December 2016:: One Sunday, we were in Bedse Caves clicking a lot of photographs there. One of the enthusiasts and travel-lover came up to us and after a couple of minutes of conversation, he quickly guessed our interest in off-beat and historic places and suggested us – Gondeshwar Temple, Sinnar, Nashik.
The place is around 185 km (3.5 hours) from Pune and 26 km from Nashik. It was the only location to see there in Sinnar, Nashik. But, would that stop us from visiting? The answer was a big “NO”. We could not stop ourselves and drove to Gondeshwar Temple the next Sunday. After some readings and research, we were ready to explore the ancient temple.
What is so significant about this place?
- Gondeshwar Temple is an 11th-12th Century old Hindu Temple constructed by the Yadavas and their feudatories.
- It features the Panchayatana plan in which the main temple of Shiva is in the center with other four shrines on the corners of Lord Vishnu, Lord Surya, Lord Parvati, and Lord Ganesha. Wow! so fascinating.
- Gondeshwar temple is built in the Bhumija and Hemadpanti style of architecture with the locally available Black Basalt Stone.
It was so mesmerising to sit in the Gondeshwar Temple and travel back in history.
The entrance is a stone structure with some carvings and just in the middle of the premises is the Gondeshwar temple. The structure is known as Shaiva Panchayatan or a group of five temples with a large enclosure. All the five shrines in the premises are perfectly proportionate. The temple complex is built on the raised platform which provides a nice view of the sculptures around the complex.
The Shiva linga is enshrined by a towering ceiling and was well maintained. The pillars, walls, roofs of the temple were beautifully, intricately carved. The pillared hall has a carved turtle, a form of Vishnu Avatar, which is small yet elegant. The Nandi (Lord Shiva’s mount) is facing the main entrance.
I can behold that beauty the whole day. Each carving had a different story to tell from the times of ancient epic Ramayana. Gondeshwar temple is a marvelous example of the medieval temples of the Deccan and Indo-Aryan style.
The shrines on the corners were damaged and only some of the idols could be seen. The Gondeshwar Temple, Sinnar is listed as heritage site and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has done a great job in reviving the hidden treasure. Not many people venture there which is an added advantage that keeps the place neat, safe and intact.
Tip:: There were not many eateries on the way. Carry your food and water but please do not litter. Carry the umbrellas to keep away the heat as there is no shade.
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset
Gondeshwar Temple is a magnificent piece of our rich Indian history. Cherish it.