Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kopeshwar Shiva Temple - A Hidden Gem in Khidrapur : October 2O14

I had neither heard of the place called Khidrapur which is about 17 kms from Narsoba Wadi via Kurundwad nor the name of Kopeswhar temple located there. In fact, I was contemplating to skip visiting Kopeswhar temple in case we got delayed. It was around 4.3O p.m. when we completed our visit to Narsoba Wadi. So we could make it to Kopeswhar temple before dusk. Somehow, I was under the impression that this temple could be one of many general Shiva temples located around this part of Maharashtra which have a sizeable population of Lingayats who are worshipers of Lord Shiva. We reached the gate of Kopeswhar temple around 5.OO p.m. As soon as I entered the temple complex, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this stone temple was a hidden gem of an architectural marvel blended with superb carvings and sculptures.  It has intricate stone carvings of deities, elephant statues, and other secular things all over the places.  Since I have a keen interest in temple architecture and stone carvings, I cursed myself for not doing my home work to know about this temple before the visit. Had I done that, I would have earmarked sufficient time for this temple to see it in greater details.
The temple is said to have been constructed sometime during 7th century AD under the reign of Chalukya kings. Due to frequent skirmishes between Chalukyas and the neighbouring kings, the temple was abandoned. It was renovated during the reigns of Silhara kings Gandaraditya,  Vijyaditya and Bhoj between 11th and  12th century AD. The work of renovations continued during the succeeding dynasty of Devgiri Yadavas. The temple architecture closely resembles that of temples of Belur and Halebeedu. During the Deccan campaign of Mughal King Aurangzeb, much of the temple sculptures were damaged. One can note that none of the sculptures of elephants has trunk as they were damaged by the troops of Aurangzeb and Deccan Sultans. Fortunately, most of the sculptures on the higher levels of outer walls of the temple are not damaged.

I have visited many Shiva temples but Kopeshwar is an unique Shiva temple. First, this may probably be the only Shiva temple where the devotees get to see first Lord Vishnu as Dhopeshwar in ling form before one can have darshan of  Shivling of Kopeshwar facing the north direction. And both are worshiped in the same sanctum sanctorum. Second, it is a convention in all Shiva temples to first take the darshan of Nandi. But this Shiva temple does not have a Nandi. There is a mythological reason for it which I will come later. Lastly, the temple has a Swarga Mandap with a circular part of the ceiling open to the sky. Swarga Mandap is an ante room before one enters the Sabha Mandap and the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

There is a mythological story behind this temple. Daksha did not like his youngest daughter Sati marrying Lord Shiva. When Dakhsa conducted a Yagna, he did not invite Shiva and Sati. She came to her parental house on Shiva’s Nandi and confronted her father. Dakhsa insulted her in front of the guests. Unable to bear any further insults, Sati jumped in the fire of Yagna and immolated herself. When Lord Shiva came to know about it, he became very furious (Kop). He punished Daksha by severing his head. Later Lord Vishnu specified Shiva upon which he restored Daksha’s head but with a goat. The furious Shiva was brought to Khidrapur temple by Lord Vishnu to calm him down. Hence the temple got the name as Kopeshwar (Furious Ishwar).  This explains as to why Lord Vishnu is in the temple in the form of a ling along with Shivling. Nandi is not in this temple as Sati took a ride over the Nandi while visiting her parental house. 
48 pillared Swarg Mandap of Kopeshwar temple, Khidrapur. It has three gates facing east, north and south. This one is the north facing gate. The fourth gate is attached to Sabha Mandap.

Close up of the carved stone pillars of Swarg Mandap.

This temple is in four parts, all interconnected through vestibules. As soon as one enters from the gate, the first structure in front of us is called Swarga Mandap (Heavenly Hall) which is in the round shape. I have visited many temples of archaeological importance in South India. But the architecture of Swarga mandap is unique. This mandap is constructed with the support of 48 well carved rounded stone pillars which are placed in three circles. The first circle has 12 pillars, the second circle has 16 pillars and the third circle has 12 pillars. The last circle of 8 pillars are placed  on the 4 gates to Swarga Mandap. Each of the totals of 48 pillars has been carved in different shapes -   round, square, hexagon and octagon.

