panchavati and is accessible by direct public buses.
I am back to hotel room, took rest and started for Shirdi. For this you need to go Mahamaarg bus stand (10 min drive from  CBS bus stand), you will get plenty of buses as well as private Qualis riders. Same two hour journey and I am back to Shirdi from where I boarded Volvo to Hyderabad. 

Some more pics.


No need for Queen size bed @Panchavati 

For her it doesn't matter if its Holy river or not, just wanted to finish her morning chores. In fact at every end of Holy rivers in Ghat (river bank), you will find people harnessing the facility to its fullest i.e. washing clothes and bathing etc. This is near bridge which I mentioned in Sunder Ram temple above.

This is the opposite lane of Ram Kund and leads to temple KalaRam (at the end of this road, right side), GoreRam and Sita Gumpha (at the end of this road, left side). This is the very place where 35 people died and around 125 people were injured in stampede during Kumbh Mela 2003.

Trimbakeshwar Temple, Nasik

Trimbakeshwar Temple is one of the holiest and sacred place for Hindu pilgrims and is revered as a one of the 12 jyotirlinga shrins of Lord Shiva in India. The temple lies in the foothill of mountain Bhramagiri which is the origin of river Ganga (called here by name Godavari). The most attractive part of this temple is presence of 3 linga's each representing Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. All three resides in a hallow space within the Shivalingam, due to the hollowness these are not visible while you pray but through the tilted mirror which is mounted on the backside wall of the Shiva linga. This is the only temple where Shivalingam is not appearing over the ground but under. It's being said that these 3 linga's are eroding due to excess offering of water (Ganga) during puja's. Stories abound related to this temple and its name. I didn't get any concrete answers to why there are three linga's in this temple and thus so not mentioning here.

This was my second day of my Shirdi Nasik trip, yesterday after halt at Shirdi, today I headed for Nasik, Gov buses frequently routes to Nasik and usually charge Rs 80 (you have plenty of private private Qualis riders with the same price) Shirdi to Nasik is a two hour journey and is around 80-90km for Trimbakeshwar the buses are available from Nasik CBS (central bus service). Frequency is around every hour or so, 30km away from CBS, charges Rs 20 for one side. After reaching Nasik CBS I took Trimbakeshwar bus and reached the place in 45 min. The place is full of of shops, hotels and small residents. Being one of the highly sacred place, its hard to get lodges so easily and one has to plan much earlier, though Nasik being only 2 hour drive away one can opt for Nasik as well.

This temple is built by Shri Nana Saheb Peshawa in 1755-1786 AD took almost 36 years to complete it. Its is built with black stone and the Shivlingam is said to be emerged naturally. The temple is bordered with around 20-25 stone feet wall in height. Photography not allowed, you can't carry camera inside but mobile. Just in front of the temple main entrance we have two camera/mobile lockers (basically its just a shop who keeps your times). I put my camera in one of the shop paid Rs 10. Besides the main gate is the shoe stand (Rs 1 per pair). Temple is just 10 min walk from the bus stand and thus no need for auto's. Entrance gate will lead you to the queue which has logical separation of around 6-7 lines. The queue to the main temple passes through Nandi temple which is built in front of the Shiva temple, Nandi facing Shivlingam (as you know Shiva temple always has Nandi Idol where Nandi always faces Shivalingam with an exception of Kapileshwar Temple in Panchavati where Nandi is not present at its place). Nandi Idol is siting on a platform which is a foot or two in height and is carved out of white marble. Crossing this Nandi temple you step in to the Shiva temple. You enter a big hall whose roof is in dome shape from inside. The sanctum is not big and houses the main Shivlingam and three lings residing in hollow structure. We were able to see all three miniature lingam only through the mirror which I mentioned earlier.
On the left side of this temple along the outer bordered wall, there are series of compartment built in continuation each having a miniature Shivlingam. There are around 32 such compartments out of which only four had Shivling. In all of them the Nandi Idol is damaged and none of the 32 strcuture is in the complete shape. Though the whole temple is built out of black stone but the roof top of sanctum sanatorium is made out of white marble as you can see in the first pick. 

Outside the temple just in-front of entrance gate, one can see few cows self feeding the grass, there must be some story behind this which I didn't bothered to find out. People were supposed to purchase the fodder and need to feed these cows.

