Sunday, 30 June 2019

Hidden Gem from Ujjani Dam - Palasnath Temple

Palasnath Temple was on my list from the last 3 years. Temple is located in the backwater of Ujjani Dam and people are only able to visit the temple in case of heavy drought. For rest of the time, it is submerged under the backwater of Ujjani Dam. Temple was accessible in the year 2016 but I missed to visit the temple. I was praying that temple should remain in my wishlist forever but unfortunately, 2019 drought opened the temple for Visit.

Palasnath Temple
Palasnath Temple

About Ujjani Dam and Palasdev village:
              Ujjani Dam is built on Bhima river hence it is also known as Bhima Dam. Dam's construction began in the year 1969 and completed 1980. The storage capacity of the Dam is around 110 TCM. The reservoir created by the Dam is one of the largest backwaters in India. Backwater length is around 50km. Ujjani Dam backwater near Bhigwan is famous for migratory birds in winters.
            Temple was part of Palasdev Village which was located on the bank of Bhima river before Ujjani Dam. In ancient time, Village name was Ratnapur as per record and famous of Market at that time. The village consists of 5 temples and one of them was Palasnath temple. It was dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

To Reach Temple from Pune is - Join Solapur Highway - Cross Bhigwan - After a few kms, you can see Palasdev village arch on left - Take a left in Village - Follow the road and park your vehicle on the backwater bed (Make sure that Land is completely dry) - Take a walk towards Temple.
You may have to take a small boat ride to cross the backwater and Boats are available when the temple is accessible.

Palasnath Temple

June 2019 Visit:
             We left home after breakfast with friends and their kids. We reached the Temple area after 2-3 hours of journey. We took a boat to cross the small backwater channel to reach Palasnath Temple. Temple was built in the year 1157 (शके1079 as per Marathi calendar) by Dandanayak Chandev. Temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
             Within the area, there are two temples, one for Lord Vishnu and one for Lord Shiva. Temple with Kalas (कळस) is of Lord Shiva. Both temples are West facing. You can see Lord Hanuman idol outside of the temple. Temple has Mandpam, GarbhGruh (Temple's inner room to keep lord idol) and 3 side entrance. As per the Temple pillar structure, Temple was built under Yadav empire era. Shivlinga idol from Temple was relocated in the village during Ujjani Dam construction. you can see the beautiful carving on the Temple walls.

Lord Hanuman at Palasnath Temple
Lord Hanuman at Palasnath Temple

Inside Temple...Photo clicked by Ameya Deshpande
Temple Pillar...Photo clicked by Ameya Deshpande

Few ruined stone sculpture can be seen in the temple area. They are mainly Nandi (Lord Shiva's Vahan), Veergal (वीरगळ Standing Stone dedicated to brave person from emperor), SatiShila (सतीशिळा), Dashaavtar, Surasundari (सुरसुंदरी meaning celestial beauty) etc. In temple sculptures, the Surasundari are often depicted as attendants of gods and goddesses.  It also consists of Dharmshala (Rooms for stay purpose-built for devotees) in front of the temple.



Dashavatar stone strip

Ancient time Bhakta Niwas

               There is another temple just a couple of meters away from Palasnath Temple. This temple is known as Lord Ram temple. Some people believe it is another temple of Lord Vishnu but as the outer wall of the temple has different stories of Ramayana. You can see Ramayana stories such as the war between Vali and Sugriva, Lord Hanuman destroying Ashokavan, Goddess Sita in Ashokvan, monkey army carrying Stone for Ram-Setu, Ravan with 5 faces and Lord Ram with Laxman. There are other stone sculptures such as Surasundari (सुरसुंदरी), snake, Lord Vishnu in meditation and many more.

Small Temple near Palasnath Temple...Photo clicked by Ameya Deshpande
Lord Hanuman destroying Ashokavan at Palasnath Temple
Lord Hanuman destroying Ashokavan...Photo clicked by Ameya Deshpande

Surasundari...Photo clicked by Ameya Deshpande

War Between Vali and Sugriva...Photo clicked by Ameya Deshpande

             Visiting early morning gives you the opportunity to spot some wetland birds like Greater Flamingo, Purple Swamphen, seagulls, Asian Openbill Stork, Painted Stork, Coot, Heron and many more. Best time to visit this place for bird watching in winter. You can check my Bhigwan Blogs here.

GPS Location of Palasnath Temple: 18.246586, 74.882470

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni