September 11, 2012

Company of loved ones, dark clouds covering whole of the sky, long drive, what else can one ask for on a weekend! Inadvertently, if the cam goes off, that's certainly you wouldn't appreciate. :( Desperation gives way to creativity, and there we were clicking the pics with the strength of all our senses put together. 

From Ozar Ganpati temple, we headed to Ganpati Teample at Lenyadri Hills, which is a series of 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves near Junnar Taluka, approx 90 km from Pune. This place is also known as "Sulaiman Pahar (mountain) or Ganesh Pahar". These caves have been created in 1st - 3rd century AD as a Buddhist monastery. Group of 30 caves contains two large shrines - chaitya griha (Cave 6-14) and one small chaitya. Other caves were created as dwellings for monks - viharas. Most viharas consist of verandah, central hall and cells arranged around the central hall. Although of smaller dimensions when compared to Ajanta, Ellora, Bhaja caves

Later on, one of the Buddhist dwellings was turned into a popular shrine of Hindu god Ganesh, which is one of the Ashtavinayak shrines at the Cave 7Some also name as Shri Girijatmaj Lenyadri GanapatiIt is said that in this particular cave Devi Parvati performed tapascharya for twelve long years for the gain of a son. After her long tapascharya, Lord Ganesh himself came before her. It is said that Lord Ganesha’s childhood took place in the Lenyadri mountains. It was his playground. So the name of the idol ‘Girijatmaj’ comes as ‘Girija’ meaning Devi Parvati and ‘Aatmaj’ meaning Son. Lenyadri carries an ancient myth which says that when the great Pandavas were living in agyatvas during their 13th year of exile, they sculptured these caves in just one night. 

How to reach Lenyadri 

Lenyadri Hill and Temple Map
By road from Pune: On the Pune Nasik Road passing through Chakan, Rajgurunagar, Manchar, Narayangaon to Junnar one can reach Lenyadri Ganpati. Junnar is the town closest to Lenyadri. Maharashtra state Transport buses also ply from Mumbai and Pune to Junnar. The distance between in Junnar to Lenyadri is 5km and this can be covered either by autorickshaw, car or jeeps that are easily available.

One can go by any vehicle to the base of hills further to which you have approx 300 stone cut steps arranged in ten flights, to take you to the top of the hill. The Palkhi or Doli (human carriage) service also offered 200 INR per person to the needy people till the top, that is one of the source of employment to locals. It is recommended to have water bottle while going up, as there is no shop up or on the stairways. As soon as we started climbing, little shower welcomed us, and after moving more up, strong wind made it harder to walkup, though enjoyable.

The place looks really eye-catching during monsoon season and ask us to be there for long. This holy place is encircled by a series of hills on all sides, and Shivneri Fort can also be adored from this place. The temple and the neighbouring caves are in possession of The Archaeology Department of India. The entry fee (darshan) is charged as Rs. 5 for the pilgrims and tourists.

So be it the quick trek, visit to the holy place, discover the history of caves in India, or a family or friends group tour, it attracts all. Anmol, Meenal, Anshul including me enjoyed the day so far, and next moved toward Bheemashanker Jyotirling.


friendn said...

are u r to visiting nice & good place in Maharastra -friend

Unknown said...

Dear Sachin, It is very nice to see the photography of most of places you have visited. It is good attempt. You have visited Ashta Vinaak. I hope you have not gone thro' the History of these places since you are not from Maharashtra. You have captured the photographs of Lenyadri Caves. Wha it indicates? You have simply mentioned about Ganapati caves. Peshva of Pune has disfigured the statue of Buddha and called it Ganapati facinf it inwardly. There is no statue of god facing backward in the known world. It is astonishing to note. "The people who doesn't know history cannot make any history, even they cannot make life." This is what is happening with neo-IT visionary youngsters. India has 2500 years old history which is called as golden era of India which has been kept in dark.
Lenyadri and other temples are not mere temple but they are Buddhist caves, where Buddhist monks and merchants right from Paithan to Nala Sopara used stay while traveling with their silk and other materials exporting to Greek country. Nala Sopara was one of the biggest harbour since Ashoka the Great dynasty. There are many Buddhist caves around Paithan, Aursngabad(now Sambhaji Nagar) Nasik,Junnar, Maval, Pune, Thane etc. Even around Pune there are 5 Buddhist Caves, (i.e. Pataleswar caves, Chatturshingi hillock, Parvati hillock, Kondhwa hillock etc.) But during the reins of Peshva of Pune who grabbed the powers from Maratha king Chhtrapati Shahu Maharaj, all these caves have either been demolished or disfigured. Best example is Pataleswae caves on J.M. Road, Lanyadri at Junnar, Karla caves is being taken over by Siv Sena sacrificing goats and cocks every year in front of Karla caves and have totally been disfigured or converted into Hindu Temples. Please go thro the TRUE History which is hidden from the masses in India.

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