Friday, 24 October 2014

Kaas Plateau - Maharashtra's Valley Of Flowers_October 10, 2014

Long awaited trip was finally achieved; the season was not good this year... somehow, quantity of flowers blossomed was much much lesser. Nevertheless, we got a lot information about these wild beauties; thanks to the local guide that we took help of - Mr. Vilas Adale

We had planned to visit this place on a week-day. This was to avoid the "mad" rush that takes place during week-ends & holidays. Last time we had gone to Bamnoli which is about 10-15 kms ahead of Kaas. We had experienced this rush & traffic then.

We started off from Pune at 6.15 am. Took Sinhagad Road & connected to the Mumbai-Bangalore outer ring road (NH-4). After a brief breakfast pit-stop at Hotel Aashirwad (just before Surur Phata - to Wai, Mahabaleshwar), we reached Kaas by 9.30 am. Normally, for a trip on week-ends & holidays, it is better to do the online booking here. For other days, it is not required. Charges are Rs. 10 per adult & Rs. 40 for car parking. No fee for children.

There were about 7-8 vehicle only. We were able to wander freely and peacefully. We met a local from a nearby village, who offered to took us around and show us the flowers with there names & specialty.

We normally take help of such guides and locals whenever we visit different places. This helps us not only to see, but also to understand (differences, uniqueness, history, etc) the places better. They also show us the places, locations which we would have missed had we gone all alone.

Because of Vilas, we came to know many things about the flowers in the region. There are about 350 odd varieties of plants in the region. Each flower has a specific time of blooming ranging from time, months and even years. If the season is at its peak, one can see a carpet of flowers spread in the area. It is said that if you visit after a gap of weeks during Sep-Oct, you can see the different colors of flowers laid across the region.

Most of these flowers blossom in September-October months. There is one flower which blooms once in 7-8 years. Some flowers bloom in the morning while others late in the day.

Common Name: तेरडा
most commonly found flower
Smithia Hirsuta
Common Name: कावळा / Micky Mouse
most commonly found flower in the wilds
Pleocaulus Ritchiei
Common Name: कारवी टोपली
Blossoms after every 7-8 years
Common Name: मोठी सोनकी
Cyanotis Tuberosa
Common Name: आभाळी
Blossoms in the morning, flower wither late in the day
and it is so tightly closed, that it is impossible to open the covering
Common Name: निसुर्डी
Blooms in shade, below large shady trees
Pogostemon Deccanensis
Common Name: जांभळी मंजिरी
found near marsh land, muddy area by the water body

Dipcadi Montanum
Common Name: दीप-काडी (Tooth-Brush)
Murdannia Lanuginosa
Common Name: अबोलीमा
Blooms late in the morning, after 10 / 10.30 am
Other flowers which we saw (photos were not clicked) are Bhuichar, Neelam, Seetechi Aaswa, Raan-halad, Sonki

Following this heritage visit (the region is declared as a World Heritage Site, by the way), we moved ahead. 3 kms ahead is the Kaas Lake. It was constructed 100 years ago by the British as a water source for Satara City. While ascending a small ghat, the water body looks awesome.
Kaas Lake - A Panorama
While coming to Kaas, just before check-post, there is a left exit (board is available) for Goddess Ghataai Temple (घाटाई देवी मंदिर) and a Devrai (देवराई). About 4 kms from here is a temple situated within dense trees. The temple is being renovated at present.
Ghataai Devi Temple
Devrai is the place around a temple where the villagers and locals do not cut the trees, its fruits and flowers. The trees and thus the forest grows for years (even centuries) completely untouched. It is said that the God lives here, hence these should not be cut (defaced). This was the way of our ancestors to maintain the ecological balance in the nature.

Odometer readings:
Narayan Peth (Pune):            0 kms
Kaas Plateau Check Post:   139 kms
Kaas Lake:                       142 kms
Ghatai Devi Temple:          149 kms
Narayan Peth:                   290 kms

Monday, 31 March 2014

Gibraltar of the East, Fort Raigad_March 22-23, 2014

I had been to Raigad (किल्ले रायगड) about 20 or more years back. It was without the luxury of a Ropeway (that means climbing about 1500 steps to the top). Therefore, conquering Raigad once again was one of our long pending expeditions.

We started-off from Pune in the morning. We took the better conditioned Tamhini Ghat route. Varandha Ghat route is very bad. And, moreover distance from both the routes is same.

