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Monday, March 8, 2010

Edition 11: Neelkantheshwar and Surajkund

Neelkantheshwar is actually a big hill which is around 50 km from Pune. It is near Panshet. It got its name because of the temple of Neelkantheshwar, i.e.
Lord Shiva.
There are three routes to reach Neelkantheshwar.
1. Go to Panshet by Pune-warje, NDA kondhwe
gate, Kudje, Splendour country, Bahuli-
neelkantheshwar. It goes straight at the base
of Neelkantheshwar.
2. There is one small village called Rula
between Khanapur and Panshet. Small boats
(hodya) from this village will take you to
another village, across the river.
Neelkantheshwar is around 4 km from this
village across the river. If you come via boat,
you have to reach Neelkantheshwar base by
this 4 km walk. But this walk is really
3 There are three routes that take you
to Neelkantheshwar. The first route heads
towards Sinhagad and then turns right at
Panshet. From Panshet you move towards
Varasgaon dam which intersects a narrow
road. The sign board of the temple at the start
of this road will indicate that you are on the
right track. You take this broken road to
pass a few small villages before finally
landing at the base of Neelkantheshwar from
where the climb is short and easy.
Of the three, the route from Varasgaon dam is the best option because it not only saves time but is also an easy climb to the top. Moreover, the route is very scenic and offers a lovely view of the fields, flowers and the green landscape
We took the first route, we reached the base at 11.00 am. From base you have to proceed by walking. Its 30-40 min. walk. The road for the top is very wide, but it is very steep. So, we took a small break in between and got fresh for next part. We reached the top at 12.45 pm.
Neelkantheshwar hill is very wide in size. It has a big temple of Neel-kantheshwar. But the main attraction of Neelkantheshwar is hundreads of sculptures made from cement. The sculptures are mainly associated with Hindu mythology. Some scenes are also presented through these sculptures. Some of the sculptures I am remembering are- all the 10 Dashavatars, Ashtavinayakas, Bakasur-Bhim story, Vaali-Sugriv yuddha, Sant Dnyashwar, Sant Ramdas, Shivaji Maharaj, Jesus Christ and so on. The list is endless.
Sarjemama, a forest ranger, has made these sculptures. He only found the Shiva linga on this hill, built the temple around it and made those hundreads of sculptures. Sarjemama is also associated with 'Vyasan Mukti Abhiyaan'. As per the newspaper cuttings in the temples, Sarjemama rehabilatated 4-5 lacs of alcoholic people. There is a small hotel just outside the temple where we had some bhel and limbu sarbat.
The view from the hill-top is amazing. You can see backwaters of Panshet, Varasgaon and Khadakvasla dam. You can also see Sinhagad from here. The view is very beautiful in the monsoon. After having a photo session, we start descending at around 2.00 pm. On the way to Pune, we took our lunch in dhaba near Panshet. Food was very delicious. After lunch, we left for Pune and reached at around 6.00 pm.
So, overall we had a very nice one day trip to Neelkantheshwar
Surajkund Mela-A Model Event To Follow
Surajkund complex, near Delhi in Faridabad district of Haryana derives its name from ancient amphitheatre, Sun Pool. It dates back to the 10th Century A.D. This was the time when tribal Chieftains were gaining supremacy. One clan that struck out in the chronicles of history, was that of the Tomars. They were sun worshipers. Fascinated by the surrounding of this terrain, Raja Suraj Pal, one of the Chieftains, chose to build his stronghold here. A Sun Temple and a Sun Pool were designed. But times changed, and the clan vanished.
The temple fell into disarray. But, the amphitheatre Sun Pool built as the sun careering westwards, continued to stand as it does even today. It is after this Sun Pool that the complex came to be christened as Surajkund. Surajkund has been identified as an ideal suburban retreat because of the natural beauty of the Aravalli ranges. The open basalt outcrop in one section, cupped a vast water body. The fact that Surajkund lay close to Delhi attracted the Tourism Organization of the Haryana State. It covers 40 hectares.
While providing urban attractions for the holiday maker, it retains its suburban serenity.
The annual Surajkund Arts and Crafts Mela has taken off. Vice President of India Hamid Ansari inuagurated the event on Feb 1.
The 15-Day Mela this year has participating craftsmen with exquisite talents not only from the length and breadth of the Country, but even from countries like Tajikistan, Thailand and Egypt besides the SAARC Nations.
Surajkund crafts mela brings together cultures and crafts of the entire country and is becoming a model for other countries to follow.

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