Exploring mysticism

A long weekend,like the one coming up,is an ideal time to catch up on sleep or watch the latest movies or even spend some time with yourself.

Written by Swapnal Tilekar | Published: January 22, 2009 1:35:35 am

In a continuing series on weekend getaways,we bring you the latest hotspot near Pune — the Gatha Mandir in Dehugaon,which is an inviting mix of spirituality and scenic beauty

A long weekend,like the one coming up,is an ideal time to catch up on sleep or watch the latest movies or even spend some time with yourself. But if you are the type who gets bitten by the travel bug a little too often,then exploring new places will definitely be on your agenda.

And here’s some lowdown on a picturesque,not-too-well-known place near Pune where you can have a great time this weekend. Situated at Dehugaon,the native place of Sant Tukaram Maharaj,Gatha Mandir is not really all that popular among tourists. Although Dehugaon no longer remains only a holy place and has developed into a township,the striking sculpture here has made it a spectacular spot to visit. What makes it more appealing is its proximity to Pune,and the fact that a visit to the Gatha Mandir and back can be completed in a day’s time.

It’s interesting to note how this temple came into being. Legend has it that nearly 400 years ago,Tukaram Maharaj dipped his Abhanga-Gatha into the Indrayani river. But after 18 days,the Gatha came floating on the river,and that’s the spot where the Gatha Mandir is situated today.

Although the foundation of the temple was laid in November 1995,its actual construction began in 1996. The main temple is a three-storey building . At the ground level,incidents from the life of Saint Tukaram are depicted,while the first floor contains a five-feet idol of Saint Tukaram,made from five different metals. In addition,on the second floor,idols of Lord Vitthal and goddess Rukmini are kept at such an angle that they can be seen even from the ground floor. On the walls of all three floors,hymns from the Abhanga-Gatha have been carved on white marble.

Usually,hundreds of visitors come to Dehugaon everyday,among them,trips by school and college students being quite frequent. An excited visitor,Shalini Raut,who had came all the way from Solapur to visit the Gatha Mandir says,”I have visited the old mandir of Saint Tukaram earlier. However,this time I have come here to see the Gatha Mandir,as it’s very beautiful and has a lot of spiritual importance attached to it.” Another visitor,Vinay Kulkarni says he likes the temple and the greenery around it. “The place is so quiet and beautiful that you don’t even realise how time passes,” he adds. Even the local people feel elated about having Gatha Mandir in the vicinity. Swapnil Parandwal,a localite says,”I feel very glad to have Gatha Mandir in my village. It’s quite close to my school and I occasionally go there with friends.”

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