Photograph By Sachin Kulkarni
Sometimes, I wonder why I have this strong urge to visit ancient and historical temples and monuments all the time because neither am I an atheist nor a core religious person. I prefer greeting deity’s from outside of the spiritual residence (in simple words, Temple). I think the most reasonable answer could be my ever growing curiosity for chronological carvings on the walls of these monuments. Bhuleshwar temple in Malshiras taluka of Pune district is one such mythological wonder that was drawing my attention for a long time.
On a sunny day, along with my friends, I headed towards this temple. It is situated around 60 kms south-west of Pune, near Yewat. After turning left on Solapur highway we came across the narrow rocky road patch followed by a mountain range with pretty sharp turns. Now from this hill, dome of the temple was easily visible. About 20 minutes of further journey took us to our destination. The weather was just pleasant unlike usual May noon. Bhuleshwar temple is basically situated inside the fort ‘MangaIgad’ alias ‘Daulatmangal’. It was built by the ‘Yadavas’.
My eyes wanted to capture even the tiniest detail of those carved walls. We started observing the architecture, structure & construction style while stepping towards the temple. I found this monument resembling to Mughal architecture may be because of the tombs and minarets.
As we continued our little expedition, we heard a huge bong of a bell. It was quite a loud sound, yet a harmonious one. The Bell was hanging on a metal frame. Probably it was not the original place of bell; it might have been moved to the present place over a period of time. A Bell has a special significance in Indian mythology. Though without any specific design I felt its design is akin to that of Portuguese Bells.
After drumming the bell, we stalled towards the temple through the main entrance. Here the art on the porch though little remains and is ruined has not lost its charm.
A wooden door shows two ways to go up towards the temple. We choose the one on left. As we reached to the temple we came across a bull statue, commonly known as ‘Nandi’ in Sanskrit. ‘Nandi’ is a guardian-deity outside the Kailas, also serves as mount to lord Shiva. Traditionally its head is always towards the sanctum sanctorum of the temple but in Bhuleshwar it was facing towards the right. Out of curiosity, we tried to find out what is ‘Nandi’ facing at? We noticed it was facing towards a turtle like rock sculpture. Not sure what that indicates.
Now as we moved towards sanctum sanctorum (‘Gabhara’ in Marathi), we witnessed an astonishing Shivling statue and a well carved entrance, an absolute delight to the eyes. It is a tradition to move around the temple and complete a circle commonly known as ‘Pradakshina’ or ‘Parikrama’, i.e. circumambulation. As I started with the Pradakshina, those engraved walls took me by surprise yet again and as a result I spent quite a considerable amount of time moving around the temple.
Another detail that caught my attention was the sculpture of Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvati on the left and lord Ganesha on right side of Lord Shiva. It was engraved quite high on the wall. I also witnessed a magnificent Vitthal Rakhumai idol. It was almost like an exhibition displaying wall carvings and rock statues each having a story within. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get enough information about these carvings, but I managed to grab some pictures though! Have a look…
It was very exciting to get a skyward look from inside of the temple. Two things worth mentioning were the designed walls and huge window like openings in the wall, when you see outside of these walls you can totally understand the strategy behind it. Each window is wide enough for a person to sit or even sleep. Probably for the soldiers to rest, while guarding the mighty fort.
After watching all the wall carvings and sculptures inside the temple we came out of the temple through the main entrance. I observed that the idol of lord Ganesh in female attire viz. Ganeshwari or Lambodari or Ganeshyani. It is on the left pillar, facing towards the temple.
The Temple walls were not carved at all from the outside. There are two structures apart from the main temple. One is like a shade where you can sit and relax and other one is a small temple in itself. The big gulmohar tree outside the temple was a spectacular view to the eyes. It is one of my favorite trees. We took a little halt under the tree to gasp in all the beauty of the place.
It was such a pleasant experience to visit a place like Bhuleshwar; it opens up a window to the rich past that time has left behind. With these unforgettable memories, we started our journey back home.