The epitome of Maharashtrian culture resides in Pune, and with its cultural and historical treasure cove surrounding our entire city, it’s not hard to guess why Pune really has it all.
Our metropolitan still has an orthodox and traditional heart. Sarasbaug, Shaniwarwada, Dagdusheth and Mandai Ganpati are just some of the gems in our city. Adding to the list is Omkareshwar Temple; one which probably doesn’t get as much recognition as the other temples do. All probably because although we have all visited it, there isn’t much concrete literature or knowledge available about this temple. Worry not, let’s bring some information into the light!
Omkareshwar temple is situated in Shaniwar Peth, on the banks of river Mutha. It is one of the oldest as well as the biggest temples in the city, and has survived the Panshet floods. The temple was built by Shivaram Bhat, a spiritual guru of the Peshwas and was built between 1740 – 1760. It depicts the fallen glory of the Peshwa dynasty; Chimaji Appa and Bajirao Peshwa had both provided donations to build the temple.
The temple has played a significant role in the freedom struggle. Revolutionaries like Lokmanya Tilak and Veer Savarkar used to assemble near the temple at a spot known as ‘Taalim’. It is rumored that all their important discussions and plans used to be conducted in this Taalim. Along with that, as mentioned above, the temple was one of the few surviving architectural pieces after the Panshet flood.
The temple’s architecture is considered to be an excellent example of the 17th Century architectural prowess. The white dome is made of soft soap stone, and it has a ‘Nagara’ styled Shikhars (spires) with engravings of several Hindu deities. The temple in general is a wonderful symbolism of that era, and with its carvings and engravings, it is a picturesque depiction of the Peshwa rule.
Within the shrine, and after you enter through the gateway, you can see a beautiful mandav of Nandi Maharaj. Due to the flood, the idol was washed away by the water force, and people had to pull and restore it to its original position. Just beyond the Gabhara and the Nandi Mandap is the Agni Kunda, a ceremonial place.
The main reason why devotees come to the temple is for its Shivling. It’s always decorated with flowers and milk. The priest of the temple offers his blessings to all the devotees and generations of families have devoted their lives to ensuring the sanctity and beauty of this temple.
The temple attracts a lot of residents as well as tourists for its serene and peaceful atmosphere. It’s renowned now as one of the most popular relaxation points in Pune. You can meditate here without anyone disturbing you, and the scenic view as well as the calm ambience ensure that you can most definitely clear your head and worries!
Feature image by @yogesh_hemke via Instagram