We had our breakfast at a newly opened Kamat Hotel. It is actually a bungalow converted into a hotel about 6 kms ahead of Paud; very small compared to those extravagant Kamat Hotels on other highways.

The route (Pune-Pirangut-Paud-Mulshi-Tamhini Ghat) is pretty straight and busy till Nizampur village after Tamhini Ghat. Road is pretty good, except a pathetic patch of 2-3 kms in Tamhini Ghat.

At Nizampur (निझामपुर), there is a left turn for Raigad (signboard is available). Raigad from here is about 30 kms. Road condition is bad, but this route saves about 50 kms if one goes via Mahaad. The route is deserted. Better to avoid it during late evenings / nights; no problems during the day though. We had our share of problem on this route; we had a flat tyre.

We reached the Raigad Ropeway office at the base at about 1.30 pm. Raigad Ropeway has a canteen & Rooms at the base as well as on top. However, AC Rooms are available only at the base. All information is available online. Room booking can be done in advance; however, Ropeway tickets are to be availed on the spot. MTDC also has non-AC rooms on top. We had booked a room on top through Raigad Ropeway.

After lunch we headed for the Rope-way. At the base a 22 minute film on Raigad is shown. Also, there is a museum displaying historical items of Shivaji’s era. However, there should be atleast 30 people. Unfortunately, we were only 3 of us.

We directly boarded the Trolley. It takes about 4 minutes to reach the top. The view is mesmerizing. Within seconds the village below starts appearing miniscule & in minutes it’s time to disembark. Better not to waste time in photographing. Just enjoy the show. But I did click a few photos & a video!!!

Next to the Ropeway Station are the Rooms & a Cafeteria of Raigad Ropeway. Just a caveat. Rooms are really, really basic. Those who feel they are the persnickety kinds; this is not the place for you. Those who are interested only in the Fort & its History, can go ahead.

Climbing about 25-30 steps towards the fort, are the MTDC Rooms.
In the evening, after a cup of tea, we started for a walk-around the fort. Guides are available. We took one. He charged us about 300 Rs. for 90 mins tour (actually, he completed within an hour). There is an entry fee of Rs. 5 per head by ASI (Archeological Survey of India).
Statue of Shiv-rai near Market Place -
installed sometime in 1970s
Shivaji (शिवाजी) took the fort called Rairi (रायरी) after defeating Chandrarao More (चंद्रराव मोरे) of Jawali (जावळी). Earlier he had requested Mores to help the Swarajya (स्वराज्य) by providing the fort. Chandrarao had denied. This was the year 1656. Fort Rajgad (किल्ले राजगड) was the capital of Marathas at that time. Rajgad was extremely difficult (for common public to visit their King) & it had very less space available on top. As the governance of Swarajya started rising, Rajgad started falling short of facilities & space. Therefore, even though Rajgad was the most favorite Fort of Shivaji, for strategic reasons, he decided to shift his Capital on Raigad in the year 1662; which he finally did in 1670. It took 14 years till 1670 to complete all the construction work that we see currently on the fort.

The total area above the fort is 1200 acres. There are about 300 buildings, 11 large lakes & 44 tanks. Architect of the fort was Hiroji Indulkar (हिरोजी इंदुलकर). It is said that during the construction when there was shortage of funds, he sold-off his own land & completed the construction. Whole construction was made of Stones extracted from the fort itself & cemented by mixture of Limestone, Jaggary & Lead. The reason, these remains still stand tall battling the environment since last 350 years. There is one Stone Plaque on the fort bearing a guarantee by Hiroji in Modi Script. It states that till the time Sun & Moon keep on shining in sky, this fort shall stand tall.

Coronation (Rajyabhishek) of Shivaji Maharaj (शिवराज्याभिषेक) took place on Raigad on June 6, 1674; he came to be known as Chhatrapati & formed his Saarvabhaum Saamrajya (सार्वभौम साम्राज्य - Sovereign State). He even started his own Shiva-Shaka (शिव-शक). He was only King who did so in 1000 years of Indian History after Shalivahana (discontinued later by Nana Phadanvis in 1777).

Shivaji died here on April 3, 1680. His stay on Raigad was of mere 10 years. His elder son Sambhaji Maharaj conducted his Last Rites on June 18, 1680 after his return from Mughals. One of the 8 wives of Shivaji, Putalabai Saheb, went Sati on June 27, 1680. Sambhaji constructed a Samadhi which we can see today on Raigad.

