Visit to the Bhuleshwar Shiva temple
Every hill/mountain/hillock in Maharashtra must be having something on the top. Be it a fort or a temple. The shiva temple in Bhuleshwar is on top of a small hill in the middle of nowhere. There is also this TV tower right next to the temple (like the one at Sinhagad) spoiling the atmosphere.
The temple was once within a fort, the remnants of which are visible in the vicinity of the temple. This temple gets huge crowds during Mahashivratri. The priest told us that there is a decent crowd on almost all days in the mornings. An unique thing about the shiv-ling in this temple is that the top portion of the shivling opens up and you can put offerings (usually pedas) inside it. If you are really devout, these offerings are gobbled up, not by a rat, but God himself. The priest told us that such miracles do happen even now, albeit for the rare devotee.
You don’t need to go to Bhuleshwar temple as a devotee. You can go there as a casual tourist to relax in the absolute calm surrounding the hill. You can take photographs anywhere in the temple and for the pious, the priest also does archanas. The priest also doubles as the guide and if he is not busy, he has lot of interesting stories to tell. This would make a good trip for the evening. We started from Pune at around 6 pm, we reached there close to 7, just in time for the sunset. The wind was blowing like crazy and Akshara enjoyed it.
How to go to Bhuleshwar temple from Pune(Magarpatta): Go to the Pune-Solapur highway. Turn towards Hadapsar and proceed in that direction i.e. away from Swargate. You have to travel around 35 kms on this road. You will cross a toll booth where you pay a strange fee of 22.50 Rupees. After the second toll (close to village Uruli), you have to take a right. This right turn is 3 kms after the second tool and 2 kms before the village Yavat. There is a sign on the left side of the road pointing to the right lane (marked as Bhuleshwar). You will also see another sign on the right (next to the lane) which has directions to many other places like Sasvad, Narayanpur etc. You have to go on this road for a further 8-9 kms before you reach a ghat section. This ghat is pretty bad, it is like driving through an open quarry! The problem with this ghat is that the whole surface is of loose rocks and gravel and can be quite tricky if vehiles come in the opposite direction. Update: The entire ghat section has been relaid and it is a good tar road to drive on. After you reach the plateau on top, Bhuleshwar temple woul dbe visible to the right. You have to take a right and then climb upto the temple’s parking. The last 100-150 metres was incredibly steep with me having to stay in the first gear the entire stretch. If you don’t want to try this, park it before this steep stretch and climb up on the stairs. I couldn’t find this village road on google maps nor could i do a visual identification of the temple on google earth, but the map provided below should give you an idea of the location where you have to take a right from the Pune-Solapur highway.
There were many disfigured statues in the temple. The priest told me that this was done by Aurangazeb’s men in an attempt to destroy and mutilate Hindu art.
Another interesting thing in this temple was the statue of Ganesha. It seems that this is the only temple in the world where Ganesha has a female form.
A very interesting place to visit and just relax.