Just a 5 min walk away is a sacred pond called "Kushavarta" which is from where river Ganga takes here route to the rest of India. As per Hindu mythology one gets rid off of all its sin's if he he takes bath here. Story has that, Sage Gautam forced river Ganga to stall within the enchanted grass area he made and puts a vow on her. This he done so to take a holy bath in this water and to get rid of his sin for killing a cow. Sheemant Rao Sahib Parnekar built the temple around the stalled water at this place which we are seeing today. The walls inside all along the hall is inscribed by various Idols, and in all corners are some small temple. The most important fact of this pond is that it is the starting point of Kumb Mela which happens once in a 12 year and next is on 2015. Saints all over the world come to this place on the occasion of mela to take a holy bath.

There are certain time allotted by the government abiding which Saints needs to take bath. They take bath in the sequence of their seniority and once they are done then rest of normal peoples can proceed. As per the rule the sadhus (Saint) belonging to "Vaishnav" sect  will take bath in Godavari at Ram Kund, Panchavati and those belonging to "Shaiva"  sect will take bath here. Since Godavari (Ganga) flows from here and reaches at Ram Kund so both are considered pious. This rule was set by Peshawa during the time where in one of the Kumb mela these two groups fought with each other over who would take the holy bath first which resulted in hundreds of death.

Another attraction of this place is the Bhramagiri Hill, which is the origin of the river Ganga and is named here as Godavari. To reach the top of the hill one needs to go through some 700 steps and usually needs 4-5 hours to cover. It was already dawn and the idea to climb 700 steps didn't clicked me so headed back to Nasik.
Reached CBS in 45 min and took a lodge just across the bus stand at Hotel Padma. Hotel is very decent with a bar on top floor and restaurant in the ground floor. Good for family stay and cost'd me Rs 350 double bed without AC. Panchavati (main attraction of Nasik city) is just 15 min auto drive from CBS.

Some temple outside Trimbakeshwar


Well for this kid its more a swimming pool then the holy bath @Kushavarta

Shani Shingnapur

Shanaieshwar Temple at Shingnapur widely known as "Shani Shingnapur" houses the deity of Lord Shani (Lord of planet Saturn) and is the most revered temple of Shani Dev in the world. Its not a conventional temple architecture, but a single 5 feet black stone mounted on a raised platform of 3-4 feet in an open environment and I think this is the only Shani Dev temple in the world where he resides in the form of stone instead as a sculpt. 
This village lies in Ahmednagar district, a 2hour drive from Shirdi. There are no direct local buses as I know and is accessible by plenty of Qualis transporters near the temple. They charge around Rs 70-80 per head for complete return trip. You will cross a check post just around 10km before the village which will charge you Rs15 for four wheelers paid by the cab driver, Rs 2 will be levied per head on entering the village premises paid by you.

History says this deity self appeared in the form of this black stone which floated along with the flood which happened around 160 years ago in the village Shingnapur and got stuck in a tree around 150 meters away from the village. This was then spotted by a local shepherd who then tried to free it from the tree by poking it. To his surprise the stone started bleeding as a result of his act, frightened by this he notified villagers who also witnessed  this un-usual event. On consecutive days several villagers have had the similar dreams in which Lord Shani acclaimed the stone to be himself and instructed the villagers to consecrate this within the village and that too without any terrace/roof over the Idol. Villagers followed the instruction and laid down the deity on the place where it is today. Witnessing this divine event, villagers started worshiping Shani Dev and also decided to keep their home/shops doorless which is alike an open environment just like this temple which is in open environment. This become a dictate for all residents of this village to not to have any doors in any of their rooms and even toilets, be it a school, post office, shops etc none should have a door. Though for privacy they can have curtain but that too should be transparent. This dictate is followed followed only in this village, outside near by villages doesn't need to follow the same. Time has witnessed that none of the robbery has made to success though legend says that even if theft happened the culprit has become blind and the stolen articles were always came back to its place. These events has increased the belief/faith of villagers on this deity to manifold and today all of them have a singular faith in this God and are living in a belief that Shani Dev is protecting this village from any ill effect which seems to be true.