9 years after his death, Raigad went into the hand of Mughals on November 3, 1689 and then to Siddis in 1707. After 43 years, on June 5, 1733 Fateh Singh Bhosale (an aide of Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj) got back the fort into Marathas. Peshawas started controlling it from 1773 onwards. On April 25, 1818, during the last Anglo-Maratha War, British laid a seige to Raigad. When they were unable to conquer it easily, they mounted their Cannons on a nearby hillock by the name Kalkai (कालकाई चा डोंगर). During this attack one of the Cannon shot fell on Ammunition Store. Raigad burnt for about 11 days. Finally, Marathas on the Fort, surrendered on May 10, 1818 & Raigad fell into the hands of British.

After 1818, British looted whatever valuables remained on Raigad (the Gold Throne of Shivaji Maharaj was already melted & stolen by a Mughal Sardar of Aurangzeb earlier). They handed over the Fort to their Forest Department & it remained neglected. The Capital of Hindavi Swarajya & Samadhi of its Founder was soon forgotten by people. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (महात्मा ज्योतिबा फुले) searched out this Samadhi in 1869.

After evening tea, we started to explore taking a Guide with us. The Ropeway is actually at the backside of the Fort. On the opposite side are the 1500 steps & the Maha-Darwaza (महादरवाजा). We entered through Mena-Darwaza (मेणा-दरवाजा), the door used by the Queens to enter / exit the Palace in a Mena (Palanquins). Immediately on left are the 6 doors. These are the 6 Palaces of the 6 Queens of Shivaji. Other 2 Queens – Saibai (सईबाई) used to live in Rajgad while Putalabai (पुतळाबाई) lived at the base village, Pachaad (पाचाड), with Jijabai (जिजाबाई) Saheb, mother of Shivaji. All 6 Queen's Room are exactly similar with a separate personal room & a meeting room for guests. A drainage system of those days is till today seen in some of these rooms.
Inside of one of 6 Queen Palaces
The Drainage System
On the right are the remains of the Mantralaya (मंत्रालय) building, The Ashtapradhan Niwas (अष्टप्रधान निवास - Minister's Quarters).
Remains of Mantralaya Building
Mantralaya Building -
Fort Rajgad (left) & Fort Torna (right) at the back
Straight ahead is the Palkhi Darwaza (पालखी दरवाजा) ascending the steps we can reach the Ganga-Sagar Lake (गंगासगर तलाव). Towards Right is the way towards Main Palace of Shivaji Maharaj. One can feel the grandeur of this area and the magnificence of this Palace that would have been in those days. In those days the structure was supported using high quality Sagwaan Wood Pillars.
Royal Palace Campus - Remains
Behind the Palace is the Raj-durbar, the Royal Court (राजदरबार). On the farther side a tall gate-like structure is seen which is the Nagaar-khana (नगारखाना); while just behind the Palace walls is the Place from where Chatrapati ruled Swarajya. A Meghdambari with Shivaji's statue has been kept on the place where Shiv-rajyabhishek took place. This was the place where there used to be his Gold Throne (Sinhasan).
Meghdambari with a Statue- Made of Panchdhatu;
Statue was installed sometime around 2007
Apart from the splendor of this Raj-durbar, there is one architectural wonder. The distance between Shivaji's Throne & Nagaar-khana is good 80 meters. Still even if you whisper from the Throne, voice is clearly heard at the base of Nagaar-khana (& vice-a-versa). This phenomenon can be witnessed even today. We have tried it.

Shivaji Maharaj was extremely fascinated by this system as well as overall construction of the Fort. He told Hiroji Indulkar to ask for anything in reward & that shall be provided. Hiroji, instead (the simple man that he was), asked for just one small demand. He said to create a Stone Plaque in his name stating - "सेवेची ठायी तत्पर, हिरोजी इंदुलकर" (Always at the King's Service). That plaque is seen in the Jagadishwar Temple complex on the Fort.

Crossing the Nagaar-khana there is a well-laid route towards Bazaar-Peth, the Market Place (बाजार पेठ). On your right you can see the Jagadishwar Temple (जगदीश्‍वर मंदिर - the Lord of the Fort).
Jagadishwar Temple
The temple is constructed in Islamic Style, looking at the Minaars & Central Dome. This was to save it from destruction in case the Fort falls into the hands of Mughals or other Islamic Rulers.
Market Place was the main trading area of the Fort. There are about 22 compartments (shops) seen. These are properly divided as the front shop area & the living quarters at the back. The height of each shop is such that the Sardars won't need to get down of their horses. They could shop sitting on their horse-backs.
The 7th left shop bears a symbol of a Snake, which is nowhere seen on other 21 shops. It is said to represent one of the big trader & head of the Market of that time, Nagappa Shetty.