Another unique feature of Swarga Mandap is that a part of the circular ceiling in the middle with a radius of 13 feet is open to the sky. Exactly below the open ceiling is a round flat stone in single piece with a radius of 13 feet, same as that of open ceiling. The guide told me that this was the place where the yagnas and havans were performed and the open ceiling facilitated the discharge of smoke emanating from these rituals. One can note the carving of groove at the edge of the round stone. I have a different take on this matter. I feel that this round stone of measuring the same radius was meant to the placed above the open ceiling after some intricate carvings. It is quite possible that due to some problems, technical or otherwise, the round stone was left on the ground. It is also quite possible that after leaving a part of the ceiling in circular shape open to the sky, it was felt that watching the sky through the circular open ceiling gave a heavenly feeling. And it is a fact even today. When we saw the sky through the open ceiling standing on the circular stone on the ground, we also got the same feeling. I was visualising as to how one would feel when the the moon is seen from this open ceiling on a full moon day in the night.
The open top of Sabha Mandap  with supported by 12 intricately carved stone pillars. The stone ceilings are carved with miniature temple all over the circular frame.

 The open ceiling with a diameter of 13 feet There is also a raised circular stone of the same diameter exactly below the open ceiling.
The to of the 12 stone pillars of Swarg Mandap have 12 Gods or mythological characters. This one is Yama sitting on his Buffalo.
The second part of the temple is its Sabha Mandap which is in a rectangular shape. In keeping with this shape, the pillars are also lined up in three rectangular rows. In the first row, there are 12 pillars, in the second row, there are 2O pillars. The last row of pillars is more or less merged with the walls of Sabha Mandap. The totals of 6O pillars of Sabha Mandap are all in rectangular shape having intricate carvings depicting  stories from Mahabharat, Ramayan, panchratna, flowers, trees  and some other aspects of social life of that period. The Sabha Mandap has four doors.  One each of the doors is attached to Swarga Mandap and Sanctum Sanctorum and the remaining two which are main doors, are located on the north and south sides.
Both Sabha Mandap and the temple have the stoned carved elephants probably symbolising the strength of the base. One can observe here that trunks of the elehants are missing. They were destroyed by Khyder Khan, a commander of Adilshah army.

This picture shows the  middle and top layers of the north east side of the outer wall of Sabha Mandap. 
Various deities and secular sculptures on the second layer of the outer wall of Sabha Mandap.
Kopeshar temple seen from the southern side. Note the Shikara (dome) of the temple which does not match with the architecture of the temple. The shikara may have been hastily constructed much later.
The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh on the  eastern outer wall of Sabha Mandap.
One of six jharokas of Sabha Mandap.
Since we had reached the temple complex in the late evening, it was dark inside the Sabha Mandap. So I could not take the pictures of the structure of Sabha Mandap in general. However, with the use of flash, I took some close up of carvings on the pillars. By the time, I came out of the south door of Sabha Mandap, it was already dusk. At the side of this door, there is inscriptions on a stone written in Sanskrit which suggests that the temple was renovated sometime during 1214-15 AD. Our guide told us that there were more inscriptions available but written in old Kannada language.
Dwarpal at the entrance to Sabha Mandap.
Intricate stone carvings on one of the inner pillars of Sabha Mandap. It looks like an emblem of rulers of a dynasty.
One of the 16 Kirti Mukhs on the inside pillars of  Sabha Mandap.
Intricate  carvings probably based on some mythological story on one of the inner pillars of Sabha Mandap.
Kodhandrama on one of the inner pillars of Sabha Mandap.
Shape of the inner pillars of Sabha Mandap with intricate carvings.
The third and fourth parts of the temple are Antaral (Vestibule)  and Sanctum Sanctorum. There was a pitched darkness in both these parts. Only an oil lamp in Sanctum Sanctorum gave us something to see inside it which I have already described in the third paragraph of the blog. This is a live temple having regular pujas with a whole time priest. On Mondays and Shivratri day, the temple gets crowded as devotees from the neighbouring villages from Maharashtra and Karnataka pour in.
Goddess Kali on one of the inner pillars of Sabha Mandap.
This carvings on one of the inner pillars  of Sabha Mandap is based on Panchtantra story of a tortoise wishing to fly with the help of two birds to his side.
Carvings based on one of Panchtantra stories involving friendship between a mythological animal and the monkey. Here monkey plucks the sweet berry for mythological animal.
Carvings on a single stone of Sapt-Ashth Matrika or 7- 8 Goddesses  located on the southern side door of Sabha Mandap.
Sculpture of Lord Ganesh on the southern side of Sabha Mandap.
Sculpture of Harihar on the southern side of Sabha Mandap. One can note the trishul on the left hand and a mash on the right hand.
There are reasons to believe that even though the construction of Kopeshwar temple started sometime in 7th century AD, the work remained incomplete under various dynasties of rulers. The architecture of the shikara of the temple does not go well with the overall architecture of the temple and its mandaps. It is possible that the construction of shikara of the temple was completed much later than 12th centruy AD when temple was under rennovation. Even works on the two side doors of Sabha Mandap looked somewhat incomplete or hastily completed. Probably the frequent wars between neighbouring kings affected the construction of the temple.
This  stone sculpture on the southern side of Sabha Mandap seems to be that of some foreign national.
Sculptures of Arab and  Chinese nationals on the south west side of the Sabha Mandap.
A lady in the middle of her letter writing.
A lady on her last lap of letter writing.
A lady with high heel footwears, in the pose of stretching (in Hindi the word angadayi gives a better meaning).
 A lady in dancing pose.
We left the temple complex around 6.3O p.m. when it was not possible to minutely see the temple carvings and sculptures. Those who are interested in temple architecture and the history, Kopeshwar temple is a  ‘must visit ’  place. For the enthusiasits of photography, it is better to plan the visit in early  morning or early evening for better photography.
Siddhivinayak Temple, Jaysinghpur in the night.
Shri Ram Temple, Chafal located off NH.4 between Karad and Satara. On the left of Ram temple is a structure which leads to a underground cave where Shri Samarth Ramdas Swami used to meditate. The inlet o the underground is so narrow that we could not muster courage to go through it.
We drove back to our hotel not before visiting a newly constructed Siddhivinayak Temple with a modern architecture near Jaysinghpur. I liked the concept of sanctum sanctorum of this temple wherein Lord Ganesh is standing on the top of the earth in the middle while the circular ceiling depicts the universe. The temple complex has a big lawn where devotees can rest in the evening and night.
Next day, we commenced our homeward journey with a brief halt at Chafal for visiting Ram Temple patronised by Shri Samarth Ramdas Swami.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Trip to Kolhapur and the adjoining tourist spots

