Built in the 13th Centuary, this mystical Shiva temple leaves you in its awe long after you have left the premisis. A wonderland of hallways with innumerable idol sculptures of gods & goddesses carved out of black basalt rock leave you in an imposive state of mind. Captivated by the suroundings, the vibrations in the air simply hold you from loosing the euphoric feeling that initiates during the time you spend in this temple. One visit is surely not enough to this magnificant site to sink in the experience manifisted by the kings of the Yadava Dynasty during the medival period. It is believed that goddess Parvati danced for Lord Shiva at this place before they went to mount Kailash and got married.
As beautiful as it is in the current state, one cannot help but imagine this temple in its full glory when all the idols and carvings would have been intact, unbroken and undamaged. The un-voilated version surely must have been out of the world and it feels sad to be deprived of such glory at our times, mostly because the creation did not depreciate due to any other reasonss but because of vandalism. The Vandalism and distruction of temples in India by the invaders indicativly dates back to the year AD 537 and was at its peak between the 10th and the 18th Century.
Bhuleshwar temple is unique in its architure and was rebuilt in the 17th Century to resemble a mosque from the outside. The domes appear circular in shape like a mosque where as beneth it lies a magnificant world of carved pillers and sculptured idols. Apart from lord Shiva, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahadev are also housed in this temple. Thers is a unique idol in the temple that of Lord Ganesha in its female version called ‘Vinayaki ‘carved in one of the ceilings that is worth noticing. There is a local belief that when a bowl of sweets is offered to Lord Shiva during Mahashivratri, one of the sweets disappear. Mahashivratri gathers a lot of crowd to this temple for worship.
The Bhuleshwar temple is situated on a hill which was once called as fort Daulat Mangalgarh. It is also believed that there was a cluster of such temples among which only one survived. The architecture resembles to the ‘Nagara style’ temples built in the deccan region during the Yadav Dynasty. Such styles are also found in Gujarat and the Malva region. The reconstruction or repairs of the temple is attributed to Bhramendra Swami who was a contempory of Chatrapati Shahu, the grandson of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The 17th Century witnessd the rule of the Mighty Maratha kingdom who helped regain the prosperity of the deccan region by fighting the Moghul regime.
Bhuleshwar temple is declared as a protected monument and is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. 45 Kilometers from Pune city on NH9, Bhuleshwar temple is near a village called Yavat. Although it is in a vandalized state you still cannot escape the aura of the temple. Early morning will be the best time to visit this temple to experience sun rays falling on the sculpturs through the open roof. Visiting hours start from morning 5 am to evening 6pm. Photography is allowed with the permission of the temple authorities however tripods are strictly banned inside the premisis.
It is estimated that more than 60,000 major temples in India were desecrated and destroyed during the Muslim invasion on the Indian culture. The small ones must easily be many times more. The idea behind the desecration was to wipe out an entire culture more than wiping out the population in the continent so that the same people will be forced to adopt a new culture to follow. Also temples around this time contained a lot of wealth inside them in the form of Gold giving one more reason to the invders to use force. While history of invaders and vandalizm is another topic, one visit to the Bhuleshwar temple and it hurts to see such beautiful creations destroyed under the umbrella of humanity. It is not possible to create such beautiful marvels again, not with any technology available in todays times and this is where it hurts the most. Had human kind been more empathatic towards each other we would be living in a different world.
Bhuleshwar temple is not just a place of worship, it is a living example of human belief systems that fail to accommodate other existance. An array of innumerable wondeful sculptured figures itself showcases co-existance of differnet ideaologies. It is in the human nature to accept, observe and make the best out of the surroundings so as to facilitae society and appreciate each others efforts to do so. At Bhuleshwar temple there is a constant conflict in the mind that would never find an inclination. The remains of the temple are only to be appreciated in their vandalized state. Dented with human ideologies, they are as mersmerizing as they could be a few centuries back.
A must visit place for everyone, Bhuleshwar temple will remain on my top recommending places to visit around Pune. Having a mythological and a historical significance and for the sheer magic created by the architeture in showcasing the sculptures in light and in shadows, the air is simply different.