As you travel towards Solapur by road, just before Yawat a royal chariot-like structure atop a hill on the right is bound to attract your attention. This majestic makeup is nothing but an old historic temple bejeweled with graceful carvings, popularly known as Bhuleshwar.
56 km from Pune, Lord Shiva resides here in the form of the Bhuleshwar linga. Goddess Parvati is said to have enticed Him as a Bhill (an adavasi tribe) woman, and hence the name. Standing proudly at the perimeter of Daund and Purandar talukas in Pune, Bhuleshwar is accessible by road from Yawat as well as Saswad.
According to a legend, Lord Shri Ram is said to have installed the Shivlinga when he was here during exile. Later in 1250 King Chaul is said to have built up the temple decked with attractive carvings, which portray scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The great Maratha Legend – Shivaji Maharaj, constructed a fort viz. Mangalgad, surrounding it and appointed Daulatrao Yadav as the killedar. Hence the fort came to be popularly known in history as “Daulat Mangal”.
A motorway from the entrance of the fort takes you right up to the temple, from where one has to scale 20-25 steps to reach the entrance. You would certainly be befuddled once you step in, as unlike the other shrines you still have to clamber a few more steps for the darshan. Once here you will find yourself in an entirely different world because of the stunning carvings and divine stillness in the ambience!
The temple is broadly divided into three – the nandimandap, the sanctum and the sabhamandap. The nandimandap, which rests on 9 stone pillars festooned with endearing carvings, houses a giant nandi or the bull. It is 2 meters in length and stands a meter and a half above the ground. The slender designs on it are worth a watch.
The sanctum houses the Bhuleshwar linga, with souls of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh resting in the hollow interior. The priest and the locals allege about the vanishing of the offerings placed in it. A skillfully carved porthole, 40 feet above the linga cascades the golden sunrays on it. This delightful moment is worth a catch early morning.
The Sabhamnadap is complete with oodles of carved pillars and artifacts. The sculptures depict various scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. However today they are in a severely damaged state narrating a silent chronicle of havoc and destruction caused by Adilshah during his conflict with the Peshwas.
Yet today, even after all the devastation, Bhuleshwar is one of the superlative examples of the artistic architectural styles of ancient India with its sculptures that are the reminiscent of the Chandela chic and its intricate carvings giving the monument an aura which makes the time stand still.
© Amit Chilka