Travel teaches volumes. For a curious mind each aspect from names of places, the food, the clothes and even behavior of people is an adventure.
The write up that follows is a peek into such a world.
“Ancient pilgrim” sites in India give you a glimpse of a fabulous past. They teach you of the local Flora and Fauna and how they influence humanity
The locations reveal the power of nature and your senses are awestruck in wonder.
Each sense is influenced as you go through the rituals. The mantras set in motion each atom of your being and thus your thoughts and actions thereafter.
Bhimashankar Jyotirling is one such pilgrimage.
Located amongst the clouds in a forest on the western Ghats about 130 kms from Pune. it is one the 12 Jyotirlings.
A shloka in Sanskrit details all the 12 Jyotirlings and Bhimashankar is described as “Dakinyam Bhimashankaram”. Its placed at No.6 in the shloka.
I will touch only the aspects of nature and not mention all the mythological tales associated with this Abode of Lord Shiva.
Clouds cloak you as one approaches the Bhimashankar forests.
The Bhimashankar forest is one of the 12 biodiversity hotspots and home to the now threatened species of giant squirrels .(Ratufa indica) .
Besides the Forests in the cloud , the Bhimashankar forests are home to over 12 sacred groves ( some over 1000 years old) and many deorias. These are treasure troves as they unravel the mysteries of the original flora of the region. Do read my article Sacred Forests in http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com.
Thats why i mention that ancient pilgrim sites are the clues left by our forefathers to unraveling the mysteries of nature.
These sacred groves and deorias are home to numerous medicinal herbs and plants which can be seen at the temple complex. Simple inexpensive remedies to our ailments.
You have to climb up to most temples, but at Bhimashankar , you step down to reach the main temple complex. Its mysterious how the clouds reduce visibility even further, to just a few feet, as you approach the temple.
Vehicles cannot go beyond this point. Hereafter you need to walk.
An inquisitive buffalo beckons me to follow.Do see the the lush forest in the backdrop.
The walkway is a flight of steps lined with interesting shops.
I spotted a Panditji at the sweet shop.
There are several unique features at the temple complex, i share what I saw.
A crab “reading the scriptures” in Sanskrit and Bella the dog ( sana hope you are reading) keeping a watch.
As I sign off i am leaving you with more images of the Bhimashankar temple complex.
They reveal the history of the Mighty Maratha Kingdom and tales of times gone by, clothes of the region and mythological stories which todate protects the forest and all the beings that reside in it.
I call it the “abode of Lord Shiva inside the forest in the clouds”.