Piligrimage Centers in Pune

Alandi
Alandi is a city and a municipal council in Pune district in the state of Maharashtra, India.

Geography
Alandi is located on the banks of the Indrayani River, 25 km east of Pune, India. It has an average elevation of 577 metres (1893 feet).

Demographics
As of 2001 India census, Alandi had a population of 17,561. Males constitute 56% of the population and females 44%. Alandi has an average literacy rate of 73%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 62% of the males and 38% of females literate. 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Pilgrimage center
Saint Dnyaneshwar, after translating the Bhagavad Gita into Marathi attained Samadhi in a cave at Alandi. Alandi is thus a place of pilgrimage and is venerated by many Hindus. A temple complex has been built near the spot of Sant Dnyaneshwar's samadhi. It is visited by thousands of pilgrims, and in particular, those of the Varkari Sect. On every Kartika Ekadashi (eleventh day of the Hindu month of Kartik), a big festival is held at Alandi, when the Yatra (procession of pilgrims) reaches the town.

Among other important sites at Alandi are the Vitthala-Rakhumai temple, Siddhabet, Jalaram mandir (just like the one at Virpur Gujarat) and Dnyaneshwar's wall. The town of Dehu, where the samadhi of Sant Tukaram is located, lies not far from Alandi.

Alandi has also the distinction of having a prehistoric collection of Shivling. In one of the Saint Dnyaneshwar's verses he speaks of it being called "Sidheshwar". The name of the reigning deity of the place as also one of the names of Shiva. He states then that a collection of eighty-four Sidhas meet or exist here. Under a dense green and flower laden canopy emitting a heavenly fragrance and birds singing celestal tunes. This stanza is to be found in Saint Dnyaneshwar's book about the power of chanting Hari's name. The book is called Haripath. Even till this day Haripath is recited by countless rich and poor in Maharashtra. They experience its beauty and believe in its powers as also in the person who created them.

Alandi has become known as a place for mass-marriage ceremonies for impoverished eloped lovers and parents who would avoid expenses for a daughter's marriage. An "Alandi marriage" has therefore become a derogatory term in urban area around Pune.

Dehu
Dehu is a census town in Pune district in the state of Maharashtra, India.

Geography
It has an average elevation of 594 metres (1948 feet).

Demographics
As of 2001 India census, Dehu had a population of 5340. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Dehu has an average literacy rate of 77%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83% and, female literacy is 72%. In Dehu, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Sant Tukaram
Dehu is a place of Sant Tukaram - well known sant in Maharashtra. He lived here and taught people how to pray to god. He and Sant Dnyaneshwar were the popular sants and both worshiped Lord Vitthal. The 'Palakhi' in the month of 'Ashadh' from Dehu is one of the main attractions of Dehu. Many people have taken part in it many years. Dehu is a place where the 'Abhang 'of Sant Tukaram can be remembered. One can see his temple here on the banks of the river. This temple was constructed by his younger son Narayanbaba in 1723. Various other temples nearby are worth seeing. A rock where Sant Tukaram was on fast is also here. Sant Tukaram will always be remembered for his Abhang and Gatha.

Bhimashankar
General
Bhimashankar is located in the village of Bhavagiri 50 km north west of Khed, near Pune. It is located 110 km away from Pune in the Ghat region of the Sahyadri hills. Bhimashankar is also the source of the Bhima river, which flows south east and merges with the Krishna river near Raichur. The other Jyotirlinga shrines in Maharashtra are Tryambakeshwar and Grishneshwar. Regular pilgrims near Mumbai visit Bhimashankar from Karjat via Khandas. The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary located here is a popular weekend getaway from Mumbai and Pune.

Legend
This temple is closely associated with the legend of Shiva slaying the demon Tripurasura associated with the invincible flying citadels Tripuras. Shiva is said to have taken abode in the Bhima form, upon the request of the Gods, on the crest of the Sahyadri hills, and the sweat that poured forth from his body after the battle is said to have formed the Bhimarathi river.

Architecture
The Temple: The Bhimashankara temple is a composite of old and the new structures and is built in the Nagara style of architecture. It is a modest temple yet graceful temple and it dates back to mid 18th century. The shikhara of the temple was built by Nana Phadnavis. The great Maratha ruler Shivaji is also said to have made endowments to this temple to facilitate the carrying out, of worship services. As with other Shiva temples in this area, the sanctum is at a lower level.

Although the structure here is fairly new, the shrine Bhimashankaram (and the Bhimarathi river) have been referred to in literature dating back to the 13th century CE. Saint Jnaneshwar is said to have visited Tryambakeshwar and Bhimashankar. Chimaji Appa ( brother of Nanasaheb Peshva & son of Bajirao Peshva) has presented a large chime which he has won in war against Portuguese at Vasai Fort.

Other temples and shrines
There is a shrine to Kamalaja near the Bhimashankara temple. Kamalaja is an incarnation of Parvati, who aided Shiva in his battle against Tripuraasura. Kamalajaa was worshipped with offerings of lotus flowers by Bhrama. Shaakini and Daakini the Shivaganas who helped Shiva in the battle against the demon are also honored and worshipped here.

The Mokshakund thirtha is located behind the Bhimashankara temple, and it is associated with the rishi Kaushika. There are also the Sarvathirtha, the Kusharanya thirtha where the Bhima river begins to flow eastward, and the Jyanakund.

Worship
Three worship services are offered each day. Mahashivratri is a season of great festivity here.

It is to be noted that the Rudrasamhita sloka in its reference to Bhimashankar says, Daakine Bhimashankaram. There is also a Bhimashankar temple at Bhimapur hill near Guwahati in Assam where legend holds that a demon by name Bhima who inflicted havoc upon the beings in the area, was slain by Shiva, as he tried to kill a king enaged in Shiva worship. This is a legend similar to that where Shiva emerged from a Shivalingam to vanquish Yama the Lord of death. The Shiva Purana and the Koti Rudra Samhita refer to Bhimashankar temple in the Kamarupa country. However there is also a reference to Mount Sahya, where it is stated that Shiva - Bhimashankara appeared on the Sahayadris.

There is also a Bhimashankara temple at Kashipur near Nainital, which was referred to as Daakini country in ancient days. It is believed that Bhima the Pandava prince was married to Hidamba, a Daakini here. Mahashivaratri is celebrated in great splendour here too. This temple also has shrines to Bhairavanath and Devi, and a temple tank by name Shivaganga.

Jejuri
Jejuri (Marathi) is a city and a municipal council in Pune district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is famous for the main temple of god Khandoba.

Ozar
Ozar is a census town in Nashik District in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Demographics
As of 2001 India census, Ozar had a population of 45,770. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Ozar has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 82%, and female literacy is 73%. In Ozar, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Ranjangaon
Lenyandri
Morgaon
Theur