I had already noticed that in the month of October 2O14, there was a long week end beginning from Thursday, October 2nd to Monday October 6th.  Normally, I avoid outings during such holidays as train reservations and hotel bookings are the first hurdles to be crossed for a smooth holiday. Secondly, the tourist places to be visited would be crowded. So I thought it better to spend time in the home city rather than venturing out during the long week end. But I was destined to travel during the long week end as I received an invitation to attend the engagement ceremony of one of my close relatives, scheduled to be held on October 3rd at his farm house in Sangli. The invitation was also received by my brother-in- law. So both the families decided to travel together to attend the function and to visit some tourist spots in around Kolhapur which is about 65 kms from Sangli.

October 2nd : Borivali-Pune-Kolhapur (432 kms.)
Since getting train reservations at the short notice was out of question especially when we required 8 tickets,   6 adults and 2 children, we decided to hire a vehicle. We started from Borivali at 7.OO a.m. Despite the holiday, there were lot of heavy truck traffic on Pune Expressway apart from larger than usual car traffic,  mostly of holiday travellers. There was a longish traffic jam of more than 2 kms just before Lonavala. It took us nearly 5 hours to reach Wakad via Hinjewadi junction to join one of our close relative for a high tea. After spending about one hour in his house, we started the journey around 1.OO p.m. There was a moderate traffic up to Katraj Ghat after which the traffic flow became normal. We reached Kolhapur around 5.3O p.m. We checked in Hotel K Tree, a newly opened boutique hotel. The rooms were big with clean bathroom and toilet. The service was prompt. The hotel has a multi cuisine restaurant. The food was good.
Hotel K Tree, Kolhapur where we styaed for 3 nights.
 After freshening up and taking about 3 minutes rest, we decided to visit Mahalaxmi temple knowing  that being the penultimate day of Navratri festival, there will be heavy rush of devotees for darshan of Goddess Mahalaxmi. At least, we would get a feel of a festive atmoshere on the eve of Dussera. As expected, there was a longish queue of devotees for darshan. A police woman told us that it may take about 3 to 4 hours to get into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple for a darshan. There was a separate queue for those wishing to have darshan from outside the sanctum sanctorum but with heavy crowd and jostling, we felt that it was not worth a try. So we decided to visit the temple on Saturday, when Navratri gets over. We returned to our hotel not before eating the most famous bhel of Rajabhau located in a by lane, about 5 minutes of walk from Mahalaxmi temple. We had light dinner at our hotel’s restaurant before retiring for the day.   

