MAGICAL & MYSTERIOUS

ATOP A HILL, DIVINE SHADOWS & FRAGRANT FIELDS are three previous blogs which will help the readers appreciate the wonderous location of the Mystical Bhuleshwar Temple near Pune, Maharshtra, India.

Nature is a creative expression of the Divine and all Living Beings are a proof of the Existence of the Supreme.

Even the Doorways leading to the  unusual Bhuleshwar  Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva are symbolic expressions of the Enchanting World we inhabit.

The  Doorways  or main Entrance leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the  Bhuleshwar Temple. 

main-entrance
Doorways Atop a Hill

As you enter the Front Doorway and look to your Right you see Light and  Trees ( Banyan and Peepul trees both belong to Genus Ficus ) while you stand in darkness. Walk through and you would be privileged to see a breathtaking view of the surroundings.

The Featured image showcases the Oversized Temple Bell which one sees through the Main Doorway.

I may mention this is an extremely Unusual and Mysterious entry into a Hindu Temple.

light-and-nature
Light, Nature and  Ficus Trees 

The Ornate Carved  Doorway made of Stone is  Intentionally small compelling the Pilgrim to Bow down as you cross the threshold of the Temple.

Lord Ganesha  ( Elephant headed Lord who removes all obstacles)  can be seen in saffron at the Top Centre of the doorway.

small-doorway-into-temple
Carved Doorway or Entry to The Shiva Temple

The Mystery and Magic of the Temple is enhanced as it is Pitch Dark and there is a Stone Wall  in front with a near invisible engraved Statue of Lord Hanuman ( the Monkey headed Lord who dispels darkness ) in the centre.

hanumanji
Dead End and Pitch Dark

Thus far there  is no obvious symbol of Lord Shiva or the Sanctum Sanctorum and one has been through multiple doorways. All is dark, and it is a dead end….or is it??

Please see the picture  above carefully and do read the blogs to follow to fully  appreciate the Mystery and Marvel of the Temple Atop a Hill  which is wrapped in layers of  Nature.

CHRIST’S THORN , SOUR CHERRIES , VITAMIN C and NOSTALGIA

“Karondas” form a wonderful  natural hedge.

Source: CHRIST’S THORN , SOUR CHERRIES , VITAMIN C and NOSTALGIA

CHRIST’S THORN , SOUR CHERRIES , VITAMIN C and NOSTALGIA

As mentioned in several earlier posts, India is a treasure trove. All you need to do is LOOK.

While hunting for THE ROOTS OF INDIA  ( do see my earlier post titled EXOTIC ANCIENT ROOTS) in the local vegetable market , I discovered a fruit which used to grow in my grandfathers estate called “CHAMPA” . I was overwhelmed as I  was transported  back in time  to the 1960s.

The “Karonda”  is a  sour fruit  when raw and  grows on bushes with sharp-pointed thorns ( hence the name CHRIST’S THORN) . It turns into a beautiful plum coloured fruit when ripe..

It is loaded with Iron and  Vitamin C and has many medicinal applications. Please check out on Google.

Unfortunately the Karonda  or as i call them SOUR CHERRIES are now an exotic fruit and  rarely seen or heard of. They are used to make jams and pickles at home.

Karonda ( Hindi):  Christ’s Thorns ( English) : Carissa carandas ( Botanical name

Karonda
                              Nostalgic Karondas

Please do comment if you have heard or seen of this fruit before? I understand it is widely grown in Ethiopia as well.

What is the history of this fruit, can anyone enlighten us?

These sour cherries worked as a time machine as they engulfed me  in a wave of Nostalgia and transported me to my childhood .

Enchanted forests

Source: Enchanted forests

BABAR’S MAGIC ON THE HIGHWAY TO NASHIK

Am heading to the Simhasta  Kumbh  ( an event held only once in 12 years) and the vineyards of Pause Wines.( creators of somras) at Nashik. ( a story 5000 years old lies hidden in the name)

( their slogan is Life can Wait)

Have traveled to the region before and written about it too. Do check out  : Pune: Capital of the Peshwas ( http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com) and Forest of the Clouds.

( http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com) .

The attire and clothes of people are so interesting and unique. Gandhi caps are rarely seen in any other part of India.  Spotted these gentlemen watching a car being towed away.

Gandhi caps are unique to the state of maharashtra
Gandhi caps are unique to the state of Maharashtra

While I had read  a bit about the main event, the Kumbh  and done a bit of homework, what took me by surprise was the magic that unfolded enroute to Nashik .

take off point
take off point

It was one of the most enchanting  journeys I have undertaken by road in recent years. The camera kept clicking  as there was excitement every minute. I think the car driver must have sworn never to travel with me again as I requested him to stop repeatedly as i hopped out of the car to take  pictures.

the red truck was filled with surprise
the red truck was filled with surprise“pomegranates”

I  share the journey with you.

leaving the capital of the peshwas
leaving the Capital of the Peshwas

The entire route has breathtaking sites of villages. mountains  and  rivers .

the countryside
the countryside

The western ghats  reveal  the gorgeous  black volcanic rocks of the Deccan plateau and of an era when dinosaurs once ruled the land.

the road winds through the western ghats
the road winds through the western ghats

Mountains, a village , a bridge and the  river that descends from the mountains.

breathtaking sights
breathtaking sights

What took me by surprise were the pomegranate fruit orchards which line the highway. It took my breath away . I had never seen pomegranates being cultivated. The red van i had seen at the start of the trip was only the teaser.

????????????????????????????????????
inside the fruit

For me it was sheer Magic unfolding . Pomegranates are not endemic to India. It is said they were introduced by the first Mughal King Baber ( 700 years ago)  from modern Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Am sure he would have nearly fallen off his horse on this magical  200 km long drive.

the fruit on the tree
the fruit on the tree
blossoms and fruits
blossoms and fruits
the farm
the farm

What a sight.. fruit orchards along a highway. Can you match it..

flower, fruits and mountains
flowers, fruits and mountains

The little red truck had unveiled the magic of Pomegranates.

As I sign off ,  keep a watch out as this is only Chapter 1 of the drive, let alone the destinations.

Cheers ( do google the book )  to Baber ( Mughal King and my friend: do read on the Jaipur Literature festival in http:// http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com to know more)  and Pomegranates.