Instagram is addictive and we have a new means to add new travel destinations to our bucket list. We saw an amazing pic of this beautiful temple on one of the collections on Instagram and couldn’t wait to get there the moment we got a chance. Gondeshwar is an ancient temple located inside a small town named Sinnar near Nashik, in the state of Maharashtra. It is one of the lesser known temples and the site looks like a forgotten one.
We started early morning from Pune and were dreading to drive on the infamous Nashik highway NH60, as it is a single lane highway prone to traffic jams. But to our pleasant surprise, almost 80% of the road’s multi lane work is complete and we enjoyed the cruise till we reached Sinnar. (Yay! Progress) The GPS was on (it has to be) and it showed the road to the temple inside the town. We were not sure if it was the right one as we were driving through a narrow lane next to houses and bungalows and cows to give us company. But we slowly crossed the residential area and began entering a more open field, which made us more optimistic of getting closer to our destination. And soon, there it was! Standing shyly, as if it didn’t want to get noticed. The temple was surrounded by a wall and its pronounced entrance was impossible to miss in its first glance. No entry ticket, no security, this beautiful peace of art is lying there unattended. Kids were playing cricket just outside the campus and there was a huge open space, where we conveniently parked our car and hurried inside. The view of the temple from the entrance was magnificent.
Built it hemadpanthi style architechture, Gondeshwar temple is one of the few structures in this style which is in good shape even today. The black stone which is used to built this temple keeps the premise cool. The temple is built on an elevated platform which makes the view even more majestic. The main temple is in the exact centre of the platform and is surrounded by 4 temples at the corner of this platform. After climbing the steps of this platform, the entrance to the main temple has a gorgeous umbrella shaped tall structure to step in. The panels of the temple have an array of intricate artwork. Its symmetry and patterns are so satisfying to see. The creators must surely have been perfectionists. This style of architecture and its carvings are sure to satiate the OCD of an art lover perfectionist.
The most stunning part of the temple was the circular cut ceiling of one of its part in the premises. To the east of the main entrance was a structure of the temple which looked like a regular one until you walked inside it. The view of the sky from the inside at the backdrop of the main temple was a sight to cherish. Even though we got an amazing view of this masterpiece, we have an urge to visit again when the sky is blue. We visited in the monsoon and also experienced slight drizzles in the Gondeshwar premises which felt serene.
We spent the next few hours admiring the heritage and experiencing the calmness of the temple. Some people find it weird when we wake up early and drive for hours just for experiences like this but time spent at such locations is definitely our energy booster.
On our way back, we also checked out the Gargoti Museum (the mineral musem) near Sinnar MIDC. It is a good effort to preserve and showcase the zeolite minerals. Some of them are extremely rare and difficult to believe that they are minerals found in the earth’s crust.
There are many such heritage sites in and around our big cities. Some of them are known, some little known. Creating awareness about them to enable like minded people to visit, witness and appreciate is secondary. The prime purpose of writing about them for us, is to show the valuable heritage treasure that exists with us and to create the urge to preserve them.
P.S. India is a magnificent country and we live on a beautiful planet. Please do not litter. Be a responsible traveller.