Thursday, 24 December 2015

Tuljapur & Revelations

The Start

Tuljapur was a day trip that I did as a part of my larger Solapur Trip in Dec 2015. Post breakfast on a Saturday morning, amid the bustle of the city, I made my way to the central bus stand. There's a bus for Tuljapur every 15 minutes. Most of these buses are Latur bound, with Tuljapur as a major stop in between.

Tuljapur on the map

I got in to the first bus, but had to get down since it was already packed and there was no place to sit. The one that followed had a spare bench near the back where I took a seat. The 45 km journey lasted for about an hour, and cost me Rs 50. I slept most of the way, and woke up just as the bus laboured on the incline that leads to Tuljapur.

The temple is at a distance of about 5 minutes walk from the bus stand. The way to the temple is crowded as in a typical temple town in India. At the gate was a notice which said that bags and mobiles were not allowed. The guy at the cloak room though said otherwise and I got to take my day-pack and my phone in the temple. But photography was strictly prohibited.

The entrance to the Temple Complex

A Stranger In My Own Land? 

I walked into the Tulja Bhawani Temple at Tuljapur, ducking the offers by various poojaries of a direct darshan, direct pooja and what not. Too perturbed to ask anyone for directions, I made my way to the first line that I saw just to stop the barrage of prompts. The line was for the Gomukh - a stream of water flowing from the mouth of a stone cow. I just imitated what the others in line did before me - wash the hands, feet and mouth. I did not, however, drink it as teerth.

From there I moved in to the actual temple complex. The complex consists of the main temple made out of stone. It is surrounded by a wada that houses minor temples of other deities. There is a temple of Ganpati at the entrance to this temple complex. There were quite a few devotees in the wada as I walked in, oblivious to the offers directed at me. Various poojas were being offered at various places.

I asked around and made my way to the darshan line. There are two types of darshans - dharma darshan and mukha darshan. Dharma darshan takes you inside the sanctum of the temple and obviously is the most sought after. The mukha (face) darshan will make sure you get a sight of the goddess, however from outside the sanctum. I was hard pressed for time and hence chose the mukha darshan - took me about 10 minutes. The dharma darshan would have taken at least 2 hours on that day.

After the darshan of the main goddess, I did the pradakshina (circumambulation) of the main temple, and with that saw the other smaller temples as well. While exiting from the temple, one has to take darshan in the temple of Aadimaaya Aadishakti. There's a practice of applying haldi-kumkum on the forehead with three main fingers, which I did not indulge in.

The exit from the temple takes one through the old market lane. Again, I did not bother to stop and look at the wares. Also, turned a blind eye to the number of women (jogtinis?) asking a daan for their jogwa of the devi.

All this - the temple, the market, the entire place - was abuzz with the chant of "Tulja Bhawani cha Ude-Ude".

A funny incident happened while I was in the Gomukh line. A local man - probably in early 60s - was in the line ahead of me. For a moment he turned around and asked me: "I've kept my thaili (carrybag) at the entrance. Will it be safe?". With some remote aspect of faith in the divine entity and with a motive of not hurting the man at that moment, I replied: "Yes, probably".

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What Do I Seek?

An existential question? Yes, probably.

The Tujla Bhawani temple's wada has a curious artifact. There's this stone - perfectly spherical in shape. You pace your both hands on this stone and make a wish. If the stone turns right, it means your wish is granted. There was a smallish queue of people trying waiting to try their fortune with the stone.

I took a deep breath. There were a number of things I could've checked out, but spending a moment there made me question what I wanted. Were the things that I desired to know at that moment - also, at this moment in life - really worth it? Was is justified to question a divine entity on a question which even if answered would not matter to anyone in the world, but me? I walked away amid exclamations of "Firla! Firla!!" (it turned!)

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Inspirational - Captured at Tuljapur, somewhere on the street

Significance: Wikipedia does it better than me.

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Getting Out:

After Tuljapur, I made my way down to the medieval fort of Naldurg.

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Other Places Nearby

Solapur || Hattarsang-Kudal

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© One Of The Road

2 comments:

  1. Loved your narration and your attitude!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you MagicEye ... everything is a reflection of the place I'm at ... :)

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