Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Name : Harishchandreshwar
Location : Harishchandragad is a hill fort in the Ahmednagar region of Maharashtra.
Description : This temple is marvelous example of the fine art of carving sculptures out of stones that prevailed in ancient India. It is about 16 m high from its base. Around this temple there a few caves & ancient water tanks. The river Mangal Ganga is said to originate from one of the tanks located close to the temple. The top of the temple resembles construction with the north-Indian temples. Harishchandragad is necessarily a two day trek , one can do the overnight stay in the caves, which are clean and well maintained
A similar temple is situated in Buddha-Gaya. Here we can see many tombs, in which a typical construction is seen. These are built by well-finished arranging stones one on top of the other. There are three main caves near the temple. The cisterns near the temple provide drinking water. A short distance away, another temple called Kashitirtha is located. The fascinating thing about this temple is that it has been carved out from a single huge rock. There are entrances from all four sides. On the main entrance there are sculptures of faces. These are faces of guards of the temple. On the left side of the entrance is a Devnagri inscription, which is about saint Changdev.
The various Puranas (ancient scriptures) like Matsyapurana, Agnipurana and Skandapurana include many references about Harishchandragad.
Fascinating Spots :
Saptatirtha Pushkarni : To the east of the temple is a well-built lake called “Saptatirtha”. On its bank are temple-like constructions in which there are idols of Lord Vishnu. Recently these idols have been shifted in the caves near the temple of Harishchandreshwar. These days many trekkers have been responsible for the sad plight of this beautiful place, as they throw plastic wastes and other things in the pond. 7 years back the water was potable, and now it isn’t suitable even to swim.
Kedareshwar Cave : Going rightwards of Harishchandreshwar temple, we come across a huge cave. This is the cave of Kedareshwar, in which there is a big Shivlinga, which is totally surrounded by water. The total height from its base is five feet, and the water is waist-deep. It is quite difficult to reach the Shivlinga, as the water is ice-cold. There are sculptures carved out here. In monsoon it is not possible to reach this cave, as a huge stream flows across the way.
Taramati peak : This is the topmost point on the fort. It is the second highest peak in Maharashtra after Kalsubai. Leopards are seen in the forests beyond this peak. From here we can have a glimpse of the whole range of Naneghat and the forts near Murbad.
Caves on Harishchandragad : These caves are situated all over the fort. Many of these are situated at the foot of Taramati peak & are the place of accommodation. A few are near the temple, whereas some are near the citadel and some far away in the forests. A 30 feet deep natural cave is on the northwestern side of the fort, to the right of Kokan Kada. Many other caves are still said to remain undiscovered.
Nageshwar temple near Khireshwar : This is a great antique construction, and diverse artistic works are seen on this. On the ceiling of the temple are beautiful carvings.
Konkan Kada :
The major attraction of Harishchandragad is Kokan Kada . Its beyond description, one should actually see it to experience the nature's architecture. Konkan kada should be visited in the evening as well as morning. In evening one is enchanted by the sunset where as in the morning one can experience the divine feeling of being in the heavens. Taramati and Rohidas , the two peaks atop Harishchandragad, are also worth visiting as they offer beautiful views of the sahyadri ranges. The ancient temple of Lord Shiva atop Harishchandragad is also good sight for observing. An ancient temple and the caves present at the base village Khireshwar are also worth seeing.
Please follow the link to download the map of Harishchandragad. This map has been provided by courtesy of Mr. Mahesh Chengalva.
Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harishchandragad