Monday, May 30, 2011


Nearly 140 km from Pune ,in the direction of Nasik is Bheemashankar,shrine of Lord Shiva and also one of the twelve jyotirlingas.It is said that after killing the demon Tripurasur,Lord Shiva sat on these hills for taking rest.In our mythological references this is described as one of the most fierce battles ever fought.The streams of sweat running down shiva's body gave birth to river bheemarathi.Like bhagirathi emerging from shiva's locks this river is also revered and most of the religious places of Maharashtra are situated on the bank of this river.originating from these hills of sahyadri Bheema flows southwards and mingles with krishna near Raichoor.In Pandharpur the river is known as Chandrabhaga.
Coming back to Bheemashankar temple,it's a modest structure in black stone.but the neatness and fineness of the sculpture stand unaffected by the weathering extremes of times.The temple dates back to eighteenth century.The temple complex houses various small temples of other Gods and Goddesses.There is a kund near temple .It is said that water in this kund comes from bheema river which snakes it's way to kund under the rocks and hills.All round the year pilgrims come to pay their homage to this seat of lord shiva but during shravan month ,the hills and forest around it reverberate with the continuous chants of om namo shivay..............the incessant rain ,the foggy forset,slippery rocks ,nothing deters devotees as they line up for hours for darshan and worship of swayambhoo shivlinga.
Besides the religious and mythological importance ,Bheemashakar allures the adventure loving trekkers and the nature's tapestry changing with season is intoxicating.
  I have once been to Bheemashankar during mansoon the dense mystique forests,the clouds walking beside me,the lashing rain,the pounding streams, every thing is still etched in my memory.It really felt like witnessing the raudra roop of lord shiva.But this time when we visited Bheemashankar last week the scenes were painted in different colours.It was quiet,colourful,smiling with benevolence.As the vehicle started climbing the hills nature started unfolding it's panoramas.The distant misty mountains were melting in the arms of flossy clouds.The blue ,the white at that end looked  dreamy.Lined on both the sides of road were bright blue ,mellow violet.sparkling yellow,white,pink coloured wild flowers.Nodding and dancing on the tune of wind the flowers looked like pretty little girls welcoming us ,wrapped in sweet smiles.In between hills and road stretched the lush green fields and meadows.The shepherds with their herds and a stick on shoulders looked peaceful ,in perfect harmony with nature.
As we climbed higher the tall trees walked close to us.their erect stately persona somehow looked very if trying to long as we are there you can enjoy the bliss of cool.balmy air.the blues of sky,the greens of fields. you can have all as we are there with you.During mansoon we come across a roaring,gurgling waterfall after every half a kilometer or so but during this sunny day of october we could not witness waterfalls though we came across one or two trikling streams on the way. The one near the tea shop on the way was quite a lovely sight .
The Bheemashankar temple is midst the forest.These forests are home to many wild animals and is protected place for them.Bheemashankar has a wild life sacntuary too.Though its difficult to sight one while going to the temple.The forest stretches on both sides of the path leading to temple. narrow,muddy tracks lead to dense forest branching off the main guarded path leading to temple.we ventured into one of laid to a clearing between tall was a small temple,a jal kund and few idols of unknown gods and goddesses under the open expanse of sky.beyond it on still higher altitude were tall,erect trees closely guarding the sactity of wilderness.often trekkers camp near the jungles.
The most spectular scene was behind devi kamalja mandir.From the height of approximately 3000 ft.,the villages in the valley below appeared almost flattened.Whole valley was immersed in the clouds.A translucent haze hung over the green expanse .Sloping down the hills ,from pinnacles to the valley ,were the streams of bright yellow flowers.In fact all around sprinkled in between the greenary these tiny yellow flowers imparted the valley it's magical beauty.They were every where............running down the hills encircling the valley,flanking the narrow track on either side,dancing on the precipices,at the feet of soaring trees,midst the clusters of bushes.there were flowers of myraid colours as well but yellow reigned the scene undisputedly. sonaki .painted the valley with golden hues.yes ,this tiny ,lively flower is known as sonaki in marathi The quiet here was engulfing.The only sound was buzzing of bees.All four of us were mesmerized by the beauty ,the magnificience before us.sons and father were busy clicking the shot and I as usual was sipping it drop by drop ,flower by flower.Here we met Blue Mormon,the elegent butterfly.we could not capture it in pic as it flutters every where with smooth swing of wings but seldom sits still.there were other species of butterflies but the place is famous for blue mormons.
Bheemashankar is very well connected to Pune and Nasik .People sometimes visit Bheemashankar on a days trip by chartered taxis or own vehicles but on the ways are various resort the blue mormon is hardly 6 or 7 km. from the temple.state transport bus also goes upto temple.various food joints and snack bars are KHOA is speciality of the place.not to be missed item.
If you are headed from Pune to Nasik or vice versa plan to include a visit to Bheemashankar .It's definitely worth visiting.

the main shrine of bheemashankar temple with deepstambh in foreground.

the shani temple at the premises

carvings on the temple

carvings on the temple

a temple in the nearby forest.

a stream on way

on way to bheemashankar....through the clouds.

entrance of the temple

the calling of.....deep forests around the temple...

a sonaki couple...

tasting the sonaki

a dam on way.

the golden pastures

golden valley

quiet-cloudy pastures

floating clouds

bonus of the trip- sonaki

all the pictures are copyrighted by sunder iyer and shubham sunder

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