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Monday, May 23, 2016

Chandori Temples: A Forgotten Legacy

Few days back there was this news in Times of India newspaper which I came across and  which set the ball rolling for my next exploration.

The news was that in the village of Chandori, few temples which has got submerged under the Godavari waters have resurfaced again and that too after 34 years!, The reason behind the resurfacing of these temples were the drought like conditions in the state of Maharashtra  which has lead to drying of the Godavari river bed.

Dry river bed of Godavari river
Once this fact became known to me, I was restless to be there,for the simple reason that if it rains again, its quite possible that I may lose the opportunity to explore this submerged legacy.

Submerged Legacy

It is not everyday that you get an opportunity to witness something which is lying submerged for past 34 years under the flowing waters of Godavari river.

Past glory

Now the next step was to see how I can reach this place, luckily for me my friend Shashi called me and asked can I join him for the visit to Chandori Temples. Well now this is what I call Law of attraction at its best and without blinking my eyelids I said I was in.

We all left on Saturday night taking a last fast Kasara local train and by the time we reached Kasara Station it was 1.30 am. From Kasara we had booked Jeep to take us to the base Village. Following the google map we reached the Chandori Village.Upon reaching the Chandori Village we took a right turn from the highway to enter the village, as it was 3;45 am so asking for direction was itself a task as not a soul could be seem. Anyways a little drive into the village and we were near this Temple.

Temple from where the path from right side leads  to the Godavari river

It was quite dark when we reached here luckily for us we found one villager who informed us that we were on right way and the Godavari river is just behind this temple but one has to take a little walk to the right side from the side of this temple.One thing that was very surprising was the coolness in the weather and the breeze flowing in the village.It was decided that we would go down the river side in the morning and check out the temples as it was dark but then wanderers are wanderers so few of us started to walk to have a sneak preview of the temples.

Sneak preview

Exploration under full moon

I simply cannot describe you the beauty of the place, especially when you are able to see only deserted ruins drenched in the milky moonlight of full moon and with cool breeze humoring you. Well it was a sight to die for. How I wish I could capture that real moment on camera but my camera is not so efficient to do so still here I am.

Deserted temples drenched in the milky moonlight of full moon

We again came back to the temple and decided to catch little sleep, hence we slept on the floor of the temple till the day break.Most of us were not able to sleep as the breeze was blowing very furiously and it was too chilly, mind you all this during the times when average climate in Maharashra is 40 degree furnace hot.

Caught napping 

Oh ! I  simply loved this place. As I was not carrying any bed sheet so for me the sleeping proved to be quite challenging.

Sun was yet to come out, and we were all eager now to go and explore the Chandori Temples Legacy, so we all regrouped and started our walk all over. Moving from the right and a little walk of 2 minutes we come across a this bridge.

River bridge and temples behind it

Walking little further from the temple we come across this bridge which joins the Chandori to Saykheda village and behind this bridge one can see a series of small temples on the river bed and the on the other side of the river the sun was rising in all its glory, painting the scenery all around in golden sheet.

The golden sunlight lit these temples in such a manner that one could feel the magic of bygone era.These temple are in a row one after the other but at little distance.

Temples in a row
Today luckily for us the place was devoid of any water today hence we would be able to explore each and every temple inside out.  

Temples standing as on today

Few of our friends had visited this place 3 weeks back and they found these temple partially submerged in water hence they had little difficulty to check out from inside. I am sharing the pictures they clicked 3 weeks earlier.

Partially submerged temples clicked 3 weeks earlier ( PC:Vinay Y Jadhav)

The interesting thing about all these temples was that each of them had a shivling. In a way we can say that each of the temple is Shiva temple. 

Innumerable shivlings
Another most baffling thing was that there was more than 20 nos of shivling lying here and there and almost everywhere. For a moment I thought Am I I missing something? lots of mystery surrounds this temple I must say viz like how come so many shivlings, rarely I have seen series of temples with only one deity.Indeed I was feeling puzzled.  

Shivling here

Shivling there

Shivlings everywhere

Not much information is available about these temples on the internet and neither the locals could give us any useful information. No doubt they have cleaned the temples from inside and offered prayers too.At some places people who had visited had put flowers and garlands on the deities.