It is this place where the Guides end their tour. From here we can cross the Bazaar-Peth and towards Right is the Jagdishwar Temple while to the Left is the Takmak Tok (टकमक टोक).
Takmak Tok is the place from where it is said that the death penalty was executed. The convict was tied inside a sack & then thrown off the cliff. It is till today a very difficult area on the Fort. And the strong winds make walking to it even more difficult. There are safety railings though.
There is one more story related to Tamak Tok. I am not sure how true it is. There was one person who used to hold an umbrella over Shivaji's head whenever Shivaji used to go on a tour of Raigad. While on Takmak Tok, due to strong winds, that guy got lifted upwards due to umbrella & he fell in the valley. But he kept his patience & didn't leave the umbrella & safely parachuted in the village below (Nizampur). Shivaji was extremely happy with his presence of mind & therefore, he named that village as Chatri-Nizampur.

We stopped our Raigad tour here as well since we had a small kid with us & walking towards Temple & Takmak Tok is really tiresome (for children & aged).

Next day morning, we again decided to spend some more time till the Ropeway starts at 8 am.

We walked down the Palkhi Darwaza this time. The Ganga-Sagar Lake & the 3 Watch Towers can be seen from here.

About 50 families still live on Raigad. Drinking water is used from this lake even today.
Palkhi-Darwaza - Takmak Tok at the back
One of the Watch Towers
Ganga-Sagar Lake
Panorama - 3 Watch Towers & a Strategy Discussion Room -
As seen from the King's Palace
After breakfast, we took our descend through the Ropeway. Within 10 minutes we were driving back. On the way, took a halt at the Jijamata Samadhi in Pachaad vilage (base village of Raigad).

The statue is so intricately carved -
just see the design on her Paithani Saree
We came to know that there is one exhibition of 20 miniature Forts of Shivaji, prepared by a localite. We went to see that, but it was closed at 10 am in the morning (?).
We took the Mahaad route this time. We were planning to see couple of places, the Buddhist Caves of Pale (पाले) & Hot Water Springs of Sav (सव). However, by the time we reached these places, it was 11 and the March Summer Sun was bursting extremely hot. Hence we cancelled the idea & decided to return to Pune.

After a lunch break at Quick Bite in Tamhini Ghat, we reached Pune at 4 pm.

Odo Readings:
0                     Narayan Peth
8                     Chandani Chowk
21                   Pirangut
29                   Paud
35                   Kamat Hotel
91                   Tamhini Ghat ends
105                 Nizampur
137                 Raigad base (Ropeway Parking)
159                 Mahaad
177                 Sav (Hot Water Springs)
200                 Maangao
210                 Nizampur
256                 Tamhini Village
316                 Narayan Peth

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bhuleshwar: A Broken Beauty_March 16, 2014

It is hard to believe that a treasure of beautiful sculptures can be found at a distance of just about 50 kms from Pune. We decided to explore this place – for me, once again.

We started from Pune at about 8 am. We took the Pune-Solapur Highway (NH-9) via Swargate. After an awesome breakfast of Misal-Paav at Kaanchan (a Hotel just before the Bhuleshwar exit), we reached the temple. The temple is located about 10 kms off the Highway on a small hillock. This hillock is actually the Fort by the name Daulatmangal (formerly known as Mangalgad). Remnants of fort walls & bastions can be seen. The road up the fort is beautiful with excellent twists & turns. We went in hot summers; however, driving here in rains would be an experience to cherish.

The temple can be easily seen from a distance, with a telecommunication tower just behind it destroying the beauty of the place.

Reaching near the temple, a striking difference is seen as compared to other temples. Half the structure is made from Black Stone in a distinct Hemadpanthi Style while top portion, Shikhara, is of yellowish white coloured stone (seemed to be Standstone). More noticing is that the Shikhara is dome-shaped constructed in Islamic Style.

It is said that the temple was attacked by the then Mughal Rulers & destroyed. The Shikhara was completely destroyed. This was later reconstructed by the then Maratha Rulers. The workers were mostly Muslims and hence the Islamic Style is seen. The extent of this destruction can be felt once you are inside. The entrance is hidden. It has steps on both sides to reach the top; the passage is narrow & dark. It is said to be constructed after the invasion to prevent any more.

