THANE: The sleepy village of Gunj in Wada taluka, about 60 km from Thane, was charged up after two ancient temples in complete ruins were discovered in the dense forest on Friday.
The revelation was made by senior BJP leader Om Prakash Sharma when he visited the village recently. “I had undertaken the task of renovating the Parshuram temple that is located in the Mandakini Hills. As I was climbing the hill, I came across these two medieval temples. They were in complete ruins. It is said that they were plundered by the Moghuls hundreds of years ago. One of the temples belongs to Shiva and the other to Renukamata, who was Parshuram’s mother,” Sharma told TOI.
Sharma has undertaken the task of renovating Parshuram temples in the state. According to him, there are only two Parshuram temples, one of which is at Chiplun in Ratnagiri district. Sharma had also embarked on a Parshuram yatra in November.
Lord Parshuram is revered by Hindus and it is believed that it was he who created the coastal land from Kerala to Gujarat running through Kokan. Kokan is also known as Parshuram bhoomi. There are also mythological references suggesting that Parshuram, who strongly opposed evil, was gifted his bow and arrow by Lord Shiva. ‘Parsha’, a weapon given to him by Lord Ganesh, gave him the nomenclature by which he is known. Parshuram is also known as the sixth manifestation of Lord Vishnu.
According to Sharma, the Shiva temple has carvings on its entrance and also has a ‘pindi’. The temples are located near a lake at the foothills of Mandakini Hills, which is on the border of Wada and Bhiwandi talukas. The idols from the Renukadevi temple were reinstated in 1732 by Chimaji Appa, a warrior from Vasai, who renovated the Vajreshwari temple after it was destroyed by invaders.
The Vajreshwari temple is a relic of Maratha glory. Chimaji Appa, the younger brother of Peshwa Bajirao I, got it built after the Marathas conquered the Bassein fort in 1739.
The Vajreshwari temple is a relic of Maratha glory Vajreshwari entered Indra’s vajra to slay the demon Kalikat
The temple stands atop a hillock by the road. A flight of 52 steps leads up to the main gate. The Tansa, a small river, shone into view. It executes a crisp ‘L’ before slowly rolling into the cloud-draped hills. The Tansa flows here but the village is better known for its 21 hot water springs. The presence of these springs is attributed to the volcanic past of the region. In all, there are about 350 hot springs in the Tejsa, Tansa and Surya rivers of Vasai taluka.
The temple is dedicated to goddess Vajreshwari but the sanctum also has idols of goddess Renuka and goddess Kalika on either side of the main Vajreshwari idol. Smaller idols of Ganesha and other gods and goddesses are carved in the pillars and walls of the forecourt.Both Renuka and Vajreshwari are widely revered in the North. The Renuka lake in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh is named after Renuka, mother of sage Parshurama, while Kangra and Chamba have famous Vajreshwari temples.
The legend goes that Parshurama had performed a mahayajna at Vajreshwari and the hills of volcanic ash in the area are its residue. The Parshurama connection somewhat explains the worship of Renuka in the area but the Vajreshwari legend is quite complicated. In fact, there are differing beliefs about the goddess.
In Vasai, one belief is that the goddess came to be called Vajreshwari after she swallowed Indra’s vajra (thunderbolt), which he had hurled at the sage Vashishtha. There is another belief that the goddess is called Vajreshwari because she entered Indra’s Vajra to slay the demon Kalikat.
The Vajreshwari Temple looks like an ancient fort After the victory of Vasai Fort, Chimaji Appa built this Temple besides the Mandakini Mountain, which was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption. That ‘s the reason why there are number of hot water streams near this place. There are small Sauna huts called Kundas. These hot water streams attract a large number of visitors because its water is known to have cured a number of skin diseases. There are about 350 such hot water streams in Tejsa, Tansa and Surya rivers in Vasai Taluka.
Last year, scientists of the National Chemical Laboratory isolated a molecule that inhibits the AIDS causing HIV-1 protease, from a microbe that thrives in the high temperature and alkaline conditions of a hot spring in Vajreshwari.
The idol of the goddess is very impressive and is being worshipped for last few centuries. Worshippers believe that the goddess fulfills the wishes of devotees. Short distance away from this temple are the natural hot water springs. The springs, in all about 21, have a healing power in their hot water. It is said to have been due to the presence of Sulphur in the water. People believe that rheumatic disorders and skin diseases are cured by the water. Ganeshpuri, a small township, where the famous Siddhapeeth Ashram, established by Swami Muktanand is quite near from these hot springs. The temple of Swami Nityanand, a great saint and sage who once had made this precinct as his abode, stands nearby the Ashram.