Garlanded Idols
Another garlanded Idol

I could not find much history about this place on the net, matter of fact even the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has no record of these temples except for the fact that the villagers last saw these temples in the year 1982. According to one of the reports that I read on net was that during the year 1907 Nandur Madyameshwar dam was built (Reference Nashik Gazetteer) resultant to that the water's course went over these temples and they got submerged under the waters.Since last 100 years only twice these temples could be seen this been the 3 time, otherwise mostly their top domes were visible.

3 weeks earlier picture (PC: Vinay Y Jadhav)

It was now time for us to start our exploration. Moving down from the bridge we checked out the temple nearest to the bridge. 

Visit to our first temple

The front portion of the this temple is under debris perhaps due to this reason one can see only the head of the Nandi idol rest of the body buried under the stones.

Sunken idol of Nandi
There were two idols on each side on the outer side of the temple.

Ganpati carved on outer side 

The carving on the temples are quite exquisite 

Exquisite carvings on the temple
(PC: Vinay Y Jadhav) 

Exquisite carvings on the temple 
(PC: Vinay Y Jadhav) 

I am sharing pictures of my friend Vinay Jadhav who had visited this place 3 weeks earlier because that will help you understand how different the whole complex looked with water still being there.

Pic taken on 1st may 2016

 From here we moved on to the next temple. most of the temples were of similar pattern except for the last which is of Indra god.Few temples has this kind of embankment.

Embankment around the temple
A little ahead of these temples we find a proper ghat with well laid out steps, In current times the villager use this spot for washing clothes and bathing.

Ghats been used for bathing

We relaxed here for a bit of a time and then moved on to the last temple which is also know as Indra temple. 

Indra temple with 2 real snakes
( PC: Vinay y Jadhav)

Watching all this neglected historical legacy of temples and idols scattered around like some waste garbage. I was not only pained and hurt but felt helpless and frustrated as to why nothing can be done to protect and salvage such beautiful architecture.

History or garbage

Is this the way to treat the national treasures
Utter Filth 
People worship God, Go for char dham yatra and what not, but are not at all pained to see how brutally these temple embellishments and idols are left at the mercy of nature to be seen floating around in the dirty waters.

Seeing all this I want to make a humble request to, then be it Govt of India or some NGO to come forward and adopt this site. Reconstruction can be done of these temples especially with the modern technology available.The local Sarpanch should make an effort to bring their village on map as a popular tourism spot.

Now that these temples have emerged and can be seen. Every effort must be made to see that this wonderful piece of history don't dissolves away into oblivion and remains only as news that these temples were seen third time during the year 2016.

With heavy heart and lots of questions in my mind  I left from Chandori Village to explore a new destination Kugaon Killa aka Inamdarancha wada( Click here to read out our new journey)  because I believe the journey of Weekend Wanderer is ever ongoing !!

Shashikant Dumbre Picture set of Chandori

Chandori Temples Journey video ( Click here for the video Film)

Special Thanks to Shri Vinay Jadhav for allowing few of his pictures for this blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Coastal Odyssey: Gokarna Beach & Om Beach

The road journey that we had embarked on from Karwar to south of the the western coast was proving to be one of my best exploration adventure,I knew the beaches along the coast are very good but I had never expected to come across such quite,serene and enigmatic temple of SRI LAXMINARAYAN MAHAMAYA TEMPLE ANKOLA ( click on this link if you want to read about laxminarayan mahamaya temple) , Sitting at the steps near the temple I was all but in a trance, never wanted to take away my eyes away from such beautiful temple.

I was zapped by the beauty of this temple

Seeing me transfixed my wife tapped on my shoulder and said "Ab yehan rahkar sanyas lene ka vichar to nahi na" I smiled and said "Sanyas aur mai, arre abhi toh aur kitni manzile mera intezaar kar rahi hai " saying this we all moved into our car searching for the next destination, Koi Bola tha na ki aage beach hai....toh Chalo phir.It has began to rain again, but we were all enjoying every moment of it.

Idyllic and mystical drive

We again took to the highway NH17 and started moving toward south, the signboards were suggesting that our next destination should be Gokarna beach,Om beach, Kudle Beach.Actually we were given to understand by a local person that beaches were in a row along the coast so one can easily cover them all.It has started raining again and overcast climate is always so idyllic and mystical.

