Showing posts with label maharashtra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maharashtra. Show all posts

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mahabaleshwar : The Queen of Hill stations in Maharashtra

At an altitude of 1372 meters, nestled in the Sahyadri mountain ranges, is the queen of hill stations in the state of Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar. Although located in the Satara district, Mahabaleshwar is near to Pune. The beautiful mountain plateau is surrounded by the greenery all through and is famous for its ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and its great produce of Strawberries.

Infact the name comes from the temple of Lord Shiva, known as the strongest or with the greatest of strengths and power, which is Mahabaleshwar. The ambience is soothing and the jungles are still unexplored. One can engulf into many activities in wonderful serene environment still untouched by commercialization like the rest of the hill stations of India. One can go for horse riding, boating, fishing or just explore the marvels of nature.

There is no authentic recorded account of the early history of Mahabaleshwar. It has, however, been ascertained that a Jadav king of Devagiri visited it in the 13th century and built a small temple at the source of river Krishna. In the mid-16th century the Maratha family of Chandarao More, became rulers of Jaoli and Mahabaleshwar, during which period the temple of Old Mahabaleshwar was rebuilt. It was also looked after the by the legendary King of the Marathas, Shivaji. But the place came into prominence only when the British came here in the beginning of the 19th century and made it there summer getaway from the humid heat of Mumbai.

The deep gorges of Krishna and Koyna Rivers, the ever-gushing waterfalls and the stupendous views of the surroundings that include the magnificent ancient fort of Pratapgad are some of the major attractions of this hill station. The sister town, an another hill station named after the five rivers those are seen here, the Panchgani hill station is also an attraction for the visitors. But what allures the visitor, are the strawberry fields, which are considered to be the best in the country. The red beautiful fruit is seen all over the hill station and the visitors are allowed to experience the plucking of this beautiful fruit.

Mahabaleshwar has as many as 30 viewpoints, which offer a splendid view of different locations. It rains heavily in Mahabaleshwar and therefore other than during the monsoons the hill station is full of tourists, all through the year.

Location: Located at the distance of around 150 kms is the Queen of Hill stations in Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar.

Languages Spoken: Marathi, English and Hindi
Long Distance Code: +91-2168
Importance: Hill Station
Area: 145.04 sqkm
Best Time To Visit: October To June

Mahabaleshwar Attractions:

Venna Lake

One of the most beautiful spots in the region, Venna Lake offers a number of activities right from boating to fishing.There are many other specific points in the area offering great views of the surroundings such as the Lodwick point, the Arthur point, the Babington point and Kate's point. An excursion can be taken to the nearby magnificent fort of Pratapgad and the twin hill station of Panchgani.

Mahabaleshwar Temple

This is the temple, which gives this exotic hill station its name. Built in the Hemadpant style of architecture, the Mahabaleshwar temple settles down in the old part of the town. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has a naturally formed shape of a Lingam, which is worshipped.

Lingamala Water falls

Like many others in the area, the Lingamala waterfalls are of utmost beauty. They offer an enthralling sight and are favourite with picnickers.

Wilson point or the sunrise point

As the name denotes this highest spot in Mahabaleshwar offers a great view of sunrise form the cliff, which seems clinging to the mountain.

Panchaganga Mandir

This ancient temple has been built to honour the five rivers which show a token presence in the area in forms of springs which are, Krishna, Venna, Koyna, Savitri and Gayatri. These five rivers are referred to as the Panch Ganga. The temple also offers a splendid view of the surroundings.

Mahabaleshwar Hotels:


Total Rooms : 20
Star Category : 3
The Panorama-isle our own pleasure island. A beautiful man-made little wonder, complete with a swimming pool and 20ft. waterfall cascading down to canal which gently winds it's way around. Our paddle boats will take you on a cruise around this enchanting isle, and through a tunnel that features ….. … guess what ? Truly it's going to be a most exotic experience to you.


Total Rooms : 78
Star Category : 3
You will not only feel pampared by our staff, but also enjoy the homely ambience of our rooms. Coming to SAJ is like entering paradise. Springs and water falls abound in the area offering lovely picnic spots. The winding rides through thick foliage are an experience. If one really wants to enjoy nature in all its placid glory, it is a must for every visitor to take leisurely walks along these sylvan paths. One can also ride on ponies' backs, savouring nature's virgin viridity.


Total Rooms : 78
Star Category : 0
Guest Satisfaction is always our top priority. Every effort is made to elevate your holiday experience at Mahabaleshwar. Indeed we are proud of our high service standards. And we'd like every guest to experience this special treatment. So, here is a guide to all our fantastic services that we provide.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Shirdi - Pilgrimage Center Of India

Shirdi is the mystical town fragrant with the devotional intensity that sees devotees from across the world. Highly placed on the world map of spirituality, Shirdi is located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and close to the holy city of Nasik. Sited about 300 kms from Mumbai, the town has a mystic aura about itself.Shirdi is best known as the late 19th century home of the popular guru Shirdi Sai Baba. This place is acclaimed for its spiritual importance and the eminent saint Sai Baba spent the most important part of his life here.
Such is the devotional strength of the place that even a casual visitor cannot remain unaffected by the faith and conviction of the devotees on Saibaba. It is a popular pilgrim place and is famous for its Sai Baba Temple. He worshipped both at temples and mosques. His life and teachings are wonderful semblance of both faiths. Saibaba is believed to have arrived at the village of Shirdi when he was about sixteen years old. He lived an extremely simple and ascetic life. He has been attributed numerous miracles which still live expanding the list of his devotees. Today Saibaba temples are all across India and even beyond. People started believing him to be an incarnation of God and called him Sai or saint. An ardent devotee built the Sai Samadhi Mandir here, which has become the nerve center of religious activities in the state.This sacred place is strewn with a number of pilgrimage spots including the Sai Baba Temple, Shri Khandoba Mandir, Dwarkamai (Mosque), Chawadi, Lendi Baug, Samadhi of Abdulbaba and Maruti Temple.This significantly contributes to travel and tourism, as thousands of pilgrims visit the place from different corners of the world. The most remarkable verity about this place is that here you will find people from all religions and communities, without any kind of discrimination.