October 3rd : Kolhapur-Siddhagiri Math-Sangli-Kolhapur (16O kms.)

Siddhagiri Math and Siddhagiri Gramjeevan Museum

The engagement ceremony was scheduled at 4.OO p.m. in Sangli followed by some musical programme and dinner. So we had in effect only half a day available for sightseeing. Our idea was to cover places like Narsoba Wadi and Khidrapur which was on our way to Sangli. However, the host had entrusted us to bring with us a 3 kg cake specially ordered from Kolhapur on the occasion of the engagement ceremony. And carrying the cake in our vehicle with half a day sightseeing in relatively warm weather was not a good idea. So we decided to postpone the planned sightseeing of the day for the next day and cover Siddhagiri Math which was hardly 15 kms from Kolhapur. On our return, we would pick up the cake and continue the journey to Sangli.

After completing the breakfast around 9.OO a.m., we drove through NH.4 for about 1O kms towards Kagal and took an exit to the left on a small road which goes over NH.4 towards its right side for a drive of about 5 kms to Kaneri village. A board displaying the direction to Siddhagiri Math which is also called Kaneri Math, took us to the place. As soon as we reached Kaneri Math, a non descriptive village of Kaneri now looked like a well planned and a clean village. The place is very serene and peaceful. The entire area covering about 1O acres of land is full of flora and fauna. We first visited a temple of Lord Shiva and saw the real looking replicas of two elephants with mahout and passengers in front of the temple. There was a huge idol of Lord Shiva with his life size Nandi bull located in the opposite direction of the temple. Just by the side of the temple was a big hall for meditation. 
Entrance to Siddhagiri Math, Kaneri.

Siddhagiri Math Office, Kaneri.
Shiva Temple, Siddhagiri Math

 Shivling covered with Shiva idol with Kolhapuri pagdi.

 A decorated Nandi in Shiva Temple.
Statue of sitting Shiva with Nandi Bull. Siddhagiri Math.
A life size replica of an Elephant with Mahout and passengers, Siddhagiri Math.
A restaurant inside Siddhagiri Math, Kaneri.
But what made our visit really worthwhile and memorable was an open air museum called Siddhagiri Gramjeevan Museum which is spread over 7 acres of land. A part of the museum is located inside the manmade caves which depict the roles of some of the prominent sages in Hindu mythology with their life size statues and their expertise in arts, science and commerce. I found these displays to be very educative. For example, Sage Jaimini specialised in Mimansa Philosophy. Sage Prashar specialised in Botany. Sage Kashyap was the master of Ayurvedic medicines.
Entrance to Siddhagiri Gramjeevan Museum, Kaneri.
Since photography is prohibited in Siddhagiri Museum, I have taken this picture from the website just to illustrate how real it looks. The scene is of a village well from where villagers bring water. There are multiple choices of  carrying water  as depicted in the picture. In the background is the real sugarcane  field.
This is also taken from a website just to illustrate how real it looks of the activities of trashing the harvested crops.
In the open air museum, there are more than 3OO statues depicting the rural life in India. The main features of some of the displays concerning farmers and agricultural fields are that except for statues, the surroundings are real. Even the statues of man, animals and implements look so real that  I got fooled by the display of shepherds grazing  their cows and buffalos in an open field to be real one until I saw it from a close distance. There are also displays of rural games which I am sure most of the current generations of kids would be unaware of. Then there are a series of displays on agricultural operations in a traditional manner starting with ploughing, sowing, irrigation, harvesting and finally trashing of harvested crops. One can even see the various modes of carrying water from a village well. 

The aim of this open air museum seems to be to make the present generation aware of the rural heritage of the past which is slowly crumbling because of the technical advancement. The museum also emphasises the importance of caste related vocations for the self sufficiency of the rural economy. It also shows the importance of inter personal relationship and  the inter dependence in a rural setting. I would highly recommend to those on a visit to Kolhapur or Sangli not to miss Siddhagiri Gramjeevan Museum especially if they are accompanied by children who have been brought up in an urban environment. It is very educative for them. My two grand children enjoyed this visit to the museum. We  spent about two hours which was not sufficient to study the displays in their entirety.

The entry fee for the museum is Rs.1OO per head and Rs.5O for children below 12 years of age. At first, we thought that the entry fee was steep. But at the end of the museum trip, we felt that it was more than worth. The additions to museum displays seem to be an ongoing process as we noticed some more works underway.    Since it is an open air museum, it is advisable to carry sun lotion and water bottles as the sunrays are very strong. There are two restaurants in Kaneri Math, one at the starting point of the museum and the other at the end point. There is also a shop selling mementos and other items of show pieces. Photography inside the museum is strictly prohibited.

