Mar 06

Sangameshwar temple near to sasvad, at the confluence of the Karha and the Chamli rivers, is believed to have been built sometime around the 7th-10th century during the Yadava reign. The temple retains the old-look which adds to its charm. Renovations are good, but if they change the look or the architectural style of the original, it is as good as a new structure.

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

The rivers fill up considerably during the monsoon months and the small dam overflows giving a very picturesque sight. During the summer months, the rivers turn green with algae, but green algae too can look very appealing to the eye!

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

How to go to Sangameshwar Temple from Pune: If you a well-versed in the areas around Pune, then all you have to do is take the road to Sasvad from Hadapsar, reach sasvad, take the turn towards Narayanpur (Balaji Temple), then you will cross a narrow bridge, to the right of which you would see the temple (The view in the first photo above). A small chance of a confusion here. From sasvad, there are multiple exits to narayanpur. If you take the last one, it kind of bypasses the small town and hence you won’t go on this bridge. So, if you see a river on your right and then you come to a fork with a playground on your right and the route to narayanpur is on the left, you have missed this place. So, all you have to do is to take the right into Sasvad and you till get this bridge within 200 m. If all the above doesn’t make sense, follow the map below. Also given is a snapshot from Google Earth.

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad


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We were there at around 4.30 in the evening and the mild breeze combined with the absolute calm made it a wonderful experience. The temple’s Shikhara (dome) had hundreds of small sculptures of deities carved over many layers. They looked pretty worn-out, but the sculptures could be clearly identified.

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

You can walk down to the river bank on all the sides and we even found one painter deeply engrossed in painting the river view along with the smaller shikharas on the side. The temple has two huge deepmalas on either side. Not sure when they are lit up, but if they are, it would be an impressive sight from the bridge. There is a colourful (and quite bigt) Nandi inside the temple.

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

Our original plan was just to visit this temple, but having come so far, we first went to the Balaji temple and then came here on the way back from Pune. The Balaji temple is a very short drive of around 10-12 kms from here. Just outside the temple, we saw a crumbling house. It was surprising to see a tata Sky dish on it. The house looked like it miht crumble just by the weight of the dish!

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

sangameshwar temple narayanpur sasvad

written by Rajaram S

Feb 23

I visited the Mangal Murti Morya Ganpati Temple (also known as Birla Ganpati) and the Sai baba temple at Shirgaon along with the visit to the Ghorwadeshwar Caves. If you are feeling deeply religious, you can ignore the caves and combine the visit with a trip to the Ayyapan/Murugan hill temples.

birla ganpati idol temple

The Ganapati idol is huge and one cannot miss it when you are on the NH4 as you reach the Somatane Toll Plaza.There is a parking place just before the entrance gate. You have to climb around 179 steps to reach the top. Though the number 179 looks a lot, the climb isn’t anything to worry about, as you don’t even feel it OR this number is not just the steps to the base of the idol, have to check on this.

birla ganpati idol temple

This a birla family establishment and the idol was sculpted/created by Maturam Verma and Nareshkumar Verma of Pilani. The idol is 54 feet high, placed on a 18 foot pedestal which is 45 feet wide. As you may noticed (and was written there), all these dimensions were planned in such a way that they add up to the number 9, considered auspicious. The status faces east. We were there in the evening and hence couldn’t get good photos of the front side. But the metallic surface finish of the idol would look great in the early morning light. So, plan a trip in the morning if you are looking for good photos. This place is also well let up (visible from the expressway too) at night.

birla ganpati idol temple

birla ganpati idol temple

From here, it is a few kms drive across the expressway (through an underpass) to Shirgaon Sai Baba temple. This temple was built as a replica of the Shirdi Sai Baba temple. The architecture is meant to resemble the original temple at Shirdi. All the daily aartis done at Shirdi are also performed here. Kakad Arti – 5.15 Am, Maha Abhishek – 7 AM, Noon Arti – 12 noon, Dhup Arti – 6.15 pm and the Shej Arti at 10 pm. The temple remains closed from 10.30 pm to 5 AM.

