7 Apr 2005

A trip to Shegaon

I recently paid a pilgrimic visit to shegaon. Shegaon is located in the state of Maharashtra and is the home of the revered Saint Gajanan Maharaj. The trip came had its share of surprises - all pleasant, i must say!
  • The railway - The Gondia-Kolhapur Maharashtra Express arrived in Pune and reached Shegaon on time(!).
  • The rickshaw wallas charged fixed rates and were very congenial (not a a widely available luxury).
  • We did not have to stay at a hotel but found that 'Bhakt Niwaas' (the residence for devotees) offered good rooms at charges from Rs. 75.00 onwards. The rooms turned out to be clean, neatly furnished (if you chose a furnished one), had sufficient water (which is a commodity in that area) and most importantly - a fantastically cooperative staff. I haven't said all those words together in a single breath for a holy place - ever. Here's a list of other facilities.
  • A visit to the temple showed that the place was clean, neatly organized with ever-cooperative volunteers available at every point.
  • The gardens near the temple - Anand Sagar project (see picture) turned out to be a huge (150 acres) place with extremely peaceful, beautifully laid out gardens, structures, temples inspired from holy places around India. It was also one of the most organized places of its size that i have seen in India. My favourite was the dancing fountains show which can be seen only in the evenings (7pm and 7:30pm every day).
The total journey took me a 2 days and 3 nights with travel between pune and shegaon eating up around 24-25 hours alone.

The only complaints were towards the HOT (and i mean 43 degrees HOT!!) weather and the dilapitated state of the 'chaar dhaam' (the 4 destinations) which are the 4 places of importance regarding the great saint. The places themselves are ok - but the surrounding are a sorry picture of the Indian rural life.

Finally, here's a link to my pictures and a link to the official site. For the devotees of the saint, the official site has some excellent wallpapers, aartis (devotional songs) in MP3 format, a pair of screen savers and last but not the least - photos of the saints life.

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