We returned to Kolhapur to collect the cake and started the journey to Sangli to attend the engagement ceremony. It took us nearly 2 hours to complete 65 kms of journey due to many bad patches on Kolhapur-Sangli road. After dinner, we returned to our hotel in Kolhapur at around 11.3O p.m.

October 4th : Kolhapur-Panhala-Jyotiba-Narsoba Wadi-Khidrapur-Kolhapur (179 kms).

1. Panhala Fort (25 kms)

After breakfast, we first visited Mahalaxmi temple at around 9.OO a.m. As expected post-Navratri, there was no queue and we could complete the darshan of Goddess Mahalaxmi in less than 15 minutes with reasonable time to spend in sanctum sanctorum. A drive of about 25 kms on Kolhapur-Ratnagiri road took us to Panhala Fort (84Om). We took an accredited guide to get detailed information about the Fort.  
Intricate carving on the  stone wall of the Eastern side gate of Old Rajwada near Mahalaxmi temple.
Intricately carved pillar  of the Eastern gate of Old Rajwada, Kolhapur. This the main entrance to Mahalaxmi temple area.
Panhala Fort was constructed by Raja Bhoj of Shilhara dynasty in the 12th century. Since the Fort was located on a strategic pass between Konkan and the Deccan plateau, it has been the centre of skirmishes between different rulers like Adilshah of Bijapur, Yadavas of Devgiri, Mughals, Marathas and later East India Company. After the death of Afzal Khan, the commander of Adilshahi dynasty of Bijapur, Chatrapaty Shivaji Maharaj took control of the Fort in 1659. However, there had been frequent change of occupation of the Fort between Marathas and  Mughals. Finally, in 1782, the seat of Maratha Government was shifted from Panhala to Kolhapur and thereafter the Fort was given to British Raj in 1827. Except for a brief period in 1844 when rebels occupied the Fort, it remained with British Raj until 1947. The most important event that took place was the seige of  the Fort by the armies of Adilshah and Johar of Kurnool for over five months requiring Shivaji Maharaj to escape in disguise through secret routes to nearby Vishalgad  at the cost of the life of his trusted aide Bhaji Prabhu Deshpande in the battle of Pavan Khind.
Road to Panhala Fort.
We started with Andhar Bawdi (Hidden Well). It is a three storied structure with two stories located underground. At the base of the underground is a hidden step well. The idea is to protect the well from the enemies whose first act is to poison the water in the well. According to our guide, the water level in the well remains constant throughout the year. This well was the drinking water source for the inhabitants of the Fort. There is one archway above the well where some armed guards would always remain to protect the well. Since the third story of this structure is constructed at the road level, the enemies can neither see the underground structures nor the guards protecting it. So it is advantageous for the guards to take on the enemies by surprise. The back side of Andhar Bawdi is well fortified by a two layers of thick stone wall followed by a man made steep sloping landscape. There are escape routes from this place in case of emergency.  From the wall of the Andhar Bawdi, one can have an excellent view of valley on the western side.
Andhar Bawdi (Hidden Well) located at the bottom. The significance of this structure of Panhala Fort is that the the upper floor is at the road level. So when the enemy comes near it, the santries on guard in the basement can take the enemy by surprise.
Behind the grill door on the basement of Andhar Bawdi is the well which has  water throughout the year more or less on a constant level.
View of the valley from Andhar Bawdi part of Panhala Fort.
Another important part of the Fort is Teen Darwaza (Three gates or doors) which can be reached in about 1O minutes by walk after passing by the side of Bhalji Pendharkar Memorial Garden.  It is one of the gateways to the Fort from Konkan side. The three doors have been constructed in such a way that the enemies entering from the main gateway from Konkan side cannot see another two doors until they fully enter by which time the guards can launch a surprise attack. At present, there are no doors to three gates but there are huge stone hinges which indicate that the doors must have been very heavy to withstand the onslaught by elephants. Between first and the last gates, there is an arcade constructed probably for armed guards to protect the entry from Konkan side of the gate. There are inscriptions in Persian on a stone on the top of Konkan side gate which indicates that Teen Darwaza was constructed during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah in 1534.
Memorial of Bhalji Pendharkar on way to Teen Darwaza art of Panhala Fort.
Teen Darwaza seen from inside the Fort.
The intricate architecture of balancing stone arches, also known as groin vault in architectural terminology, inside the first door. Note the huge stone hinges on both side of second door.
The ceiling and  archways of the first door.
Lattice work on the second door of Teen Darwaza.
The stone plaque in Persian above the third door.
Our next visit was to Ambarkhana (Warehouse) located at the centre of the Fort. Here there are three granaries constructed in black stones. They were named as Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati to store rice, varai and nachni. The first one, Ganga is the largest of the three having the capacity to store about 25OOO quintals of rice. The rice collected from Konkan would be poured from a few holes created on the top of a high ceiling. Inside the rice granary, the high ceiling is rested on three rows of stone pillars, each one of them joined by the arches to give support to the ceiling. Once upon a time, the Ambarkhana was fortified by 15 metre deep trenches to prevent attacks. Now, the municipality has filled the trenches to avoid accidental fall but the sign of them is still visible.
The first and the largest granary for storing rice. The capacity of this granary was 25OOO quintals.
Rice used to be poured from a big hole in the ceiling. The capacity of this granary was 25OOO quintal.

