Ellora (Marathi: वेरूळ Vērūḷ) is an archaeological
site, 29 km (18 mi) North-West of the city of Aurangabad in the Indian state of Maharashtra built by theRashtrakuta dynasty . Well known for
its monumental caves, Ellora is a World Heritage Site. Ellora
represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut
architecture. The 34 "caves" – actually structures excavated out of
the vertical face of the Charanandri hills. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples
and viharas and mathas were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12
Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves,
built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this
period of Indian history.
Grishneshwar Temple is an ancient pilgrimage site revered as the abode of one
of the 12 Jyotirlinga manifestation of Lord Shiva. The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga
shrine is located at a village called Verul, which lies 20 km from Daulatabad (once known as Devagiri)
Temple was constructed by Ahilyabhai
Holkar who also re-constructed the Kashi
at Varanasi and the Vishnu
at Gaya. The Grishneshwar Temple is also known by several other
names like Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, Grushmeswara and Grishneswara.
Grishneshwar Temple According to Shivapuran, in the southern direction, on a
mountain named Devagiri lived a Brahmin called Brahmavetta Sudharm along with
his wife Sudeha. The couple did not have a child because of which Sudeha was
sad. Sudeha prayed and tried all possible remedies but in vain. Frustrated of
being childless, Sudeha got her sister Ghushma married to her husband. On the
With the blessings of
Lord Shiva, Ghushma gave birth to a baby boy. Because of this, Ghushma became
proud and Sudeha started feeling jealous towards her sister. Out of jealously,
one night she killed of her sister, Ghushma used to make 101 lingas, worship
them and discharge them in the near by lake.Ghushma?s son and threw him in the
lake where Ghushma used to discharge the lingas.
Samadhi Mandir of Shri Sai Baba was actually owned
by a millionaire from Nagpur,
a famous Sai devotee Shreemant Gopalrao. Gopalrao wanted to keep an idol of
Murlidhar here. However, Baba himself became Murlidhar and the Mandir became
the Samadhi Mandir of Baba.
The Mandir is built with
stones and Baba's Samadhi is built with white marble stones. A railing is built
in marble around the Samadhi and is full of ornamental decorations. In front of
the Samadhi are two silver pillars full of decorative designs. Just behind the
Samadhi is Sai Baba's marvelous statue made of Italian marble which shows him
seated on a throne. This idol was made by late Balaji Vasant.
This statue was
installed on 7th October 1954. Above the statue is an open, silver umbrella.
The front of the Mandir has an assembly hall where about 600 devotees can be
accomadated. Here is the show-case where various things handled by Baba are
kept. On the first floor of the Mandir are pictures depicting the life of Baba.
The routine of the
temple starts at 5 o'clock in the morning with Bhoopali, a morning song, and
closes at 10 o'clock in the night after Shejarati is sung. Only on three
occasions the temple is kept open overnight .ie. on Gurupoornima, Dassera, and
Ramnavami. Every Thursday and on each fesitival, a Palakhi with Baba's photo is
taken out from the temple.
Shri Sai Baba came to
Shridhi with a marriage procession. He stayed at Dwarkamai till the very end of
his life. Dwarkamai is situated on the right side of the entrance of Samadhi
Mandir. Here he solved problems of the people, cured their sickness and worries.
Before Baba's arrival in Shridhi, Dwarkamai was an old mosque in a dilapidated
condition. Baba turned it into Dwarkamai and proved that God is one.
The first level of
Dwarkamai has a portrait of Baba and a big stone on which Baba used to sit.
This level has two rooms. One contains the chariot and the second a palkhi.
Just in front of the room where the chariot is kept is a small temple. A
saffron flag flies over it.
The second level of
Dwarkamai has a square stool made of stone, which Baba used for taking a bath.
The main attraction of this place is the oil painting of Shri Sai Baba sitting
in a carved wooden shrine. This level also has the grinding stone and the
wooden vessel called Kolamba in which Baba used to keep the Bhiksha brought
from the village.
Sai Baba first came to
Shridhi in the form of Bal Yogi - a child ascetic. He was first spotted seated
under a Neem tree. This place came to be known as Gurusthan. The renovation of
Gurusthan was made on 30th September, 1941. The present temple was built after
this period. There is a small shrine in Gurusthan. On a elevated platform of
this shrine a big portrait of Baba is placed. On the side is a marble statue of
Baba. In front of the portrait is a Shivling and the Nandi. Photos of twelve
Jyotirlingas are kept in the temple. The branches of the Neem tree have come
out through the roof of the temple.
At a short distance lies
Baba's CHAVADI. Baba used to sleep here every alternate day. The Chavadi is
divided into two parts. One part of the Chavadi has a large portrait of Baba
along with a wooden bed and a white chair belonging to him.
There is a cottage of
Abdul Baba, an ardent devotee of Shri Sai Baba, in front of the Chavadi. The
Lendi Baug was looked after by Abdul Baba. There are photos and various things
which were handled by Sai Baba and Abdul Baba in the cottage.
There is a Maruti Mandir
located at some distance from the cottage of Abdul Baba. This mandir was
visited by Baba for the sat-sang with Devidas, a Balyogi, who lived at the
Mandir ten to twelve years before Baba arrived.
There are also temples
of village deities named Shani, Ganapati, and Shankar to be visited.
At some distance from
Gurusthan there is the Lendi Baug. This Baug was made and watered daily by Baba
himself. It got its name from a Nalla (a drain) which used to previously flow
there. Baba used to come here every morning and afternoon and take rest under a
Neem tree. Baba dug a pit, 2 feet deep, under the Neem tree and kept a Deep lit
in that pit. One octangular Deepgriha called Nanda Deep has been built in
marble stone in memory of this place. It constantly burns in a glass box. On
one side of the Deepgriha is a Peepal tree and on the other side is a Neem
Some distance away is a
Datta Mandir below an Audumbar tree. In the Mandir there is a statue of Datta
built in marble stone. The statue of Datta was installed on 6th December, 1976.
Just behind the Datta Mandir is a Samadhi of the horse, Shyamsundar which
belonged to Baba and which used to bow to him.
Lendi Baug also has a
well dug by Baba with the cooperation of his devotees.
At the entrance of the
Baug are the Samadhi's of ardent Sai devotees Tatya Kote Patil, Bhau Maharaj
Kumbhar, Nanavalli and Abdul Baba.
This temple is situated on the main road. In front of this temple Baba
was welcomed by Poojari Mhalsapati, of this temple, saying "Aao Sai",
when Baba stepped in Shridi. In this temple there are icons of Khandoba, Banai
Shani Shignapur is a village located in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. It is about 35 km from Ahmednagar.
The presiding deity of Shinganapur, Sri Shaneshwara or Lord Shanidev- the personification of the planet Saturn is worshipped with utmost reverence and devotion by multitudes of people from all over the world. The spectacle of the deity in black stone is overwhelming. A unique aspect of this place is, that no temple structure houses the Shanidev. There is only a simple platform on which stands the swayambhu idol, in black stone.
Unlike other pilgrimage centres, devotees here can perform puja or abhishek or other religious rituals themselves.
One of the unique aspects of the village Shiganapur is that houses here have no door- frames or locks on them for safety. They are in fact not needed. The people here believe that it is the benediction of the god that no crime ever occurs in this village.