The presence of this God is felt immensely here as compared to other temples in India for the same deity. As per the stats over 25000 people visits here per day and during yatra days  this goes to over Lakhs on single day. I took a shared Maruti Omini and reached the temple in 2 hrs. 
One big market place (see pic right side) has been built for visitor where ground floors are occupied by shops and first are for lodging. As expected none of them had doors and even public toilets. These transporters have a dealing with the shopkeepers and always park their vehicle on their parking area. Shopkeeper will explain you the rituals to be performed. Rituals says, the Men if they want to pay obeisance to the deity then they need to be topless and to wear only  orange colored cloth in lungi fashion (wearing in form of Skirt, though they allow undergarments to wear). You need to take shower wearing this cloth and needs to step in the temple as wet, this market place has one public shower hall (they charge Rs 2 for that). Womens are not allowed to mount on deity platform and only can offer prayers from the distant. 
Now every regional place gives localities a tremendous opportunity for money making and this place is no exception. They have fixed puja items for Rs 100 and few others which is Rs 100+. They made it mandatory that the orange cloth only be given along with puja item and not separately. Here you are trapped since most of the visitors will not be carrying this cloth they have to buy the puja items for this cloth. The cloth will be returned back to the same shop. Mustard oil is the main puja item which is always offered to this deity and these shop keepers (who rent out the cloth) don't keep the oil, they are sold by separate shopkeepers who don't rent out cloth, so in nutshell you will paying for the cloth and the oil to two separate shopkeeper. A typical team work example in religious place.
You can keep your stuff/clothes in the cab on which you came, and yes don't worry about your valuables or wallets. None of the people in this area will dare to touch anything which doesn't belongs to them.


I took bath the wearing the lungi and headed for the temple. On left is the entrance to this temple and you can see people in orange lungi. Mobile and Camera is allowed to be carried but not photo shoot inside the premises. No entrance fee. Saturday is main day of this Deity and since I went on Friday so didn't faced much problem. Only mustard oil and flowers is offered to the Deity rest will have to be donated on the entrance itself, shown on the pic right side. There is separate queue for those who are going to offer Oil (orange clothed Men's) all others need to proceed through left most separate queue (both Womens and Mens). We proceed further and finally reached near the Idol. Offered my prayers, flowers and you need to pour oil over the Idol. Ritual has, one should not look back till you are completely stepped out of the platform. Once I stepped out, I spent few minutes starring the Idol and was looking for an opportunity to click the deity through my camera which is hanging in my topless neck. With my nervous hands I clicked few (see the first pic).

Completed the darshan and back to the cab, returned the lungi and headed back to shirdi. Maharastra is the biggest producer of sugarcane which you can witness along the route, both side of the road has sugar cane cultivation and so does local sugar juice shops.

Felt like an important accomplishment of my life. I headed back to Shirdi, spent night there and next morning head for Nasik.

This is after the main entrance.

Shirdi Sai Baba

Finally "Sai" called me to visit him at "Shirdi". It was an overnight journey from Hyderabad to Shirdi by Bus. We do have train, not upto Shirdi but near by station 
1. Kopargaon (16km from Shirdi)
2. Manmad (60km from Shirdi). 

Bus was convenient and made to Shirdi on time early morning 7AM. The first and the foremost thing, its hard to get accommodation if you are single. Most of the hotels wont be allowing any reservation for single person (Male) as this city has faced plenty of crimes within hotels and thus Police has made it as a precautionary measure. Those (only few) lodges who do provide does so by verifying your identity and also by making a phone call back to your home. So if you are visiting alone to Shirdi do keep some sort of identification document.
If its not any festive day or Thursday then you can finish the darshan in an hour or two else it would usually take around 3-4 hours. The Shirdi sansthan provides clock room (for shoes, mobile and luggage) where you can park your luggage thus If you planning not to stay here and move on then best thing is to put your stuff in clock room. Shopkeepers also provides luggage and shoe keeping but in turn they expect you to buy some stuff from them (you don't need to find them, they will find you easily). For taking bath etc lodges do provide that facility with meager fee of Rs 30-50 per 30min. I opted for 30min lodge usuage, put my luggage and shoe at one shop (and offcourse end up purchasing stuffs worth Rs 100) and headed for Darshan.

Thursday is Baba's day so expect heavy rush on this day and yes  PHOTOGRAPY AND MOBILE NOT ALLOWED so i put both of them in the clock room (all is near the temple only at walking distance with fee Rs 1 or 2). The whole temple premises is bordered by around 10-12 feet wall and has 2 entrance gates (they are numbered, the market and the clock rooms are near Gate#4 and I went through this gate, see the pic on right). 
It wasn't that much rush on Friday so I got inside to the Baba's Samadhi(where Sai Baba's body is buried) in 30-40mins or so. The queue line passes through one big hall which is partitioned to form 8-10 queues. Within the partitioned lines they have several benches for to take rest and a tea shop within the hall, few wall mounted tv telecasting live happenings of Samadhi area.