Tourist Attraction :-
Shri Sai Baba Temple - Built by an ardent devotee of Sai Baba, the temple is thronged by thousands every year. The temple houses a life size statue of Sai Baba, made of Italian marble. He can be seen seated on a giant throne with a silver umbrella over his head.
Shri Gurusthan Mandir - It is believed to be the same place, where Shri Sai first appeared in Shirdi, at the age of sixteen.
Dwarkamai - It is the mosque where Sai Baba stayed, when he came to Shirdi for the second time. Situated towards right side of the temple, it still preserves the rock where Sai Baba used to sit. The eternal flame lighted by Baba is kept alive since then and vibhuti (sacred ash) is distributed amongst devotees.
Lendi Gardens - It is the place for meditation, where Baba used to come for a walk every day .There is a Neem tree here, under which a diya (lamp) used to be lit by him. It has now been converted into a marble lighthouse, where the lamp continues to burn.
Samadhi of Abdulbaba - It is the grave of the person, who used to read holy Quran to Baba. Since Abdulbaba was a devoted disciple of Baba, his Samadhi is situated in the premises of Sri Sai Baba Temple.
Maruti Temple - Sai Baba visited this temple regularly and even conducted satsangs.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ajanta caves; the world heritage site

A two and half hour drive from Aurangabad takes you to the world heritage site of Ajanta. Although it is nearer to the cities of Jalgaon and Buldhana, Ajanta caves are better approached from Aurangabad. The caves are built in a horseshoe shaped curve of the steep rocky gorge that rises above the river Waghore. These rock hewn caves, still glowing in their own natural colours, are the finest achievements of the Buddhist monks who arrived here in 2nd century B.C. and reflect the zenith of ancient Indian art and architecture. Though most were carved in the first 400 years span, but the work continued till 7th century A.D. The caves were suddenly abandoned, most probably to the nearby Ellora caves. They remained unknown and forgotten for centuries, until, in 1819, soldiers from a British hunting party found them, accidentally.
The exquisite paintings on the walls of the caves and some sculptures depict the development in Buddhism, over the span of eight centuries. The central theme of the frescoes remain the life and times of Buddha. Then there are descriptive Jataka tales, when Buddha assumed forms of animals on the earth in his previous births. There are lions, elephants, monkeys, peacocks and geese with human forms of 'Yakshas', 'Kinneras' (half human and half bird) 'Gandharvas' (divine musicians), 'Apsaras' (heavenly dancers), which were of concern to the people of that time. All of them decorated with intricacy. Their half-closed eyes giving an air of meditation.
The most important and better preserved caves are cave numbers 1, 2, 16, 17 and 19.

Cave 1:
The doorway has the most seen Ajanta frescoes of Padmapani and Vajrapani; celestial figures holding Lotus and Thunder bolt respectively in their hands. A court scene, from the Mahajanaka Jataka is depicted here. The Ummaga Jataka and the Champeya Jataka are shown in this cave. Interesting in these frescoes is the head gear of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara and the ornaments, clothes hairstyles and the purses carried by the womenfolk. They are drawn and coloured with minute intricacy showing the caliber of the artisans.

Cave 2:
In cave number 2 Buddhist icons were sculpted according to a set of codified rules that used symbolic hand gestures and motifs such as the wheel, the deer, the throne and sacred Bodhi tree. Each represents a stage of Buddha's life. The ceiling and wall paintings illustrate events associated with Buddha's birth including Maya, Buddha's mother. There are many paintings in this cave where the human figures are dressed differently than those of the others. Others are the tales from the Vidhurpandita Jataka.

Cave 16:
In between cave number 2 and 16 are many caves depicting the miracle of Sravasti. A special painting known as the “dying princess” adorns one wall of the cave. This shows Sundari, the wife of Buddha’s half-brother, dying when she is told that her husband was going to become a monk. There are many female attendants besides her, one being a nurse. Astonishingly enough, the nurse is shown wearing the same uniform as of today.

Cave 17:
Stories from the Vishvantara Jataka and the Hamsa Jataka can be found here. One fresco shows Buddha preaching, with his right hand raised and palm facing the viewer, in posture of blessing. Buddha is shown seated in Padmasana- the lotus pose of meditation and is often shown with his hair tied in a topknot surrounded by a halo of light, representing nirvana or enlightenment. Another touching fresco is depicted in this cave when Buddha came back to Kapilavastu after enlightenment. He is shown with his wife Yashodhara and son Rahul. Here the figure of Buddha is tall and his wife and son look like dwarfs in front of him, depicting his knowledge and prominence.
Cave 19:
Just like the caves in Ellora, all the caves in Ajanta are Monolithic and carved from top to bottom. This cave carries huge Stupa structure with Buddha seated in it and celestial figures flying over it.

Cave 26:
Last of the caves which is intricately decorated and carved. The main sculpture here is that of the sleeping Buddha. It is the legend of his Mahanirvana; i.e. his death. While normal humans are seen mourning below, the celestial figures in the heaven are seen rejoicing.
Ajanta is being restored with the same natural colours that were used, where they have been faded.