birla ganpati idol temple

birla ganpati idol temple

birla ganpati idol temple

Prasad is available from 12 noon to 3 pm at the Anna Chatralaya, which is an architectural marvel by itself. So, for the ones who find it difficult to make the trip to Shirdi, this is a good alternative, just like the Narayanpur Balaji temple is for Tirupati.

birla ganpati idol temple

birla ganpati idol temple

birla ganpati idol temple

How to go to Shirgaon and the Ganpati Temple: Both these places are just before the Somatane toll plaza on Mumbai Pune old highway (NH4) , around 3 kms from Dehu Road. If you go through NH4, you have to pay the toll of around 26 INR. if you want to avoid it (and explore some inner roads in the process), take the left before the expressway exit and go through Kiwale and Gahunje to Shirgaon.


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written by Rajaram S

Feb 21

A lazy Sunday afternoon in winter. With Vidhya and Akshara out of Pune for 2 weekends, i had planned on a few short road trips. One of them was a visit to the Ghorwadeshwar caves just on the outskirts of Pune. I combined this with a visit to Birla Ganpati Temple (the huge Ganpati Statue on NH4) and Shirgaon Sai Baba Mandir. Alternatively, you can combine this with a visit to the Ayyappan temple in Dehu Road.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

Ghorwadeshwar caves are believed to have been carved around the 3rd century A.D. The places is protected now. There are many prayer halls on the top with the biggest one being converted into a Shiva shrine.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

How to go to Ghorwadeshwar Caves: The caves are located just before the toll plaza near Somatane on Nh4 (coming from Pune). You can easily miss the base. Watch out for an arch with some steps going onto a hill. Another landmark is a giant water tower on the right. If you have crossed the water tower, you have missed Ghorwadeshwar. Once you open up the below map, switch to satellite mode. I have marked the destination right at the base of Ghorwadeshwar. You should be able to see the steps leading up to the cave.


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What i thought would be a short 20-min walk to the top turned out to be close to an hour’s climb. But, nothing difficult about the climb. There are proper stairs until the half-way, maybe around 200 of them. Once you reach the half-way point, you will come to some sort of a rocky plateau, which is a good place to catch you breath if you intend to go forward OR enjoy the view, click photos and start the walk down! There is nothing else so high in the surrounding and hence you can spend hours watching the traffic go through the toll plaza. Of course, you get a good (albeit a little far) view of the huge Birla Ganapati. From the photos i had seen on other blogs, this place is super-green during the monsoons and would be a great option for an evening trek.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

I was here with Lokesh and he, not being a regular at walks/treks, needed some rest mid-way. But, we were determined to go on. A lady at the chai-stall advised us to continue from here on, not on the main path, but on a small side track, which she said would be much easier. There are no stairs from the mid-way to the caves, but a wide-enough eroded mud path which can be tricky to climb during the rains. But, judging by how the side-track looked, Lokesh felt that the lady had tricked him! But, i would advise the side track any day, as it was far more interesting and fun to climb. Yes, it is a bit narrow at some places, but it is a gentle slope and a fall wouldn’t cause much damage. The third photo below can give you a comparison between both the paths.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

On this trail, we heard a constant bell sound closing in on us. Then, we found that it was a cow which was also climbing up to the cave temple. It must have been a regular looking at its fitness and the ease with which it was climbing!

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

Once you cross the mid-way, you start to see the caves (a portion of it). They are at two levels. At the bottom level, you have two sections and then you continue on around the mountain to the top.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

Once you reach the caves, you will come to a fork. Turning right on the fork will take you to the main set of caves. These caves face westward and hence are beautifully lit up at evening. Also, you get a good view of the expressway. One of the caves has been converted to a shrine which has a shivling inside. There are lot of water storage tanks dug into the ground.I heard that this place gets very crowded during mahashivratri.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

Going beyond these caves will take you to a route to the top, but we didn’t proceed as a) it looked too narrow and b) we had more places on the agenda.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

If you take the left on the fork, you go to one set of broken caves, which i presume is being used by the priest. Nothing much of interest there.

ghorwadeshwar cave temples near Somatane

A good place for an energetic walk and nice views for an evening outing!

written by Rajaram S