After 40 min the moment finally arrived when I had first view of Sai Baba. The view was breathtaking, Sai idol is made out of marble (complete white) and is of life size. The facial carve is almost realistic and would stun you for a moment. The marble statue is prepared by sculptor Sri Talini of Bombay was installed by the side of the Samadhi in 1954. The hall is big where the Samadhi is placed (on side is the life size Idol) and is having 4 lines to form queue two on each side of the hall, the right/left most queue doesn't leads you in front of Sai Idol but to the exit door passing by Samadhi by side. You can touch and bow to Samadhi and offer your prayers. Samadhi stage is usually occupied by four priest two on each side of the Idol. If you want to bow from the front of the Idol then be sure not to opt for left/right most queue instead chose the inner one.

This was the Samadhi mandir where Sai took his last breadth and is now lying in peace.  This place was earlier called as "Buty Wada" and later this temple was built on top of it. Outside this within Temple premises there are other notable areas where Sai has spent his time. One such area is a "Gurusthan" which he usually calls as "Mere guru ka sthaan" (My master's place). Few meter away is 3 small single structure temple of Lord Ganesha, Shiva and Shani, all side by side with an opening from inside connecting all 3 temples i.e. you can pass through all three from inside.

A mosque "Dwarika Mai" where Sai used to sit most of the day and the stone on which he used to sit is still preserved here. The first pic is of the same. "Chavdi" just outside the temple premise and adjacent to Dwarika where Sai used to rest every alternative day (see pic on left)
Premises has SBI ATM, book shop, museum where articles, clothes and shoes are still preserved which was once used by Sai. One of the photo dipicts a sculpture who was carving the Sai Idol the same which is in Samadhi. It also has sweet shops, book store (3D calendar of Sai is quite impressive and has costed Rs 300 the same cost at Rs 350 outside the temple).

After completing the Darshan, I looked for an lodge, got one just near the temple "Hotel Sai Suraj" for Rs 350 single bed.This hotel is in front of Chavdi. They did verify my identity and called my home, well the hotel is not up-to the expectation but can't complain as well, don't expect even above average amenities with this much of budget. If you are with family then better search near bus stand across the road where there are  plenty of decent hotels, expect around 1k-1.3k.
Sai trust also has some lodgings, check out this site hotels running by trust (
I offloaded my luggage in room and after few minutes I headed for Shani Shignapur, it is just 2hour drive and we have plenty of Qualis/Maruti Omni riders near the temple area. You can hear drivers shouting for "Shani Shignapur". They usually charge Rs 60-70 per head for a complete trip. See my "Shani Shignapur" blog entry for further details.

This one is copied from the web

There are plenty of things to know about Sai and Shirdi, please visit the following blog from an ardent devotee of Sai. This blog has wealth of Sai information and original pics of Sai.

Jagannath Temple, Hyderabad

Jagannath Temple ("Jagan" means Universe and "Nath" means Lord, thus "Lord Of Universe"), the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna (one of the incarnation of Lord Vishnu). This temple is said to be a replica of original Jagannath Temple of Puri (Orissa) in context of design/pattern and not in size. Kalinga Cultural Trust is the one who took the charge to construct this Hyderabad version of Puri's temple on 3000 square yard area plot next to Tilangana Bhavan (Banjara Hills). Completed this year around Feb/March 2009 is still at its nascent stage to get its popularity all over the India (Not much information is available over web, still haven't got its name on vast so called "Top Attractions of Hyderabad" sites).

The most attracting portion of this temple is its "Shikra" (the peak/top) measuring around 70 feet in height (shown on the first pic). The red color it has got is due to the usage of sand stone (around 600 tonnes were brought from Orissa which is being used to build this whole architecture) and around 60 stone carvers got the blessing to carve this temple. 

The construction were said to be taken in temple premises only. The temple is raised on the platform which is 8-10 feet in height and this 8-10 feet portion is now being occupied as temple Office (left pic shows the window and the door of the ground office). 

While the main structure of temples houses the Lord Krishna along with his brother Balabhadra and Subhadra, it also has five small surrounding temple  to house Lord Ganesh (left to the main entrance), Lord Shiva (in front along the steps), Goddess Bhimala (incarnation of Goddess Paravathi, on left back side), Goddess Laxmi (back right side) and two shrines side by side is Navgraha (Nine Planet Lords) and Shri Hanuman (on middle right side). Each of them having a dedicated priest. There are total 3 entrances to this temple , the main entrance opens right in front of the main temple as shown on the second pic top right.

The temple is located just adjacent to the road and is quit nearer to Jubli Hills, from Hi Tech I took shared auto upto Jubli Hills (15 min) and from there another shared auto directly  to this temple (10 min). There is no entrance fee, no guide's or any sort of brochures. The temple is not opened for all time, 6-12 AM and 5-10 PM is what the Sunday timings, I don't remember the week day timings. Photo shoot is not allowed inside the temple but outside.

