Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kas and Thosegad

Location Guide:

Satara to Old Tunnel to Kas Valley to Kas Lake back to Tunnel to Thosegarh (Thosegad)

As soon as we took right turn before the Old tunnel in Satara it was a different world altogether.

Once the Ghats were finished we were in Kas Pathars. This is a place with some of the most scenic landscapes. The best time to visit Kas valley is in September. During this time the valley is also known as valley of flowers. The slopes of the valley are all covered with different colours of flowers. 




After getting down from Kas valley the Kas Lake welcomed us. I have always been awed by the serenity of this Lake.

All the natural places have there own signatures. The Kas Lake have these trees half submerged in the waters of Lake. These trees have always been a synagogue of the lake.






In Kas valley on both sides of the road has two big rocks. The best part about these gigantic rocks is the shape that Nature has provided them. They appear to be Natures answer to man made Castles. One rock also have these two straight and minarets shaped rocks which resemble to the entrance gate to this Castle.






On my way back, I met with this Camera friendly Butterfly. Usually I have always aspired to take snaps of these big butterflies but they have always eluded me. But this time there was no disappointment.





We came back to the Old tunnel of Satara and after crossing the tunnel we took right turn to Thosegarh.  



Thosegarh is the deepest water fall of Maharashtra. The sound of water welcomes you and before even seeing this natural marvel it creates a sense of anticipation and as soon as the water fall come in sight I felt that I anticipated very less. The water fall has a calming effect and although there were around 30 people around us but I felt nothing but the presence of the Waterfall. 



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Photographs of Tigers
Monkeys on and around the podium of Waterfall are a treat to watch




During this trip I took these two photographs of my parents which could easily  epitomize my master card advertisement story “There are many things in life which money can't buy, for every thing else there is Master card” 



Monday, October 19, 2009

The Historical Kopeshwar Temple at Khidrapur

Location: 60 KMS South East of Kolhapur.

Location Guide: Kolhapur to Icchalkaranji to Abdullat to Kurundwad to Akiwat to Khidrapur.

People say that a few initial steps in a journey provide the signs of what lies ahead. I must say this proved out to be the case this time. The nests of the weaving birds were a pleasant surprise but I didn’t knew that it was just a beginning of a wonderful trip filled up with sightings of some of the most amazing birds that I will come across






The only crop that you see on both sides of the road is the Sugar Cane. Absolute green Sugar cane fields filled with loads of water, black soil and loads of birds surrounding them. I kept on amusing for the entire trip that is this same Maharashtra where farmers committing suicides along with their families is such a common news that it now does not even qualify to make to a page 3 news item.

One of the most notable villages that come on the way is Sainik Takli. Legend has it that every family in the village has a son working in Indian Army. The sign boards of the village clearly carries distinct Military patterns, the lawn of the Government primary school are well trimmed and well maintained.

A Step in to History:

As soon as one enters the temple premises, the temple’s aura takes over and the entire appearance of this temple takes us in to a different age altogether. The temple is made up of Black stone and the architecture of the temple resembles itself with that of Konark of Puri and other traditional ancient south Indian temples. It was built by Shilahar King Gandaraditya, Vijayaditya and Bhoj-II between 1109 and 1178 A.D

The most astonishing fact about this temple is the fact that the black stone used to build the temple are found no where near 600 Kms in any direction. One of the theories regarding transportation of these stones from South India to this location proposes that it was done through water channel of Krishna River

Legend has it that lord Shiva was intensely furious when sati Parvati jumped into Daxa`s sacrifice. He received peace of mind only after visiting the Khidrapur Mandir.

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The Temple is comprised of four units the Swargamandapam, Sabhamandapam, Antaral Kaksha and Garbha griha. The first one being the Entrance of the temple and forms the outline to the temple.

All the external Pillars protruding out of the foundation of the Temple have symbols of power and strength carved out on them. Symbols like A bull, a Wild goat with curled horns, Elephant etc provides symbolic strength to the structure of the temple. They have proved there planner and architect correct in every sense by sustaining the weight of this temple for ages.

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The divine trinity of Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh guard the two sides and the back side of the temple. Shiva being at the centre of all the three statues signifies that the temple has always been a Shiva temple.

The most intriguing part of the temple is the second unit. It is a dome that has an open finished circle on the top of it. If one lies down below this dome and looks to the open skies it gives a feeling of that how moon can be so near?  Feels like being on Chandrayan.


To lie down under dome made me feel like being just under the moon. Moon never ever was so very near.

There are two possible theories that are floated around regarding the openness of the dome from the top. The first one proposes that the temple was to be made in one single night and this was the only part of the temple that could not be made that night.  It’s hard to believe and rely on this theory as the dome of the temple never appears to be a half cooked structure. In fact we can observe fineness and symmetry around the open part of the dome. This gives more strength and conviction to the second theory, which proposes that this open dome was meant to be the doors or channels to heaven. The worships (Yagya) being performed under the dome and the holy smoke along with holy recitations reaches directly to the Gods placed in Heavens.

This part of the temple has most of the sculptures depicting common man (mostly from Vaishya community) worshiping and other astonishing stone carved art forms on pillars.

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The transition from the open dome to the third unit is welcomed by Yakshas (Angels) on both sides of the door.

The third unit has different sculptures on the pillars of the temple. The pillars have stories of the ancient Panchtantra, Ramayana, and depiction of different reincarnations like Narsimha Avtar with Bhakt Prahlad, Kali Devi, Hanuman and Gautam Buddha etc.

The depiction of stories of Panchtantra and carved statue of Gautam Buddha are the most surprising and enigmatic parts of this unit. I also believe that this temple must have also acted to keep the followers of Baudha religion united with main stream Hindu religion


The Above carving depicts the Story of a monkey who be friends a Crocodile and daily  gives him berries of his tree. One day influenced by his wives judgment that some who eats such sweet berries daily must be very tasty to eat, the Crocodile decides to eat the monkey, The monkey fools the crocodile and escapes.

The Above carved stone depicts the story of a tortoise  who befriends two birds. After some days the tortoise expresses his desire to fly like his friends and suggests that if the two birds carry him with stick in there mouth he can fly. Eventually the stick breaks in mid air and the tortoise dies. 

Carving of Ma Kali:

 Carving of the Monkey God- Hanuman

 Carving of Buddha:

 The Fourth unit of the temple forms the Garbh grah (The main dome) of the temple. This unit has a Shiva Ling in the centre.
Faces of most of the statues have been mutilated. History says that this was done by Adil Shah the ruler of near by Bijapur Kingdome. This goes to show that religious fanaticism has always been the bane of all the forms of Human expressions.

The temple is under the supervision of Archeological survey of India. There are two staffs posted at this temple site. Mr. Parmeshwar (an ex-service man from the Gunners) and Mr. Umesh Gurav (appointed as the priest of the temple). Umesh carries a lot of information regarding the temple and it is recommended to go around the temple with him.