A large Nandi meets your eye as you climb these steps. Sanctum Sanctorum with Shiva Linga inside is seen ahead of the Nandi. The Sanctorum is at the centre surrounded by the open-to-sky pathway around 3 sides; further surrounded by the pillared corridor. The entire area of the temple is a treat to watch. Intricately carved sculptures of Gods, Goddesses, Apsaras, Yakshas, Nymphs & Celestial Beings are present. These are carved around the Sactorum outer walls from bottom to top. The “differently colored & styled” Shikhara can be seen from here. There are sculptures over the top side of the corridor as well as on pillars.
Sandstone construction over Black Stone
Pillared Corridor surrounding the Sanctum Sanctorum
This Beauty is posing here since eternity

But the sad part is each statue bears the mark of hammers of its invaders; each sculpture is destroyed. The sculptures even in their destroyed form look beautiful. So one can imagine how it would have been looking centuries ago.
Sculptures adoring the walls of Sanctum Sanctorum

There are murals depicting stories from our epics like Ramayana & Mahabharata. I could identify the scene of Bharat-Bhet from Ramayana. One area on the top displays Lord Ganesh in Feminine form (Vinayaki Pratima). It can be easily identified because of its Trunk & a Mouse as carrier.
Mural depicting Bharat-Bhet from Ramayana
Vinayaki - Ganesha in Feminine form
I saw one dark room at the side. Actually nothing was visible inside. I just clicked a photo using a flash and this is what I could see. The sculpture has striking resemblance to Lord Vishnu resting on a Shesh-Naaga. Lord Vishnu’s form is not clear though.

While returning we decided to visit Theur. More info about this Ashtavinaya can be sought here, our previous trip.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Mecca Of Trekkers - Kokan-kada @ Harishchandragad_December 28-29, 2013

There are very few places on this Planet that one must visit at least once in a lifetime - the place to be visited before you die.

Harishchandragad is one such place, not more than 150 kms from Pune. And it is because of its magnanimous Kokan Kada. It is aptly said to be भटक्यांची पंढरी in Marathi (means the Mecca of Wanderers / Trekkers).

Like thousands of Nomads in Maharashtra, visiting Harishchandragad had been in my mind every since my early college days when I had heard about its Kokan-kada from my friends then.

We started from Pune at 5.00 am. Taking other friends along we stopped for a breakfast at Narayangaon (on Pune-Nashik Highway - NH-50). At Narayanpur we took left towards Junnar and then to Khireshwar (off Khubi Phata). Last 4 kms along the Pimpalgaon Joga Dam is pathetic. The complete endurance testing of the vehicle suspension.

We reached Khireshwar, base village for Harishchandragad. We parked our vehicles there at a local hotel. Had some tea and started off our trek at 10.30 am.

It is a long trek. Takes about 5-6 hours to reach the top. It is not difficult, but definitely exhaustive. There is a small rock-patch, which is a slightly difficult portion. However, the whole trek-experience is just awesome. Passing over the large boulders, within a thick cover of green forest, difficult rock patches, etc was a bliss.

Route is like this (also explained the photo above) - Khireshwar to Tolar Khind. At Tolar Khind, another route from Kotul (Ahmednagar district) connects. This can be identified by stone sculpture of a tiger (व्याघ्रशिल्प). From here is the famous Rock Patch of Harishchandragad. After the Rock Patch, the route is quiet simple only without the tree cover. So far the route was through the dense trees.
There is another simpler route - from Paachnai. It takes only 2 hours to reach the temple complex (as against 5 hours from Khireshwar). However, Paachnai is about 50 kms more than Khireshwar, if coming from Pune. And secondly, the fun of an exhaustive trek can be experienced only from Khireshwar route.

2-3 more routes are there shown in map above. But these are extremely difficult. Not many are aware of these. Better to take a knowing person along these.

Being an exhaustive trek, the best way to reach here is winter season. Keep adequate amount of water. Since this has to be an overnight trek, some ready to cook food (like Maggi, Rice), utensils. Not to forget bedding as well.