The exterior carving is worth appraising, though its not at very minute level but very impressive. The exteriors are completely made out of sand stone but the inner portion of sanctum sanctorum is a plain brick wall. The pillars are made out of sand stone, and the sanctum sanctorum is separated by three entrance gate inside the temple which is carved out of sand stone. The inner most entrance gate has carving of nine incarnation of Lord Vishnu on the top. The side is occupied by big cobra like sculpt which runs along the perimeter of the gate on both sides. Additional carvings are not that deep and if not looked closely then will look like as it was washed away by air.The 3 idols of Lord Jagannath (Krishna), Balabhadra (his brother) and Subadhra (his sister) are all alike the Idols residing in Puri's temple. Jagannath temple is unique in the sense, all the Idols are carved out of Margosa (Neem) wood instead of stone as found in all other temples. The story behind this is the Lord himself ordered Indrayumna, the king of Malava in Sata Yuga to construct a temple with his Idol made of wood which he will find it floating on the sea. The King found the wood and the sculpture (Vishwa Karma, the architect of Gods) to carve the Idols. Well I am not going deep into the story but this was the reason behind the Idol being made out of wood. This wood was also bought from the Orissa. Probably the only temple (all Jagannath Temple) to have Idols made of wood.

Interesting aspect of this temple architecture and of the original one in Puri is, the exteriors are embellished with some amorous sculpture of male and female the same way as we have in Khujaraho Temples (pic on right has 5 such sculpt, one of them is a Lion ridding on an Elephant). There are plenty of theories or concepts behind these sculptures on temple walls as I read on web 
- These sculpt represents the external desire of human and one needs to raise above all these desires to reach to GOD.
- Some one said, these are carved on exteriors so to protect it from lighting, rains etc as Lord of  water  Indra as himself being a great sex admirer won't destroy anything which itself shows as a sex lover.
- As lord Krishna himself was a great Casanova and thus sculpture was made according to his very nature.

Also If looked closely, the stone on the back side is little dark in color as compared to the rest of the portions of the temple (see 4th pic from the top). Floors are completely made of granite. The outer architecture from distant almost look like a plastic due to red color, but closely this was well polished and is strong. The pic on left is the top of the main entrance gate and the pillar with sculpt in greeting posture is just in-front of the main steps.

The only distracting thing around in this pic is the Tilangana Bhavan.

See few more pics at

Thousand Pillar Temple

As the name states, this temple has got thousand pillars though not standing individually but carved in such a way that it looks like several pillars stitched together to form a temple wall. This temple is constructed in 1163 AD (i.e. prior to Ramappa Temple) by Rudra Deva-I of Kakatiya Dynasty and measures over 31x25m and stands on a platform which is raised to 1M from the ground (the same way Ramappa Temple is raised). It consists of three shrines of Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Surya arranged around a central hall. Left side of the temple is occupied by Shiv Linga, right by Surya and the center by Vishnu. Only Shiva Linga is remained rest two idols are missing. It's not surprising of this missing as majority of Kakatiya'n are followers of Lord Shiva. I also heard the Vishnu Idol was plated in gold and thus may be the cause of missing.

There is no entrance fee. This temple is on the road side and few minutes away from the "Bhadrakali Temple" and from the Hanamkonda bus station. Prayers are still being offered. This premises has one more structure just in front of this temple called "Mandapa" consisting of several marvelously carved individual pillars supporting the roof. Unfortunately this "Mandapa" has been dissembled and removed (now its a plain ground), the area is closed for public and construction is under way as they will put this back in a same shape. Its been said that underneath is a water and this might imbalance this structure, strangely I didn't found much reference of this event in web and didn't get much help from locals either. 
Front portion of the main entrance of this temple is held by big Nandi Idol and is prime spot for photo shoot (you will find few professional photographers making their business). Walls of the temple as you can see is carved in several pillars which together counts to 1000 (I didn't counted though but I trust history). I visited inside, offered my prayers to a loan survivor Idol i.e. Lord Shiva and went back to lodge (near Hanamkonda bus station). 

Regarding transportation back to Hyderabad, Buses both Volvo and Regular are available every 30min from Hanamkonda bus station,  for private buses you need to purchase tickets over the counter (which is computrised just like in railway stations) and journey is usually 2 - 2.5 hrs. Volvo is non stop and is the prefered one over public bus.

The Warangal journey now come to an end with only disappointment of not seeing the "Mandapa" architecture but may be I come back some time in future.

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