March 19, 2017

If you are looking to escape the city life somewhere near Pune or Mumbai in Maharashtra? Need a much needed break from the traffic and crowded streets. Camping near Panshet is the place to head off to for a weekend break or even mid-week outing. Enjoy the experience of sleeping under the open sky by the Panshet Lake. Panshet is a beautiful night camping site in the open, under the twinkling sky. Panshet is quite close to Khadagwasla dam, and approx 50 km from Pune, and approx 150 km from Navi Mumbai. 






The travel from Khadagwasla to Panshet itself is one of a kind where most of campers and photographers don't sit inside the vehicle but prefer to stop at time to time due to amazing surroundings. We started from Pune and reached here in 3 hours including multiple breaks. We choose Panshet Eco Village camp-site near Surya Shibir resort, which is still developing. This itself was a great experience. As soon as we reach the place, we had splendid views of the lake. Soon we got set up our camping tents, mats, and started the bonfire for the night camping. 

Soon after sunset, the real fun begins around 8 pm. We got our evening snacks ready and temprature started to drop. Everyone free to enjoy the evening as we want. Sanjay also bring his Guitar along-with him, and Chanchal his open-air speakers. We sing and dance at time to time and prefer playing music from our phones as per choice. We also had time to photograph at times, and enjoyed star gazing and bonfire till midnight. Everyone had dinner as and when we feel hungry. We also see few shooting stars during the night. If you have your telescope with you, This place is good to observe the constellation of stars and planets. Please note that it becomes quite cold in night, and during winters temprature drops a lot, so carry  woolen clothes and blankets is very important. The tents we got were new, and good quality. We have nets inside, so we opened few zips of tents, that keep flowing fresh air all the time. 






Few of us just slept for 2-3 hours and wake up early to adore the beautiful sunrise by the lake. We enjoyed it fully and had few clicks as well. Later we had our breakfast, and stayed there till 11 AM. The best time to do camping at Panshet is October to March. Avoid during the monsoon. Panshet is also very safe place to camp out in the open since there is no wild animals or even snakes around the place. But still be aware of surroundings, for your own safety. Swimming in lake is prohibited, but boat tour can be enjoyed after the sunrise. Our full group was full of energy. Really enjoyed the night and day throughout. Looking forward to more of these adventures to come. 






There are many other camping sites in Maharashtra, which can be enjoyed with trekking:
Bhandardara Camping
Konya River Camping
Krishna River Camping
Rajmachi Trek and Camping
Karjat Trek and Camping
Kolad Camping
Sahyadri Camping
Panchgani Camping
Torna Camping
Dapoli Camping
Alibaug Trek and Camping
Pawna Trek and Camping
Murud Camping
Kaas Trek and Camping
Lonavala Trek and Camping
Pune Trek and Camping
Mumbai Trek and Camping

March 4, 2017

Quote of the Post: "Gola Gokarannath Temple truly attracts millions of devotees of all religions, castes and creed from all over the world and deserve to named as Choti Kashi." - Quote about 'Gola Gokarannath Shiv Temple' (शिव मन्दिर) by Sachin Kumar Gupta

Gola Gokaran Nath Temple is a Hindu temple in Gola Gokarannath, Uttar Pradesh, India and is also known as Shiv Temple of Gola Gokaran Nath. This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (Shankar). The Gola Gokaran Nath is also called Choti Kashi. This temple is quite anicient, and presently an important and active pilgrimage site of the Hindus and attracts long lines of devotees daily. Teerth-Kund at Shiva Temple is having a new big Shiva idol, which will make its mark in UP and India's tourist places. 


It was a holy occasion of Pathik's Mundan ceremony (Tonsure ceremony). We left from Shahjahanpur at 10 AM since we had to reach Gola Gokarannath as per plan. We were in a big group of 15 family members to visit Gola Gokarannath temple. Gola is about 65 km from the city of Shahjahanpur, about 35 km from Lakhimpur and about 150 km from Lucknow.

As soon as we reached the temple, the echoing sound of ringing bells is simply amazing, and gives goosebumps. People chanting 'Bum Bum Bhole', 'Jai Bhole', 'Om Namah Shivaya' at this place. There are many decorated shops nearby, and small market. It is a beautiful place to conduct religious ritual, though many place need improvement. Anyone can enter the temple premises and its inner chambers. Last visit was with Manish when I visited in 2008. I took some time during evening to capture sunset overlapping with crescent moon on the head of Lord Shiva. Few other photographs were also taken, specially Pathik's mundan ceremony ones. 


The legend says that when the churning of oceans - Samudra Manthana - took place in the month of Shravan, fourteen different types of rubies came out. Thirteen of these were distributed among the daemons, except Halahal (poison). Lord Shiva drank the Halahal and stored it in his throat. Hence the name Neelkantha (meaning blue throat) is attributed to Shiva. To reduce the strong effect of poison, Lord Shiva wore the crescent moon on his head. All the Gods, thereafter started offering the Ganges water to Lord Shiva to make lessen the effect of poison. Since, this happened in the month of Shravan, since then the Shiva devotees offer the Ganges water in this month.




This pilgrimage continues to visit this place throughout the year. It is estimated that during Shravan month, around 10 to 15 lakhs pilgrims visit Gola Gokarnnath dham. 





Festivals at Gola Gokaran Nath:
Saavan Mela: The importance of Gokarnnath dham increases during the month of Shravan (during July–August every year). During this period, the kanwarias first take a dip in the teerth sarovar (pond) to purify themselves, and then enter into the temple, where the Ganges water is offered to the Jyotirlingam. 
Chaiti Mela: In the month of Chatra (April) a great fair is organised for one month known as Cheti-Mela. All nearby areas are decorated quite well during that time. 
Maha Shivratri Mela: During this period, lakhs of devotees throng the Holy Shiv Temple. 
Bhoot Nath Mela: Shiva devotees offer the Ganges water, flowers, and sweets to the Shiv. Personally I feel that milk offering to the shivaling should be avoided, and can be offered to needy people. I am happy to see that many people understand that, and few temple priest also insist not to offer milk on top of shivaling. 

Important Places To Visit (In and near main Shiv Temple):
  • Budhe Baba Temple
  • Chandrabhal Baba Satsang Sthal
  • Gokaran Nath Dwar
  • Gokaran Nath Shiv Temple
  • Kartikeya Dwar
  • Maharshi Ved Vyas Yagya Mandap
  • Mata Parvati Satsang Sthal
  • Mela Sahayata Kendra
  • Nath Baba Dwar
  • Nath Vatika
  • Neelkanth Teerth Maidan
  • Radha-Krishna Temple
  • Ram-Janaki Temple
  • Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple
  • Shani Temple
  • Teerth Sarovar Dwar
  • Teerth Sarovar
  • Vinayak Dwar
  • Vishwanath Satsang Sthal
  • Vishwakarma Temple
Other Famous temples in Chhoti Kashi (Shiv Nagari):
  • Bhootnath temple
  • Gajmochan Nath temple
  • Kalesh Haran Temple
  • Lakshmanjati Temple
  • Mangla Devi Temple
  • Phool Baba Ashram
  • Tedenath Temple
  • Trilokinath Temple
We had great time here with Pathik and full family, and everyone felt blessed.  
Om Namah Shivaya

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