Coastal roads offer a spectrum of beautiful shades of nature that "yeh dil mange more ", I honestly wanted to get out of the car and enjoy the bounty of the nature 

Bounty of nature

but Oh, My time constraint ! and this thought actually reminded me of the beautiful lines of poem which  played out in my mind 

What is this life full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.

I know only one thing,

Manzilon ka kaam hai pukarna,
Aur Musafir ka kaam hai chalna,
Isiliya ,Mai toh chala 
Jider chale rasta.

Moving in towards the Gokarana beach

So taking a right turn from the Highway we moved on to the narrow lanes of village to take us to the Gokarna Beach and little ahead we saw this board leading us to the beach.

Once we reached the village the lanes kept getting narrower as some festival was going on. Gokarna is known to be a holy town. As one of the local said that this town has a historical reverence and the name is derived from Go (Holy Cow) and Karna (Ear). I for one takes these thing with a pinch of salt.Gokarna has some fantastic temples as my visit was short so I decided next time I will catch the temples.For now its only beaches.

Only beaches for me 

So Gokarna Beach here I come. I was told that Gokarna Beach is very secluded and lesser visited one, but surprisingly when we reached the beach I found it quite crowded.

Gokarna Beach, 
look out for the large numbers of tourist car parked.

Many tourist buses and car, probably from Bangalore or Kumta were there. In order to buy my peace of mind,I decided to go about exploring, where the crowd was sparse.

Mai toh chala jider chale raasta

Hence I walked along the coastal village, toward a small hill nearby.

Typical Coastal Village

We slowly started to move  towards the hillock which had a regular stairs leading all the way up , So just a gentle climb of 10 minutes and we were on top.

Catching the view as we were climbing

Once reaching the top we find there is a small temple and a viewing point which offers a good vantage point to have a amazing views of the beaches nearby.

Viewing Gallery

View of beaches nearby

Another view from the top

Standing atop the hillock we could see the extended coastline and at the farthest point I could see a small pink temple and I had now set my eyes to go and check out what it is.

So quickly we trekked down the hill and resumed our journey toward that pinkish temple at the end of the coastline. Luckily for us one can drive till that small temple.The thrill of exploring each nook and corner is such,that you come across things which surprises you.

Small temple in a small town

Entering through this gate I saw this lovely pool with some young boys diving and enjoying the cool waters.

Small pool in front of the temple
Now this is what I call cool surprise
Ram Temple
The view from behind this temple was also very nice,we sat on the rocks enjoying the cool breeze and watching sea water hitting out at the rocks tirelessly again and again

We enjoyed sitting on the rocks and enjoying the sea.

It was now time for us to move on to our next destination and it was Kudle beach and Om beach.

Kudle Beach
Actually all these beaches are very close to each other. In fact they appeared little further because the road takes a longer route. As we were moving through this serpentine roads the sky was again threatening us with an another downpour.

The gathering clouds

Some day I would love to trek along the coast and explore the the beaches, that would definitely be an experience.We didn't go down to Kudle beach instead only had the top view, we stood on the road and absorbed the beauty of the place before moving on to the Om beach. A little drive and we were standing at the entrance of the Om Beach.

Entrance of the Om Beach

Now this was interesting because in order to go to Om beach one has to climb down the stairs.We parked our car and started to move from this point to the beach below.

First view of the Om beach

This is the way to go down to the beach.

Stairs leading to the beach

Om Beach is so called because of the om shape of the beach.

Om shaped Om beach
Om beach is very popular among the foreigners, now that was what I was told of and it is very famous for booze party.  In the same breath I was informed to be very careful as the beach is full of drug addicts.As I had no plans to stay here so missed the opportunity to have the first hand experience. Talking of the beach , it was indeed very beautiful and the rocks had this peculiar colour.
Coloured Rocks

I was also informed that the police is very vigilant and they check the autos or taxi plying in, to check the tourist if they are carry drugs or narcotics. Luckily for me I didn't come across any such incident.

With such beautiful sight before you its hard not to spend some time clicking pictures and as they say a picture is worth thousand words , hence I shall be sharing few pictures now.


After spending some splendid time here with my daughter and wife and our lovely host Vijayji and his daughter it was time to move on to somewhere in the town of Mirjan. To explore another forgotten legacy known as Mirjan Fort  (Click on this link if you want to read our next adventure at Mirjan Fort)

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