This is my Day 2 in Panchgani.Check out my escapades on day1 in wai
Rajapuri Caves (4378 ft)
On the way to Rajapuri caves, we were enthralled by the beautiful valleys and
the clouds. After entering Panchgani and paying 20 rs per person as God-Knows-
what-charges, we reached Sydney point. This is a famous tourist point. But
we were here pretty early say around 0900 and there was not a soul around. the
entire place was for us. The clouds kept the visibility to zero. We were driving above the clouds.
we reached the Rajapuri caves enjoying the soothing views.
The 6 caves are very old as is understood by the rock carvings in Devnagari ( Pali) language. These caves might have been carved in the 10 – 11th century,
The Rajapuri Caves hold spiritual importance because of the fact that it these caves were used by Lord Karthikeya, son of Lord Shiva and Shakti, to perform various sacred ceremonies and for penance.
The caves have also supposed to have protected the Pandavas during there exile from the Kingdom. King Virat gave them protection.
The first cave contains a kund, which continuously keeps on getting filled by water flowing from the opening of a sacred ‘Gomukh’.
There are overall three ponds in the first cave. There is a common belief that the water in the Mallikarjuna kund ( the first kund) has power to cleanse the soul 🙂
The cave of lord Kartikeya is one of the most important caves. It is isolated from the other caves.The other caves are interconnected by means of underground tunnels.
Things to look for
- The cave having The temple of Lord Kartikeya
- The Large Nandi in front of the caves
- Kund/Sacred Ponds in the first cave filled by water flowing from a sacred ‘Gomukh’
- There are few tabs having different scriptures
- There is a peepal tree behind the Nandi having few more scriptures and miniature Nandi
How to reach
wai – mahabaleshwar highway to Khingar and a bit ahead to reach the rajapuri caves. Its about 7 kms from Panchgani.
Once we reached the base village of Rajapuri, there are about 80 stairs to reach the caves.
The stairs have been built by Saint Gadgebaba in1943. He built the stairs using the Dalits in the village at that time fighting the untouchability issue. His efforts have paved way for the village getting a national cleanliness award.
The Six caves are carved inside the 100-125 ft rock below the village. The water falling over the edges of the rock and over the cave-entrance create a very drammatic effect. The old roots hanging from over the edge also create a very unique feel.
The first cave has three ponds
- Dattatreya kund
- Mallikarjuna kund
- Vishnu kund.
Mallikarjun kund at the entrance of the cave is the biggest amongst the three. And is supposed to have magical powers. whoever bathes in this kund is cleansed of all his misdeeds
.There are multiple idols in this cave eg- Sheshshayi, sheshnag, ganpati, shivling etc.There is also a Gomukh , water from his mouth falls directly into the Mallikarjuna kund.
Besides the Gomukh is a small Dattatreya Kund. The innermost kund is the Vishnu kund . Behind the Vishnu kund there is a cave which houses the Jagdamba devi ( Bhavani mata).
This cave is smaller as compared to cave1.
It has North facing Shivling. There was a excavation carried out near this cave which lead to finding few idols, Veergal (stone tabs), satigal ( stone tabs).
Satigal has hands carved on it indicating the tab has been created to remember the women who had offered their life as Sati.
Veergal denote the courageous deeds performed by warriors. If the warrior dies in the battle , an angel ( apsara) takes the soul to heaven.
This is the Lord Vishnu cave.
The Lord vishnu’s idol carries Shankh, Gada, flowers and Chakra.
This again is a small cave housing a Shivling with a Nandi in front of the cave.
There are many idols and veergals present as well.
This cave is the famous Kartikswami Cave.
Further, there is another internal cave inside this one which houses the Mallikarjun Shivling.( This Shivling was found in the Bavdhan village and established over here ) There are plenty of other idols as well.
Towards the left of this Shivling there is another Small cave with the Lord Datta’s idol.
Towards the right of the Shivling there is the Kartikswami cave. It is at this spot where Kartikswami met Naradmuni on his trip around the world to earn the love of Lord Shankar.There is an old legend that Kartikswami had given a curse that no lady can see his face apart from the day of Tripurari Poornima. Hence women are not allowed to the caves on normal days.
Outside the mallikarjuna shivling cave there is a idol of Lord Bhairav and on the other side is the Ganpati Idol.
Besides the Ganpati idol is a small cave housing a east facing Shivling. Plus there are other idols as well.
Outside the cave there is a stone tab which has carvings in Pali language.
This is the last cave. There are not many things to look out in this cave. Plus this cave is closed from outside.
Outside the caves is a huge Nandi. The speciality of this idol is that there is a person carved in the idol who is feeding the Nandi from a basket.
Behind the nandi is a peepal tree. Nice greenery overlooking the clouds
Below it are few more Veergals and other tabs. there is a miniature Nandi as well.
One last look at the caves , before we head to the Mapro outlet.
By now we were very hungry and started to search food. we landed up at the Parsi point.
The View from this point was a sight for sore eyes. Clouds were romancing the hills, while the Dhom dam just kept looking.The hot maize & chai were just right for the scene.
Next up we visited the Mapro Garden Restaurant .
The thing about Mapro is that it brings out the inner child in no time.
Things to do
- Taste the free shakes
- Try the sandwich and the strawberry shakes in the restaurant below
- Check the chocolate factory
- Buy mapro syrups,chocolates which you wont get back home
- auditorium (they show the chocolate and the strawberry stories)
- Taste the free shakes again and giggle like a kid
You just cant get enough of the free milk shakes and the syrups.The eight of us wreaked havoc on the juice centre with no regret 🙂
Bought some stuff and spent 1000 times more than what mapro would have spent on the free sampling. Successful marketing. Expert opinion: the Green apple, blue lagoon & custard apple shake is a must try.
Just as a way to say good bye .Another round of free shots. And we are off to the next palatial destination used to shoot Bollywood classics- the Bhor rajwada. Enroute the clouds formed a wonderful umbrella over the hills.
On the way back to pune we headed to the Bhor rajwada .
The facade of the palace gives us the idea of the grandeur of the palace in its heydays.
It was built in 1869, by Pantsachiv Chimnajirao at a cost of 2 lakh rupees after the older palace was burnt due to fire. It is one of the best preserved Maharashtrian wada that exist today.
Synergy of islamic and gothic architecture into vernacular architectural style can be observed in this structure. Architectural style of wada can be defined as Marartha or Peshwai Architectural style, simlar to that of Wishrambaug wada(1807) and Shaniwar wada(1732), in Pune.
The palace has been the location for shooting many movies including Bajirao Mastani, Katyar kaljat Ghusli etc. Enacting one of its scene 😀
The palace offers a peek into the architectural glory at every point
One last group pic before we head out to the neigbouring Nira river
The near by Nira River offers a very picturesque spot
A quick stop and we headed to towards Pune. On the way is the Bhatghar dam & the beautiful neklace point.
Bhor Necklace point
From the Bhor Necklace point on the bhor-kapurhol road we took the NH48 to return to swargate. Two fun-filled day adventure comes to an end with tired bodies and mind full of experiences.