Pune – the cultural capital of Maharashtra was my chosen destination for a family trip, and while we enjoyed exploring the different facets of this beautiful city, we came across 6 amazing temples in and around Pune that left us mesmerized. While Its difficult to put in words the experience at each of these places, I will attempt to share some details and recommend my readers to visit and experience it themselves if in the city –
Shreemant Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple
One of the famous temples in Pune and is probably a top of the list place for anyone visiting or even passing through the city. A small temple but a divine power that is unmatched. Lord Ganpati resides here in the most elegant form adorned with gold and is so beautiful that there is an instant connect. Festivals, prayers, celebrations are all performed in a grand manner. There is a lot of history available on how the temple came into existence on the internet which I won’t get into the details but just being there was nothing short of a blessed moment. We were there at around 9:30 in the night and it was still a constant flow of people for darshan. There is a glass wall facing the main road which allows everyone to catch a glimpse of the deity while in commute. It was our last stop before heading back to our hotel and I could not have asked for anything better to end the day than this. The temple is in the market area and parking is difficult especially for 4 wheelers.
Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar – Camp
Located in the heart of the city and being here is a heartwarming story indeed ! A beautiful and huge Gurudwara and a famous one . Very peaceful environment being here in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib. We spent a good time here just soaking in visually. For those not aware, one is required to always have their head covered whilst inside the Gurudwara, there are also head scarfs available near the footwear drop counter for anyone who doesn’t have one to use and return it while stepping out. Photography is not allowed inside. I couldn’t experience the langar here though.
Iskcon NVCC Temple was the first place that we decided to visit in Pune and it was a good decision that we went in the night as the lights dotting the temple were eye pleasing and serene. There is a food court and a lodge as well I believe for visitors to the temple just before we entered the main temple complex . Iskcon Temples are known to be grandeur and this one was no exception. Fountains and Gardens give the place a serenity.
Once we were in, it was divine. The idols of all the deities are so beautiful that it will leave one mesmerized. We were on time for Aarti and it was an experience etched in memory. The walls and the roof of the temple has art work of the finest quality. After spending a wonderful time, we decided to grab some snacks at the food court which is when the air was filled with chants of ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ and we saw a beautiful sight of people dancing to the tunes just being lost and enjoying the moment. There is parking available for 4 wheeler’s.
Shree Narayani Dham Temple – Lonavala
Lonavala is a weekend destination for folks in Mumbai or Pune and while we included it in itenary, we also had a plan to visit the Narayani Dham Temple after reading some good reviews. This is enroute to Lonavala and not really that far from Pune. Went in with no real expectations just looking for some spiritual experience but it was mind-blowing. Again similar to Iskcon – gardens, fountains, huge temple complex, cow shed, lodge for visitors, kids play area and daily food options in this temple too. The main deities being Ganesha, Hanuman and Narayani Devi, each idol beautifully adorned and decorated. There are no restrictions on photography here and so spend some time experiencing both with your eye and your camera’s.
One also gets to feed cows at the Gaushala or cow shed by buying a portion of fodder for ₹50 or grab a food coupon for a meal served at the temple complex for self. Though we did not try the food, we found out that the coupons get sold out pretty quickly and the meal is very delicious. There were a few shops selling pooja and decorative items wherein we grabbed a few things as well. A well maintained washroom and a parking area were the other facilities which were a plus.
Shri Mahalaxmi Mandir – Sarasbaug
A small yet famous temple opposite Sarasbaug. The Mahalakshmi Mandir has the Goddess in three forms – Sri Mahasaraswati , Sri Mahalaxmi and Sri Mahakaali which is probably a first for me and is elegance personified. Spent a little time here but it was enough for a truly divine experience. Again no photography inside so got an external shot. Opposite to this temple, there is also another famous Ganesha temple inside Sarasbaug which unfortunately we did not get a chance to visit but will recommend readers to add it to their itenary.
Prati Shirdi Shirgaon
The last temple that I would recommend near Pune is the Prati Shirdi in Shirgaon. Probably an hour drive from the city center, it is also known as Choti Shirdi because it is an exact replica of the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple. From the temple structure to the idol, everything is similar to Shirdi which was awesome. We also bought a lot of laddoo’s and peda’s from the stalls in the temple which were delicious. Lot of stall’s outside the temple too. Take the time out to visit and experience Shirdi closer to Pune.
There are a lot more temples in and around Pune that are worth a visit but these 6 were the ones we experienced and recommend.