November 10, 2015

We heard of this place (Alandi near Pune) since long, so visited on a casual unplanned short visit next to Pimpri-Chinchwad. This is the place where Saint Dnyaneshwar (Jnaneshwar) did his penance and attained samadhi. He also attained the holy blessing by Sri Panduranga and created one of the extraordinary work called Jnaneshwari (translating the Bhagavad Gita in Marathi). 

There is a most famous beautiful temple named 'Shri Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Sanjeevan Samadhi Mandir', but not well maintained. Just like any other famous temple, this is also a crowded one, where you hardly get to see St. Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Samadhi for few seconds even after being lined up in a long queue. There are a large number of vendors outside the main temple complex that offer materials for worshiping at the samadhi such as garlands, turmeric etc. We put off our shoes/chappals from the same place where we took some sweets etc later. If we consider temple, then certainly it is a good place - such an old heritage temple.

This reside at the banks of Indrayani River. The Indrayani river is a Perennial River and bathing in the river has special significance for pilgrims to Alandi. It is considered to be holy and clean, but sorry to say that it doesn't give the feeling at all. The river is heavily polluted because of sewage discharge by different towns along its course. The different needs of the pilgrims are performed by different groups of Brahmins near the ghat, like - after birth events, hair cuts, cremation, weddings or at the religious services to the bereaved respectively. 

There are many other temples and places to visit in and near Alandi. Those are mainly for the interest to pilgrims.
    Dnyaneshwari Mandir
    Laxmi Narayan Mandir
    Sant Jalaram Temple: We stayed in this temple for about an hour, This was quite better and ambiance was really good. This temple was built in 1960s with the same architectural design as the one in Virpur Gujarat. There is a temple for Santoshi Mata in the same temple complex.
    Vitthala-Rakhumai Temple
People in the village are nice though. They make you feel that you have come to an holy place. The town also has dozens of dharmshalas and bhavans catering for different community. We had our lunch at nearby veg restaurant with quite cheaper rates. It is known that during Asadhi Ekadasi, there happens 'Palkhi' procession with the feet of Sant Dnyaneshwar on a 'Palkhi' from the temple to Pandharpur. The procession is joined by tens of thousands of devotees for the 150 km journey on foot. Pilgrims also perform circumambulation around the whole Alandi town during their visit. Pilgrims from all over India (majorly Maharashtra) come to Alandi throughout the year.
Just 17Kms from Alandi, another village called Dehu (Dehu gaon) is situated where you can find St. Tukaram Maharaj Mandir, Gatha Mandir and Vaikunth Mandir. Hope to visit this in our next trip.

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