A scenic religious town jejuri is largely visited by pilgrims from neighborhood towns on most weekends and festive occasions associated with shiva . A lovely drive on a smooth road through lush countryside and small towns ideal for a tea break or an early breakfast of wada pav then a halt at a colorful bazar that marks the town .Shops essentially stock what pilgrims seek puja baskets , fresh flowers and heaps of turmeric the main offering to the presiding deity lord khandoba. It’s almost as if the entire town and its inhabitants are engulfed by a haze of haldi ( turmeric ) every deity stone sculpture the temple floor the pujaris dhoti , people clothes. As part of the offering devotees throw handful of turmeric powder into the air accompanied by loud chanting . According to legend shiva appeared as a turmeric plant to a group of shepherds and hence it is considered as an offering . Again the residing deity khandoba is often described as shining like gold and the sun covered in turmeric. A popular family deity in maharashtra, khandoba also finds mention in folk songs . His wives mhalsa and banai are also identified with shivas wife parvati and ganga . A flight of 350 steps lined with stone deepmala ( tall stone oil lamp holders ) lead up to the temple . It is a good idea to take a break during your ascent to enjoy the views of surrounding hills . Once at the top the vibrant yellow of turmeric everywhere and the deep red of kumkum will greet you as you enter the temple premises. The main doorway has a nagarkhana superimposed on it . There are long queues along the large courtyard of people waiting for darshan for those disinclined there are panoramic views and an opportunity to picnic outside the temple complex . A fortress like structure the shrine has 18 kamani ( arches ) and 350 deepmalas , a deepstambha in front of the temple and a rather imposing mandap an ornate devali styled nagara shikara is decorated with motifs , figurines of animals , deities and demi gods . The garbhagriha has two lingas one of khandoba and another of mhalsabai . The older of the two shrines in jejuri the ancient temple of kadepathar is peculiar for its two lingas . Getting to the temple involves a steep climb but you will be rewarded by breathtaking vista’s of the yellow flowers that dot the landscape. A few dhabas in the temple premises cater to tired visitors serving tea and snacks .
Thursday, 05 October 2023