India

Pune – Tukai Mata Mandir

ksp_0491

Situated on Baner Hill, 2,224m above sea level in west Pune, stands the Tukai Mata Mandir. Established around 400 years ago but since rebuilt, the temple still dominates a skyline that is increasingly under threat from the constant construction work that is happening in this part of Pune.

ksp_0485

ksp_0495

The history of Baner dates back to the 17th century, when the Kalamkar family of the Mali caste inherited Baner, becoming the rulers of district. Kavaji Kalamkar built a temple for the goddess “Tukai Mata” on a hillock near Baner, which is now known as Baner Hill, and is part of the Baner-Pashan Biodiversity Park.

The park is a great place to escape the city life down below, and the plantation seems to have been enthusiastically adopted by many volunteers. During my month stay in Baner in early 2016 this was a place I repeatedly returned to on many evenings, and I was certainly not alone in this routine. This has to be one of the best locations to witness Pune at night.

ksp_6128

ksp_6839

ksp_6163

Many of the neighbourhood’s residents would scale the hundreds of steps up to the Mandir every evening to visit the temple and to watch the sun set beyond west Pune. Some would be content to stay at the temple, others would trek further along the ridge of the hill which is known as the Baner-Pashan Hill Trail.

ksp_6087

ksp_6092

ksp_6113

A little further beyond the Mandir stands a small temple/shrine painted an orangy-red. This place, the name of which I don’t know, holds quite a lot of significance for me. During my times working at Symantec/Veritas along the Baner road I would see this small structure perched on top of the hill and I vowed one day to visit it. More than ten years would pass before I finally achieved that wish, and I know it won’t the last time I make the effort to visit this place.

ksp_6099

ksp_6103

ksp_6106

ksp_6096

ksp_6111

ksp_6095

View to the Veritas/Symantec building, where I used to work

The Mandir attendant was extremely friendly and was happy for me to explore the interior of the temple for a small donation.

ksp_6166

ksp_6167

ksp_6168

ksp_6173

ksp_6175

For those interested in visiting the Mandir and perhaps do a little trekking in the area, there are five routes available up to Baner Hill:

  • Route 1 – From Baner
  • Route 2 – From Pashan-Baner Link Road
  • Route 3 – From NH4 Bypass (Via Pashan Hill)
  • Route 4 – From Lokseva School
  • Route 5 – From Baner

Late afternoon is by far the best time to explore, avoiding the fierce heat of the day and to conclude with some impressive nighttime scenes across the city.

ksp_6115

ksp_6139

ksp_6164

If your visit to the Mandir is via the flight of steps shown in this last photo, be sure to also stop by the Baneshwar Cave Temple which is near the bottom on the left as you descend. This hidden gem of a place is one of the oldest remaining sites in Pune, but does not seem to be widely known about !

 


 

You’re welcome to ‘Like’ or add a comment if you enjoyed this blog post. If you’d like to be notified of any new content, why not sign up by clicking the ‘Follow’ button.

If you’re interested in using any of my photography or articles please get in touch. I’m also available for any freelance work worldwide, my duffel bag is always packed ready to go…

KevinStandage1@googlemail.com

Advertisements

1 reply »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s