Friday, March 4, 2011

Balaji Temple at Narayanpur, Pune

The entrance gate

When you break the news of moving to a new city, folks will be eager to share any little info about the city, some first hand info or heard from friends or families.  And some of them might not have even passed through that city as part of a journey to say the least. But will have lots to tell in the tone of authentic info. So before we moved to Pune, we too has our share of information from lots of people. Knowing our interest to travel, few suggested places of interest too. After coming to Pune, Balaji mandir was our first place of visit. I haven't been to Tirupathi and I was looking forward to visit Balaji temple, which I was told is built on the same lines of Tirupathi with regard to the Sannidhis/deities.

Once you move out of the city, the drive to the temple is very good, especially after the monsoon.The surroundings where the temple is located is very calm and serene.  Autos and share taxis which ply from Kapurhole is not allowed inside. Own vehicles/taxis are allowed to the parking area. There is a place to keep your footwear and can proceed to the temple. Cameras and mobiles are not allowed and has to be deposited at the counter where the queue begins. There is a separate queue for ladies and gents. The temple is open from 5:30 a.m till 8:30 p.m in the evening. Temple is closed for darshan briefly during the pooja time. There isn't much waiting time except when its closed for pooja. During such time, you may have to wait for half an hour or so and by then the queue gets longer. But once it is opened, the queue moves fairly fast.

As you enter the temple, there is a pipe with water flowing from the holes, to wash your feet. I am told, Tirupathi has a similar facility. Lord Balaji is very artistically and beautifully decked up with gold ornaments and flower garlands. Depending upon the queue, you will be asked to move faster. But you are guaranteed a satisfying darshan. From there you move down the steps and walk to the surrounding platform where the other sannidhis are there. Chakkarathu Alwar, Padmavathy, Andal and Venu gopla swami Sannidhis are there in the four corners. After the Venugopala Sannidhi you move out of the temple. On the way out, you will given Laddu prasadam and meal coupon for lunch.
On the way from the entrance, there is Ganesha Sannidhi. Outside the temple, you can find Kubera sannidhi and Anjaneya Sannidhi too.  There is facility to offer your hair too with seperate sections for ladies and gents.

The dining hall is located towards the back of the temple and has to walk around 200 mtrs.  A typical Andhra meal served . You take the plater and get the food served and sit on the carpets laid down. A meal of pachadi/chutney, kesari, kalanda sandam(Mixed Rice) like puliyotharai/vaangi bath, rice and a gravy is served. You can go for second helpings too. The dining hall is well maintained and is cleaned as when people move.

Taken from the parking area

To reach there: Buses ply from Swargate to Narayanpur. The frequency of buses to Naraynpur is less and you can take any pass passing through Kapurhol like Satara buses. Get down at Kapurhol and you can take autos or taxis which charge Rs.5 per person. And you may have to wait till he gets passengers to its capacity. The temple must be around 2.5 kms from the Kapurhol junction.

On return, you might get some share taxis which will drop you at Swargate bus stand. On my first trip, we got one and he charged less than what we paid for bus.