The temples of the Goddesses in the city are crowded as the nine-day long festival, Navratri has begun. Women make beeline to the temples during wee hours of morning to avoid the rush.
The festive season of Navratri has started with great enthusiasm among the people. Despite mild showers on first day, devotees thronged in large numbers to various temples.
Splendid black stone Shiva temple built in medieval Hemadpanti style at the banks of river Pawana at Pimple Saudagar is popular among devotees. Others follow footsteps of devotees for the peace that the temple offers. Gigantic Nandi at the entrance itself gives an idea of majestic ness of the temple.
Though nobody knows the exact age of the temple or who built it, people have faith in it for it being ‘jagrut’ or alive. The Hemadpanti style temple with closed black stones walled sanctorum having Shivalinga covered with bronze. Though the circular summit was repaired in 2007, basic shape is kept untouched. A few says the temple is of time of pandava others says nobody knows its exact details.
The Pujari Hanumant Bhalekar opens the temple before 4 am and begins puja in the early morning and also offers it in the evenings. Almost 400 devotees seek blessings of the lord Shiva everyday while the number touches to 600-650 on Mondays.
The temple orginises special programmes, bhajans, kirtans, and mahaprasad during Shravana month, on all Shivaratris andMahashivarati when thousands of devotees throng to the temple.
A cradle with exquisite designs and five copper utensils were found in the sanctum during the renovation of the temple in 2007 and the temple committee has preserved them. “We didn’t inform to any government office,” said Shekhar Kate, president of the temple committee. The temple gets various donations and hence manages to organize various programmes on its own.
“I feel peaceful whenever I visit the temple. So I make sure to spend at least an hour per week at the temple,” says Sameer Deshpande, a software engineer.
The temple is run by Mangalore based Ramashakti Mission in Karvenagar. The temple building is illuminated with electric lights. The itinerary is full of events including ghatsathapna, spiritual discourse by Mohana Chitale, bharatnatyam by Tanvi Kulkarni, Kathak by Amruta Gogate and classical music by Uday Bhavalkar. The chanting of the jaap “Charanam Sharanam Ramambike Charanam Sharanam Trayamke” is done during evenings. The Ramambika Temple is not merely a worship place but has also become an interesting socio-cultural hub for the local residents. The temple was founded in 1996 with the idol of the Goddess Ramambika, carved out of a single black stone from Tarkal near Mangalore.
Vandevi Temple is now relocated on a hilltop near Dahanukar Colony. The goddess adorns a brocade saree and heavy sparking jewelry especially designed for the Navratri festival. The temple looks beautiful in the evening with fine electric illumination on it. Devotees took out a procession of the Goddess in palanquin on first day of Navratri. The temple schedule has been packed for all the nine days of Navratri. Devotees throng to temple to get benefited by Bhajans, Kirtans and Naanm Sansmaran that makes the temple premises abuzz with sacred chanting.
Recently, the temple has been restored by the local residents who are well connected through the platform the temple has given to them. The temple was relocated on hilltop since Karvenagar started developing fast. Earlier, it was known as Hingane village on the bank of Mutha River. There are two idols in the temple.
The temple is known as Sasurvasinichi Devi after a woman who was tortured by her In-Laws. The legend goes somewhat like this: a newly married girl prays to the Goddess who appears before her. The girl stays overnight at the temple and refuses to go home in the morning. Bowing to her determination, the goddess takes her into her safe haven. The villagers after realizing this, installed another idol of the girl besides the Goddess.
Bhavani Temple on Paud Road is also relocated to the hilltop after widening of the road. The temple is ancient and is very famous as it is a replica of original Bhavani Goddess idol at Tuljapur. The installation was done on first day with great pomp with small replica being carried in Palanquin procession. Pooja and Abhsihekam are regular chores during the festival. The Goddess adorns various decorations and shapes of rajhans, elephant, peacock, cow, eagle, lion, cobra and horse as her vehicle on each day of the festival.
The temple management carries social activities like distribution of stationary to underprivileged students. The wheat and rice grains offered by the devotees are donated to the hostels in rural area of Mulshi village at the end of the festival. Medical checkup camps for women are conducted during this period.
The Parvati temple structure built in 1749 is a cluster of many temples. The temple gained importance when Peshaws ruled Pune. The temple is located on hills popularly known as ‘Parvati’ meaning hillock. The temple enshrines Vishnupanchayatan (of five gods and goddesses) the idols of Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishu, Devateshwar and Lord Karthikeya.
A description written by Narayan Vishnu Joshi in 1868 reads like this: In the morning the entire hilltop is covered in mist. At the east of Pune is covered with forests with few residences ‘wadas’ in between. The shikhar (top) of Ganesh Temple at Sarasbaug is picturesque.”
The hill temple can be reached by scaling 108 steps marked by specialized stone architectural works of Maratha style. At the Parvati Museum, located nearby, old manuscripts, rare coins and weapons, Sati Monument and Vetal Chabutra are housed. Considered to be one of the oldest heritage structures in Pune, these temples serve as a reminder of the Peshwa rule in the region. Legend states that from the hill, Peshwa ruler Balaji Bajirao watched the British getting defeated at the Battle of Kirkee.