Day 2: 22nd Dec 2014 – Aundha Nagnath, Parbhani, Parli Vaijnath, Ambajogai, Latur
It was wonderful chilled marathwada morning. Amazing sunrise in the background of Aundha Nagnath temple was a delightful treat in the start of the day. Shailesh’s SLR was on busy mode. While having tea we came to know about ‘Somvati Amavasya” – an auspicious day to be at Jyotirlinga darshana.To avoid rush, we reached around 8.30 am in the temple and….OMG..temple security guys were not allowing cameras inside. After hell lot of request permission granted by the temple trust. They liked my argument after watching PuneToPune.com on mobile – “Let us spread the information about the temple so that many more will know!”
Wow… the first reaction. A mighty Hemadpanti Temple made us speechless. Well preserved and heavily ornamented temple brought smile on our and camera’s faces. We were shocked with empty temple without deity at first instance. Main Shiva-Linga is placed in the underground Garbha Gruha. You need to descend through a small window on the floor. It was to save the deity from foreign invaders. Darshana of eighth Jyotirlinga can not be better than what we had. We had nice ‘Abhishekam’ and did dhyanam for a moment. Voice of mantras by pujaris, smell of flowers & milk was enchanting. Story about the Shiva-Linga goes back to Mahabharata period and said to be placed by Pandavas.
We had to do a kind of rush photography. Though we got permission for 10 minutes photography, we spent 40 minutes with our sweet tongue requests. After hundreds of clicks, I started observing sculptures in detail. Just like any of the Shiva Temples, base started with Kamasutra. Special mentions are deserved by sculptures of Dancing Shiva, Ravana lifting Kailash, Maha Yogis and Ashta Matrikas. ” Shiva trying to convince pouted and sulked Parvati” is the best one..I must say as married man 🙂 While I was struggling with recognizing and understanding the stone art, a group of housekeeping ladies came to my aid and they earned well deserved award of a tip.
After having a deep enchanting journey among deities and beautiful sculptures, we headed for our own journey towards next destination. I still remember the sight of cobra (Naga) outside the temple. Snake charmer (Gaarudi or गारुडी in Marathi). Lazy royal moves of cobra were unforgettable .
I must mention about the special treat of Marathwada – tasty Marathwada Khichdi, Vada Pav and Pakoras. While enjoying the treat as our breakfast at Zero phata (isn’t it a amazing name), we discussion much about the confusion – Should we go to Parli via Nanded or just follow straight road via Parbhani. Parbhani route won the debate after 2 plates of pakoras.
Few Kms before Parbhani city, we saw an amazing black temple on the left side of the highway, we checked in. It is a Datta temple which is built in south-indian style. The recently built temple is clean and known as Shree Kshetra Dattadham in the locality. The temple was sure a surprise gift from Parbhani.
We found our way to Parli via Gangakhed town. Well.. I decided not write more about the worst conditions of the roads of Marathwada so just moving on with the story here.
As we neared the town Parli, a gigantic human built structures caught our eyes.. Hooha!! India’s Largest & Mightest Thermal Power Station was in front of us. Ohh Man what can you build! On the plateau among the hills, the powerful power plant looks amazing and makes us proud. Hopefully one of those few things of which Marathwada is proud of along with all Indians.
I felt bad when read news of shutting down of the station due shortage of water to process. Draught..the curse of Marathwada which hides all it’s glory behind.
Parli is developing town and one of the main trade center. It’s well known for being home of one of the Jyotirlingas, Vaijnath, apart from having Power Station and being Gopinath Munde’s constituency. The main temple is almost lost in the city. आधी पोटोबा मग विठोबा – It’s stomach before the god! We had ‘our lunch of Thali with watery curries (positively) near the temple.
I had been to Baijnath of Himachal Pradesh which got a dispute with Vaijnath of Parli on it’s place among the 12 Jyotirlingas. Matter of faith and really doesn’t matter to me! I believe in gods and love to be at temples.
Our trick of sweet tongue arguments not worked this time. We hadn’t got the permission of photography inside the temple and had to keep the cameras in clock room with heavy hearts. We took our offerings for the deity. Simple but beautiful temple of vaijnath was renovated by Ahilyabai Holkar. One can observe the influence of Peshwa art in the wooden designs and the sculptures of main temple. ‘Sparsha Darshan’ is speciality of the temple where one can touch the lingam and perform abhishekam either with water or milk. We had Jal-Abhishekam for almost 20 minutes. Truly satisfying experience.
Read more about Parli vaijnath!
Parali to Ambejogai road was not a good one (not going back road horror stories) but our rush for next milestone made it easy. I got a sentimental bounding with the big town of Ambejogai (or Ambajogai). My best friend ever, Sumedh Jagtap, belongs to Ambejogai. I recalled those days with Sumedh unknowingly.
Well..it was almost 5.30 pm in the evening, we had to hurry. First impression of the well-known temple and one of the Shakti Peetas wasn’t as expected. We were extremely sad about the way the temple was recently renovated, may be for preservation; the way it was commercialized by allowing shops in the temple compound, may be for raising fund to upkeep the temple… whatever the reasons are, you just can not snatch the deity’s abode like this. Trust me, all these bad feelings just got wiped out when we were in front of the mother, Yogeshwari Devi. The idol of the mother goddess itself was a temple. She reminded me the idol of Saptashrungi Devi of Vani. After spending some time around the Deep Mala outside the temple, we came out and rested. All efforts we took to reach the place were worth for this.
Read more about Yogeshwari of Ambejogai!
It was getting dark. While having tea, the tea-stall owner gave us advice cum warning – Do not take Barshi route for Tuljapur which was our final destination for the long day. They say that local bandits loot the tourists in the jungle. Though we had not so good experience with the local’s advice last day, we decided to listen and follow again. I know the difference between Adventure and Foolishness 🙂
We chose long route via Latur. Last time mention – worst roads of Beed district ended at Latur district border. It was a good 4 lane highway taking us into the town. Latur is one of the advancing town of Marathwada and home constituency of late Vilasrao Deshmukh, a well know leader of Congress party. We ate those punjabi dishes like 15 days hungry in the city.
Lonely roads in the woods, bad head light and freezing cold..the best combination for a thrilling night. A tea-break at a dhaba reminded my Amaravati trip. Bone-fire gave some relief but we enjoyed talking local guys around it. Those guys were funny. Finally, we reached Tuljapur around 11 pm. Amazing silence at one of the crowdest place was breathtaking.
Long day!! Huhh!