We reached the Temple Complex at the top by 3.30 pm; after a rocking 5 hours. The Harishchandreshwar Temple is at the centre which comes to sight as we near the site. It is surrounded by few small temples, a big water body (a pond) and many caves. These caves are used for staying at night by the visitors here. 
Harishchandreshwar Temple
Being a week-end, we found many temporary shacks by the nearby villagers. They come here on holidays and sell food for the visitors. Even tents and bedding are provided on rent. It is becoming a commercial attraction. No need to carry heavy trekking bags filled with bedding, food & utensils as we did. Everything is available.

We located a cave at the far end. Because of week-end, there was heavy rush and most of the caves were occupied. We were lucky to have one available; & that was awesome, with a water tank just next to it and a place in front to set-up our Chool (चूल) for cooking.
Caves on the top
After having some food, which we had carried along - Sandwitches, Bananas, Biscuits, etc, we started for Konkan-kada.
Temple Complex - view from top (enroute Kokan-kada)
I was just waiting to see the place which I'd longed for so long. Same was the feeling in everybody else in our group except 3-4 guys who had been here earlier. We reached there in half an hour from Temple Complex.

Kokan-kada is the place which has fascinated many trekkers for so many years. It faces the West & hence Sun-set is enduring here. So it has to be visited in the evenings to see the God going down. Only luck should be favoring and the clouds / fog can be spoil-sport.

When we visited, there was thick covering of clouds. We missed the sun-set. However, still this couldn't snatch away the beauty of the place.

The view from here is ... ... ... actually there are no words, no adjective can give justice to the beauty of this place, no noun can explain its awesomeness. I did click few photos, but even no photo could capture this place in completeness. 

Kokan-kada is actually a "C" Shaped cliff and not just vertical, but also an overhang. Just like a hood of a Cobra. It is so high, the one cannot overlook down it, standing. One has to sleep-over and then lean; even that is frightening.

Some photos are below, however a caveat: these photos are nothing compared to the actual:

Rohidas Peak at the back - Kokan-kada

Cobra hood (overhang) is clearly seen here -
taken by leaning over the cliff, my heart was pumping while
doing this ... ;-)
I was / am still mesmerised by the view. A feeling was coming to just stay here till eternity. One can find many people like me in Maharashtra who have came back with this feeling.
Just hear the sound of heavy wind in the above video

From here we turned back for our night abode. We had an awesome dinner prepared over a Chool (चूल) by burning the wood-sticks & twigs which we had collected during our return journey.

Night was chilly, however the cave where we were placed was covered, had sufficient place for 10 people & hence warmed-up. The flooring was, however, uneven. Not to forget, we had unexpected visitors - two large fully grown mice were in our cave while we were away at Kokan-kada. We had to frighten them out. And then during preparing our dinner, we had a snake, a small one. It slipped away in the woods.

After "peaceful" sleep, Kokan-kada was still calling us. We again headed there for one last visit before we leave. Filled it up in our eyes, mind, heart & soul and with actually a heavy heart, returned.

Before leaving the fort, we visited the Harishchandreshwar Temple. This is the main temple of the Fort.

Temple is built in Black Stone many centuries ago. It is said that Saint Changdev used to meditate in the caves here during 14th century. There is one stone inscription about Saint Changdev at the entrance of the temple.

Temple is surrounded by many caves & water cisterns. Trekkers use these spots for overnight stay.

On left side wall of the temple after you enter, there is the famous Ganesh idol. The orange colored idol with the back ground & surroundings of Black Stone looks beautiful. This photo is very famous on the internet.

River Mangal Ganga originates from one of the tanks near this temple. Little ahead of Harishchandreshwar temple by the side of this river is another interesting spot. Again, very famous photo on internet representing Harishchandragad - Kedareshwar Cave & Shiv-Linga. This is a huge cave with a huge Shiv-Linga at the centre surrounded by waist-deep water. Water is ice-cold. Really chilly.
Four pillars are built around Shiv-Linga. Legend says that 4 pillars represent each Yuga (Satyug, Tretayug, Dwaparyug & Kaliyug). When a pillar is destroyed, the Yuga ends. Kaliyug is the current phase. The day 4th pillar breaks down, it will be the last day of this era (world will come to an end).
Kedareshwar Cave & Shiv-Linga
We started our return journey. Took the same route back. We reached Khireshwar at 4.30 pm. Since the ladies were still to come, we decided to visit Nageshwar temple which about a km from the village.

It holds a beautiful sculpture of Lord Vishnu in sleeping posture... Shesh-shayee.
Shesh-shayee Vishnu
After stomach full of home made Pithala-Bhakari in the village, we started off our return journey at 6.00 pm. Reached home by 10.00 pm.