Travelogue: Visiting Aurangabad
I was searching for a good place for a short weekend trip and found this reference to Hadshi temple. The pictures looked good and my mind was made up to visit this place on the weekend. With my birthday on 1st December, family had no objection to visiting a temple. In fact they were more than happy.
The place is about 45 km from my home, which is close to Hinjewadi. I took the Pune by pass till Chandni Chowk and then got onto the road going to Paud/Mulshi/Lavasa. The road till Paud bus stop is good. You will cross over many resorts on the way, will cross the Pirungut ghat, and continue straight past Pirungut on the way to Paud. Cross the Paud ghat as well and reach Paud ST bus stand on your right. Immediately after this take the right turn and drive about 15 km, crossing Girivan on the way, to reach the Arch on your left for the Pandurang temple. The arch is on bang on a right turn and very noticeable. You would need to be sleeping to miss it. Another landmark on the way that you can also find on google maps is Chinmaya Vibhooti.
Surprisingly there are only 1-2 signs on the road pointing to this temple. As Rajaram has also pointed out, this is not a very well-known spot and hence not too many people visit this place. The road from Paud to Hadshi is not good, is single lane and full of pot holes. Since there is less traffic, you need to mostly only avoid the pot holes and not worry about oncoming vehicles. As we approached the temple on this broken road, we were getting worried if we made the right choice. There is nothing visible of the temple from the road and as we drove into the Arch, I had my fingers crossed that the trip will be worth it.
After the arch, there is a short drive up the hill and you hit the parking lot of the temple. You get to the first temple which is next to the parking and as you cross it and go behind, the beauty of the place hits you. The temple is right in the middle of mountains and has huge very well maintained grounds on both sides. Kids will just love running around the place. There is ample sitting place and the main temple itself is beautiful. There is even a lift available to in case you have someone with you who is on wheel chair or cannot climb so many stairs. With hardly any crowd, there is no noise around and you could easily sit and meditate in the temple.
Arti happen early in the morning around 6.00 am and then in the evening around 5.30 pm. If you come in the evening, you would also get to see numerous fountains working. There is a canteen that serves freshly cooked poha, sabudana khichadi etc. and there is a bhojanalaya that serves meal. The food is spicy and you may want to be prepared for it. Quality is decent. We had minor issues in the vegetable being over as there was more than expected crowd for lunch that day. But they had an alternative available quickly. Nice friendly people and serve with a smile.