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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.

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