View of first and second granaries,  Panhala. There were three granaries for storing Rice, Varai and Nachni.
On the way to Sajja Kothi, we saw some  ruins in the Fort like Rangmahal. Sajja Mahal is located on the eastern side of the Fort overlooking Warna valley. It is a single story black stone structure. It was here that Sambhaji was kept under house arrest by Shivaji to prevent his alleged defection to Mughals. From the first floor of this kothi, one gets an excellent view of Warna valley.
Govt. Dak Bungalow. Sajja Kothi is partially seen on the left.
View of the valley from one of the arches of Sajja Kothi on the first floor.

Persian inscriptions on Sajja Mahal.
 2. Panhala to Jyotiba (4O kms)

We drove back on Ratnagiri-Kolhapur road. About half way through it, a left diversion took us to Jyotiba Hills where a temple of Jyotiba, an incarnation of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh is located. The temple complex is also known as Kedareshwar. We reached here around 12.3O p.m. There was not much crowd in the temple and we could get darshan with ease. About 2O years back, I had visited Jyotiba when there was no direct access to the temple by vehicle. One had to climb hundred of stone steps from the road end to reach the temple. Many devotees still follow the climbing route rather than coming by vehicles upto the entrance to the temple.
Jyotiba temple, Jyotiba Hills. 
3. Jyotiba to Narsoba Wadi (65 kms.)

We left Jyotiba at around 1.OO p.m. It was a long drive on a road of bad patches. Somewhere on Kolhapur Sangli road, we took a lunch break at a Dabha serving what they call as akka masur with rotis or bakharis. Masur is one kind of lentils. It is prepared in the Kolhapuri spices as a dry dish to be eaten with rotis or bhakris. The food was tasty. We ended our lunch with a glass of kokam kadhi (Kokam juice mixed with coconut milk seasoned with green chillies), which is regarded as good for digestion. After a drive of about one hour, we reached Narsobachi Wadi, also called Narsingpur which is located at the confluence of Panchganga and Krishna Rivers. This is one of the holiest places especially for Dattatreya devotees. The temple is located at the banks of Krishna river. In the temple, Swami Narsinh Saraswati is worshipped as incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. There is no image of Swami Narsinh Saraswati but his Padukas are worshipped here.  

The temple is constructed in an unconventional manner in that it does not have sphire or dome. In fact, it has got a flat roof. It does not have the conventional sanctum sanctorum. Another aspect of this temple is that there is a complete peaceful atmosphere in the sabha mandap where a large number of devotees sit with closed eyes probably chanting in their mind Digambara Digambara Shripad Vallabh Digambara. Swami Narsinh Saraswati stayed here for 12 years practicing penance. The location of the temple itself is serene. No doubt, devotees find solace and peace of mind when they visit such a holy place. I like to visit such kind of temples where there is not much of a crowd and the atmosphere is peaceful and serene which naturally generate devotion and sprituality in mind.
Unending sugarcane fields on way to Narsoba Wadi.
Krishna River, Narsoba Wadi.

Dutta Temple. The stone staircase leads to Krishna River ghat.
Krishna River seen from Datta Temple.
After buying some kandi pedhas and kunda which are the speciality of Narsobachi Wadi, we proceeded to our last lap of 17 kms of journey to Khidrapur to see Kopeshwar temple. But this temple is such a  architectural marvel that I have decided to cover it in my next blog.