Sunday, 16 December 2012

Ashtavinayak - Ballaleshwar of Pali - December 16, 2012

We decided to visit temple of Ballaleshwar (बल्लाळेश्वर), Lord Ganesh, at Pali (पाली) - one of the Ashtavinayakas (अष्टविनायक).

We left Pune at 7.15 am and took the Sinhagad Road to pick my in-laws on the way. We went through the Old Pune-Mumbai Highway (NH-4) and reached Khopoli (खोपोली). By 9.15 am, we were eating Batata Wada Sambaar at Ramakant.

From Khopoli we took a road towards Pen (पेण). After 4 kms there comes an over-bridge above Pune-Mumbai Express Highway. After crossing this bridge, take immediate Left towards Pali and Wakan (वाकण). Straight goes to Pen and Alibaag (अलिबाग).

By 10.30 am we reached Pali. This was my second visit here after our Alibaag trip 2 years ago. There is a car parking just opposite the temple entrance. It is a paid parking with charges of Rs. 20 per hour. There is one more free parking behind this one.

The temple as well as the town is situated just by the side of a massive fort Sarasgad (सरसगड). River Aamba (आंबा) also flows nearby. Actually we crossed the bridge on that river on the way.
This is the only Ganesh amongst Ashtavinayakas which is named after his devotee Ballal (बल्लाळ). The story goes that there was a Brahmin boy named Ballal who was engrossed in the devotion to Lord Ganesh. He use to take his friends (other village kids) also along for the Ganesh Pooja. Villagers disapproved this act. Once his father caned Ballal and tied him to a tree in the forest while he was performing his Pooja. He also damaged the Ganesh Idol & left, leaving Ballal to die in that forest. At that time, Lord, impressed by Ballal's devotion, himself appeared before him and granted him a wish. Ballal wished that the Lord to remain in that village permanently. Ganesha obliged by staying there by the name of Ballaleshwar (Ballal's Lord).

This story is written there in another small temple just prior to the main temple - Dhundi-Vinayak Temple (धुन्डी-विनायक). There is a board written there, that this temple is to be visited before entering the main temple. Dhundi-Vinayak is the idol which Ballal used to worship and his father had destroyed.

Main Temple is about 50 feet away from here, made of black stone. It is said that this stone construction was done during the time of Peshwas. Earlier it was a wooden structure. Even the insides of the temple show some wooden structure (pillars and beams). There is one stone crusher (जाते in Marathi) kept outside which was used during that period to crush limestone for construction.

Lord Ganesh is East facing with Diamonds in its both eyes and naval. Outside the Main Sanctorum there is a Secondary Sanctorum which houses a Mouse (vehicle of the Lord) with a laddoo in its hands. Opposite these two Sanctorums is the Principal Hall having pillars on both sides with a large bell tied on thick chains. It was gifted by Chimaji Appa (चिमाजी अप्पा) - Military Commander of Peshwes, younger brother of Bajirao Peshwa (बाजीराव पेशवा). He had looted it from one of the Churches after his win over the Portuguese. Outside is a water body equivalent to a small lake.

After a satisfying Darshan, we left for Unhere (उन्हेरे) - place famous for its Hot Water Springs. From Pali we went ahead towards Waakan road. About 2 kms from here after a bridge on a river (supposed to be Aamba again) is a Right turn (info boards are available). 1 km from here is this Scientific & Natural Attraction. There are two stone constructed water baths (कुंड) over the water springs. One among them is covered, reserved for women.

The specialty is that the water is noticeably hot in these Kund. The temperature, they say, is in between 40 to 60 degree Celsius. This is due to the high Sulphur content in the water and its reaction with water salts. You can smell a different Sulphurous odour when you go nearby.

It is said that this water possesses medicinal value for curing skin diseases and allergies.

Only problem is that the water is stagnant. It is not a flowing water. Everybody just enters inside this common bath. This actually should be prevented. People should take the water out using a bucket and they should bathe outside. We actually saw a person sitting by the side and cleaning his teeth.

So I would recommend just to see this unbelievable place, dip your feet and witness the hotness of water and return, considering the unhygienic conditions here. Actually, I would not say this to be a "must seen" place. In case you visit Pali or a place nearby, you can see this place as it is just 3 kms from Pali and the visit will not cost you more than 15 mins of your time.

There is one Vitthal-Rakhmabai temple also between those two Kunds.

From here we decided to return back to Pune. We took the same route back.

We took a lunch stop at Lonavala at Hotel Gurukripa. Nice food, cheap. From here we went to see the Celebrations Wax Museum. Though I had seen it in last March, my In-Laws hadn't. This time I counted the statues - 35 in numbers. It was a nice refreshing second visit, because they had changed the arrangements and some interior renovations are made. I got to know additional information - the statues of Living people are made by taking their measurements while those of people who have died are made using photographs only. Secondly, these statues are made of 6 parts which are disassembled for cleaning and the clothes are changed once a month.

From here we returned back to Pune at 5.00 pm.

Odometer readings:
00 kms         Narayan Peth, Pune
78 kms         Lonavala (via Sinhagad Road and Bangalore-Mumbai Bypass road and then the Old Mumbai Highway)

91 kms         Khopoli exit after Khandala on common Express Highway & Old Mumbai Highway

96 kms         Hotel Ramakant, Khopoli
99 kms         LH turn towards Pali and Waakan; straight will go to Pen
140 kms       Pali
143 kms       Unhere

Return journey
181 kms       RH turn towards Khopoli; LH will go to Pen
185 kms       Khopoli
203 kms       Lonavala
206 kms       Wax Museum
280 kms       Narayan Peth, Pune


  1. Nice information.. Hope that you have updated more about the other 7 ganeshas in your Ashtavinayak Yatra

  2. Great. Its explaining over
    Ashtavinayak Darshan cab booking services. Really nice. Thank you.