Kolhapur Sojourn

Sometimes fate confounds on you all the happy moments in bounties, and when such things happens almost unexpectedly, the happiness that accompanies such moments are unmeasurable. Something similar happened last two days. Some 15 days ago my colleague in the Managing Society of my Building invited me and other colleagues to accompany him for the marriage of his daughter to Kolhapur. Since it was on weekend, i could not resist the temptation and in a flash i accepted the invite. I made the plan for the day. The day fixed was 19th of June, the timing set to leave was 5.00 pm. I was delighted, for getting a chance to wander in rainy season is always a delight for a vagabond like me.

On 16th however, the plan got changed the time to departure was preponed to 1.30 pm, i had a date with my NGO for one programme closer to my heart, but then travelling was also one venture that i could hardly reject. Since, there were many hands supporting the endavor, i decided to give it a skip and attend the marriage, for this man had been with me in my troubled times.

We departed at 2.00 pm the bus was bit uncomfortable, however, the journey was a pleasant experience, traversing through the scenic roads of Khandala Ghat & the entire strip leading to kolhapur made up with the tiring journey. My camera obviously had no respite in this journey, it never has anyways, when i travel. We reached Kurundvad somewhere in Kolhapur at 2.00 am in the night, the marriage hall was sort of a hotel, a lodge, a marriage hall all bundled in one. We all rested for around 2.30 hours to wake up at 5.30, got ourselves ready and started to explore nearby places.

The first place we visited was Narsobachi wadi, the pilgrim centre of Lord Dattatraya, a quite serene place at the banks of two rivers. The place had very distinct identity in my being, for i had heard quite many a stories about it, reaching there was obviously an experience never to be forgotten in near future. Again my camera started shuttering.

The day was 20th of June and was some sort of special day, we recall it in our hindsight, for all the elements were in our favor. There was not a single droplet of rain that day, the buses were plying on time and were empty. To find an empty bus in a remote village, without any other viable source of transport, and that too in time is a very big treat.

Some four five years ago, in one of my favorite tv documentary show, i had seen a temple called Kopeshwar at Khidrapur. The temple had caught up with my fascination and i always wished to visit it atleast once. All of a sudden, at Narsobachi wadi, i read a board which mentioned places of importance in vicinity, the name of Khidrapur was hard to skip for me. I convinced three of my neighbours that we must not skip this place. And they agreed, as the marriage was at 12.45, it was just 8.00 am and we had lots of time to spare. We were lucky that at Narsobachi wadi we got a bus to take us to Khidrapur. One of my neighbour happened to be in State Transport, he quickly and quietly made friends with the ST Conductor and inquired about the next bus to return to the marriage. The bus was at 12.00 pm, we found that we were in a soup, but for the good guy in ST conductor, he agreed to make an unscheduled halt for about 15 minutes to facilitate us to visit the place. That was god sent gift for him, not only did the person halted the bus for that much time, he accompanied us to the temple, for record, the temple is stone throw away from the bus stop.

Wow and i had accomplished the reason de taire, the temple that had been in my wishlist for a while was in front of me, and what a magnificent place of mastery over stones it was, such a splendid artwork, nearly lost in ignomity, is a pity thing, nobody knows much about this temple, its 1100 years old and superbly built, its still in very good conditions, may be because it has not caught up with the tourists.

Shot as many pictures as possible, left the place with heavy heart and the memories still fresher, reached the marriage hall at around 10.30. The marriage ceremony was solemnised as per the local tradition after the lunch and a bit of siesta the return journey was on cards, we returned to our bus to return to Mumbai.

And what a surprise that day ushered on us, we headed straight to Kolhapur to Mahalaxmi Temple, this visit was not in our itenary and was planned on the eleventh hour, much to our delightment anyways. Prayed at the temple, noted one thing, that the temple of Mahalaxmi was croweded one, the one belonging to Ma Saraswati bored a deserted look… a definition of human greed of money over knoweledge, i guess.

Then the tiresome journey back home, tiresome, as it was in the night, nothing much of view to see, the driver was also irksome and whimsical, add to it the bus which was lesser than being called a comfortable one.

Anyways, this unscheduled trip in the pretext of marriage will be remembered for a longer while,

PS : Wishing the newly married couple a wonderful new innings🙂

Photos Link : http://picasaweb.google.com/sisimumbai/VisitToKolhapur?feat=directlink
Video of Khidrapur Temple : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqYomNJpfBI

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A bit of info about Khidrapur temple, grabbed from net.
Khidrapur (Shirol T.; 16° 40′ N; 74° 35′ E; p. 1,409), lies oh the Krsna about twelve miles south-east of Shirol and eight miles to the south of Jaisingpur railway station on the Miraj-Kolhapur meter gauge line. The chief interest of the village is the temple of Kopesvar which lies in the centre of the village and is 103½’ x 65′ x 52′ high to the top of the dome. The walls are made of black stone richly carved and the dome is covered with stucco. To the main building are attached two richly sculptured mandaps or vestibules. In the vestibule are two concentric squares the outer with twenty and the inner with twelve pillars all richly carved. In front of the temple is a round roofless structure called the Svarga Mandap (Heavenly Hall), on the plan of what would be a twenty-rayed star, only that the spaces for four of the rays are occupied by four entrances. On the outside on a low screen wall stand thirty-six short pillars, while inside is a circle of twelve columns. Further from the temple is a nagarkhana (drum-chamber). The outer walls of the shrine are broken at oblique angles as in the Nilanga Hemadpanti temple. By the south door of the temple is a Devgiri Yadav inscription of Sinhadev in Devnagari dated sak 1135 (A.D. 1213) granting the village of Khandalesvar in Miraj for, the worship of Kopesvar. Besides this, there is a Jain temple, which is much smaller, the vestibule being twenty-one feet square inside with a small antechamber and shrine, the outer wall of the shrine being in the star-shaped Hemadpanti plan. The building is of black stone and the pillars of the hall are richly carved. Land valued at a yearly assessment of Rs. 109-6-0 is granted rent-free to the priests of Kopesvar. Every year inMagh (January-February) a fair is held, attended by about 3,000 people.
http://maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/KOLHAPUR/places_Khidrapur.html

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