A Guide to the temples on the way from Pune to Shirdi
Like any other journey, a pilgrimage is also not just about reaching a destination but also about what you discover along the way. If the purpose of a pilgrimage is to have a divine experience, then why not have more such experiences en route? Because that is when your entire pilgrimage becomes wholesome. Take the trip from Pune to Shirdi, for example. While most pilgrims would look at Shirdi as their ultimate holy destination, there are numerous temples between these two cities which one can visit.
Temples in Rajgurunagar
The first major stop after Pune is Rajgurunagar at 44 KM. A historic town named after the great freedom fighter Shivaram Rajguru, Rajgurunagar hosts several old temples like –
Siddheshwar Temple – Sitting near the Bhima River, this is an ancient temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple structure has been restored and renovated with contemporary constructions, but its old stone pillars still speak of its heritage. There is a small pond or ‘kund’ in the center, around which the main shrines are built. The pond is fed by the underground inlet of Bhima River and is said to be holy. Stone steps lead to the pond from all sides, where you might find pilgrims taking a dip or practicing a ritual.
Ekveera Devi Temple – As you continue on NH 60, you will come across this other famous temple of Rajgurunagar. The temple houses the shrine of local deity Khandoba and is highly revered by the local communities.
For a little adventure, you can also head to the Kundeshwar Temple on the road that leads to the Shingheshwar Mountain (the highest point of Rajgurunagar). A dirt road from Pait village takes you halfway through, after which, you have to walk the rest of the way. The temple sits against the Kundeshwar Mountain and makes for a great view, especially during the monsoon. If you take a short trek from the rear side of the temple, you can also catch a glimpse of the Shingeshwar peak.
Apart from these two places, Rajgurunagar boasts many other temples within the town. You can take a quick detour from the highway and visit the Kedareshwar Temple, Khandoba Temple, Vishnu Temple at Chandiram Maharaj Math, Chinmaya Ganapati Temple, or the Shingeshwar Temple near Kude Budruk village.
Temples in Narayangaon
Another 30 to 40 Km from Rajgurunagar will take you to Narayangaon. Mostly known to travelers for its scenic natural beauty, this town is also steeped in religious history. Some of the most popular places of worship, which you can visit on your trip –
Ram Mandir – A historic temple, the Ram Mandir of Narayangaon was built by the Peshwa rulers as a gift to the Brahmins of the society. The temple celebrates Ram Navami every year, with grand rituals and hundreds of devotees from all neighboring towns and villages.
Muktabai Temple – Goddess Muktabai or Muktaai is the reigning deity of Narayangaon and this temple sitting on the banks of the Meena River, is dedicated to her. The temple is famous for the yatra of Muktai Utsav, an annual religious festival held during Ekadashi. During the yatra, the deity is carried around and her divinity is celebrated with great devotion and zeal through prayers, rituals, and music, and is one of its kind in entire Maharashtra.
Vighneshwar Temple – Also called the Vignahar Ganapati Temple, this famous religious site is located in Ozar, 17 Km from the main town of Narayangaon. It represents one of the Ashtavinayaka, or eight significant shrines of Ganesha. Besides being a revered and a popular pilgrimage site, the Vigneshwar Temple is also an architectural marvel. The colorful façade boasts murals and sculpture work. The entrance is flanked by huge statues of two gatekeepers on either side. The massive temple premise houses multiple shrines, a courtyard for religious festivals, and prayer halls.
Apart from these, you can also take a detour towards the west of the highway and explore the temples in the interiors of Narayangaon, like the Shambhu Mahadev Temple, Khandoba Temple, Temple of Kapardikeshwar in Otur, or the Girijamata Temple in Lenyadri.
Temples of Sangamner
Another 70 to 80 Km from Narayangaon, as you take the Sangamner- Kopargaon Road, you will reach Sangamner. The Shani Dev Temple is the most popular shrine of this town. To make the most of your journey, book a reliable taxi in Pune.
You can also visit the Devgad Khandoba Mandir, which sits on a small hill. There are local folklore and legends associated with the temple, making it a historic site of the town. It is dedicated to a patron saint who is the resident deity of the local community. Every year a grand fair is held on the temple premise to celebrate the saint and his miracles.
Along with these old and famous temples along your way, the road from Pune to Shirdi is also visually delightful. The interior countryside of Maharashtra with red dirt roads and hilly terrain, do make for a great view on the drive. And if you are traveling in monsoon, you would be in for a more delightful visual treat with ample greenery and the fresh smell of the rain, which is divine in its own way. Book Savaari’s air-conditioned Pune to Shirdi cab and make your pilgrimage a fulfilling one!