Mahabaleshwar, Wai And Panchgani Diaries Part 2 – 3rd March 2021 to 9th March 2021.

This is the part 2 of the Trip Diaries. For those who have not read the part 1, click here

5th March Day 2… Old Mahabaleshwar

Itinerary for the day

  • Mahabaleshwar Temple
  • Panchganga Temple
  • Krishna Temple
  • Hunting Point
  • Malcolm Point
  • Echo Point
  • Tiger Spring Point
  • Arthur Seat
  • Savithri Point
  • Kates Point
  • Bombay Point / Sunset Point

After an exhausting and tiring day 1, it was time for my day 2 trip to start. The day 1 of trip was all about self exploration and travelling alone. The day 2 was different as the hotel had arranged for a cab. As I was not visiting all the places (I skipped Pratapgad, Panchgani and Wai), the driver informed me that we can start off in the afternoon and return by evening.

Since I had a few hours in the morning, I just decided to step out of the hotel and explore the market area nearby. The market is dotted with shops selling curios and other products, that you’ll normally associate with a tourist destination. I did not go too far as I did not want to be too tired for the afternoon trip.

I had a light lunch as I did not want to be sleepy during the trip, The cab picked me up from the hotel at 1.30 pm sharp and pretty soon we set off, The driver was very courteous and kept on giving some good to know information about the hill station and the places that we were about to visit.

Mahabaleshwar Temple – Old Mahabaleshwar

Our first stop was the Mahabaleshwar Temple. Its religious significance is more than that of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The shrine dates back to the 16th century and follows the Hemadant style of architecture.Its ancient architecture is characterized by a pyramidal tower set up on an unadorned exterior, while interiors are flanked with carvings. There are several idols and sculptures of Nandi and Kalabhairava. The simplicity of the temple is complemented by the majestic backdrop of Sahyadri ranges.

The temple has immense religious significance, as it is the only temple in the world with a Linga in the form of Rudraksha. The 6 feet long ‘Swayambhu’ (self-originated) Shiva Linga, known as the Mahalingam, is thousands of years old. The sanctum sanctorum which houses the Linga is over 500 years old, while other parts of the temple were constructed subsequently.

The temple complex also houses the belongings of Lord Shiva, and it is believed that Lord Shiva still uses them when he visits the premises every night. 

History of Mahabaleshwar Temple

The Mahabaleshwar Temple is around 800 years old, while the Swayambhu Shiva Linga presiding in the inner complex is thousands of years old. The reference of the mythological story behind the appearance of the Shiva Linga can be traced to the first and second chapters of the Sahyadri Section of the Skanda Purana.

The story is timed around the creation of the world when during the Padma Kalp, Lord Brahma was meditating in the forests of Sahyadri for the creation of human beings. Two demon brothers named Atibal and Mahabal were troubling the sages and other beings in the region. They are believed to have appeared from a Shiva Linga that Ravana tried taking to Lanka with him.

Their wrongdoing had reached maximum extent, and Lord Vishnu had to fight them to protect the beings of the region. But he was able to kill only Atibal, as Mahabal was blessed that he couldn’t be killed by anyone without his own will.

Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu prayed to Lord Shiva and Goddess Aadimaya to help them get rid of Mahabal. Goddess Aadimaya mesmerized Mahabal with her beauty and asked him to surrender to the Gods. He agreed to lay down his life with a condition that Lord Shiva will reside with him forever in this region.

Lord Shiva appeared as a Shiva Linga in the shape of a Rudraksha to stay with him, and the entire region was named ‘Mahabaleshwar’ to honor Mahabal. The Mahabaleshwar temple houses a bed, Trishul, Damru, and Rudraksha for this very reason. According to folklore, the temple is visited by Lord Shiva every night as the bed is found crumpled every morning.

Panchganga Temple

Situated at a short distance from the Mahabaleshwar Temple is the Panchganga temple. Rivers and water bodies have always been worshipped as Gods and Goddesses as water is a essential to human lives. This fact comes alive at the Panchganga temple where 5 rivers are worshipped.

The Panchganga Temple is constructed at the convergence of five rivers: Krishna, Venna, Savitri, Koyna, and Gayatri. Panchganga translates to English as “Five Rivers”, and this temple is the attributed source of those rivers.

The legendary source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow (gaumukh) inside the Panchganga temple. Legend has it that Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the trimurti by Savitri. Also, its tributaries Venna and Koyna are said to be Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma themselves. 3 other rivers come out from the cow’s mouth apart from Krishna and they all travel some distance before merging into Krishna which flows East towards the Bay of Bengal. These rivers are the Koyna, Venna (Veni) and Gayatri. The Savitri river flows Westward via Mahad to the Arabian Sea.

The atmosphere inside the temple is calm and serene. The only sound that you can hear is of the water flowing through small outlets. Photography is strictly prohibited though I managed to steal some clicks. Its not every day that you get to visit the temple right.

Krishnabai Temple

Located few minutes away from the Panchganga temple, is the Krishnabai temple. There’s a well marked forest trail that starts from behind the Panchganga temple leading to this temple. Since this is not on the main road, few people visit this place.

Krishnabai temple is supposed to be the origin of the mighty Krishna River. Built in 1888 by a ruler of Ratnagiri on a hilltop overlooking the Krishna valley. The temple has a Shiva lingam and a beautiful statue of Goddess Krishna. A small stream of the river flowing from a cow-face (gomukh) falls in a Kund or water tank which is the source of mighty River Krishna. Stone carved columns and ceilings are the special characteristics of this temple.

A photographer’s paradise, this temple is beautiful and offers a breathtaking view of the Krishna Valley below. My guide informed me that the place comes alive during the rainy seasons as the entire valley takes on a green color.

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