Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra is a great preferred tourist destination amongst travelers across the globe. City’s scenic beauty, architectural feats, rich cultural heritage and legacy makes traveling in and around Pune a fun activity. There are ample tourist places around the city which are popular weekend getaways from Pune that provide enough opportunity to head out for a one day trip along with family and friends. If you are a natures lover and looking for a Pune weekend retreat in the laps of nature then Neelkantheshwar is your place.
Situated along 50 km away from the Pune city, Neelkantheshwar is a famous tourist attraction for tourists visiting the city. you need to go by Sinhagad Road towards Panshet, then right in front of the Vitthalwadi bus stop you will find the big heel of Neelkantheshwar. On the top of the hill resides a beautiful Neelkantheshwar temple after which the hill got its name.
How to reach
Go to Panshet by Pune-Khadakwasla-Donje Phata-Khanapur-Panshet. Panshet is having two dams- Panshet dam and Varasgaon dam. You need to follow the road to Varasgaon dam. On this way, a small road leads to Neelkantheshwar. There is a board at this point. This road is in little bad condition. It goes straight at the base of Neelkantheshwar. Regular buses are also available from the city.
Neelkantheshwar: About the place
Neelkantheshwar is the name of Lord Shiva. “Neel” means ‘blue’ and “Kanth” means throat. The name had its origin from the Hindu scripture called “Shiva Puran”. It’s a very pleasant and scenic drive to this nature’s wonder Neelkantheshwar. Lush green surrounds the place. The road to Neelkantheshwar is also less crowded and in good condition therefore favorable for driving. The temple of Lord Shiva is really architectural wonder built by vSarjemama who was a forest ranger and a social worker. He found a Shiva Linga in this area and later built the temple of Neelkantheshwar. The temple is a storehouse of the devotees of Lord Shiva. The walls of the temple are decorated with many other Hindu Gods. The Shiva Linga is beautifully decorated with flowers and leaves. Paper cuttings with information of the temple are hung on the wall. The main attraction of the temple is the beautifully crafted cement sculptures everywhere. On the top of the hill lies a beautiful arch with two sculptures of elephant on each side. As you move inside you will find hundreds of exquisite sculptures depicting various scenes from the great Indian epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. As you climb up few steps towards the temple you will find a second arch with a beautiful carving of Lord Shiva. Among the main cement sculptures some noteworthy are Ashtavinayakas, ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Royal Court of Indra and fierce battle between Bhim and Duryodhan.
Neelkantheshwar is a perfect place for a short weekend break from Pune. You can visit Neelkantheshwar at any point of time though monsoon is the preferred time. The temple of Shiva attracts thousands of devotees in the month of Shravan and on the occasion of Maha shivratri. So if you are tired of the hustle bustle of city life enjoy few serene moment here amidst the nature.