Monday, September 22, 2014

Rivers around Pune

Rivers associated with Pune

Pune has been blessed with a number of beautiful and sacred rivers.
The Mula – Mutha are at the heart of the city, having merged just a little while before at Bopodi Khadki.
Al lot of Pune’s water comes from the Mutha, dammed at least at Khadakwasla, Varasgaon and Temghar.

The Pawana river flows beautifully through Chinchwad.

Athough now, except in the monsoon, it looks dry at Chinchwad. It is dammed at Pawana dam, well before Chinchwad which makes PCMC possible. On its banks at Chinchwadgoan, is the sacred Morya Gosavi temple, from almost a millennium ago. As the story goes Morya Gosavi was a saint and an excellent devotee of Lord Ganapati. He is also regarded as an incarnation of Lord Ganesh as per the boon granted to him. In fact the “Morya” associated with “Ganapati Bappa Morya” can be attributed to this saint.

The Pawana river joins the Mula river near Aundh.

The Indrayani river flows through Dehu and Alandi. Renowned for the Saints Tukaram and Dyaneshwar respectively.

Sant Tukaram was a Warkari Saint of the Bhakti movement. His abhangs – devotional songs in Marathi – are very popular in Maharashtra even today. They reflect his deep love and longing for Lord Vitthal of Pandharpur. Legend goes that Sant Tukaram was forced to immerse his works in the river Indrayani, but the river goddess returned them back to him.

Lord Vitthal came for Sant Tukaram on Garuda, on the banks on the river Indrayani, and took him to his abode in Vaikuntha. There is a temple at that spot that stands testimony to the event.

Sant Dyaneshwar, the boy saint from Alandi, was a scholar and a Yogi.  He was a disciple of his elder brother Nivruttinath who was a member of the Nath sect. Sant Dyaneshwar’s legacy to us is the Dyaneshwari, a beautiful commentary/translation of the Bhagwad Gita into Marathi. He completed this divine task at the tender age of 14. His parents gave up their lives in the Indrayani at Alandi to get their children to be accepted into the Brahmin community. Sant Dyaneshwar himself took Samadhi at Alandi at 19 years of age, having accomplished his life's mission.

Chinchwad, Dehu and Alandi, not more than 20 kms from each other form a very important triangle of Maharashtrian and Indian pilgrimage.

Others rivers around Pune are the Ghod and the Bhima.

The Bhima river is an important river of Maharashtra. It originates at Bhimashankar, not far from Pune. Bhimashakar is a serene and beautiful forest. It is home to the rare flying squirrel, locally known as “Shekaru”. It is also the site of the Bhimashankar temple. A very important site of Hindu worship, it is one of the twelve jyotirlingas. Lord Shiva defeated the tyrant asura Bhima here. After which he agreed to his devotees’ demands to take up residence in the pristine forest in the form of a Shivalinga. The sweat from Lord Shiva’s body from the effort of the war is said to be the origin of the Bhima river.

Pune drains into the Bhima river. All its rivers are eventual tributaries to the Bhima river. The Mula-Mutha merge into the Bhima before Daund. The Indrayani merges into the Bhima at Tulapur. An extremely serene place. At this confluence is the Sangameshwar temple. The site also has a memorial of Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who was murdered near here by Aurangzeb.

The Bhima river flows towards Solapur. Before Solapur it is dammed at the Yashwant Sagar, which caters to most of Solapur’s water requirements. In Solapur district we come to Pandharpur. The abode of Lord Vitthal, and the destination of all Warkaris. Situated on the banks of the Bhima river. Here known as Chandrabhaga.

History views Pundalik as the founder of the Warkari sect. In the more romantic version Pundalik was looking after his aged parents. Lord Vishnu was so pleased with his devotee that he appeared to Pundalik. Since Pundalik was busy with his parents he threw the Lord a brick and asked him to wait on it. (Brick is “Vit” in Marathi. Vithal is One situated on a brick).

In his famous abhang Tukaram says that Pandharpur is his Maher, his mother’s home, his home-town. Vithal is his Mother, Vithal-Rakumai are his father and mother, Pundalik is his brother and Chandrabhaga is his sister.

The Bhima flows southwards and merges into the Krishna river at the boundary of Karnataka and Telangana near Raichur.

The Krishna river is one of the principal rivers of India. It is therefore considered in the river inter-linking project. Two links are proposed with the Krishna river. Krishna-Godavari to the north, a 300 km link at an estimated cost of 4.4 bn $ in 2003. The Krishna-Pennar link to the south, a proposed 600 km link.

The Krishna river that the Bhima flows into is the third longest river in India, after the Ganga and the Godavari, at 1300 kms. It flows through four states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and is of great importance to all of them. Incidentally the Krishna river originates a couple of hours drive away from Pune, in Mahabaleshwar, in Satara district, a weekend getaway hill-station from Pune.

The Krishna river is dammed at the ancient city of SriSailam in Andhra Pradesh. The city has records of dynasties upto 2000 years ago. The Sathavahanas, the Ikshavakus, the Pallavas, the Vishnukundis, the Chalukyas, the Kakatiyas, the Reedy Kings. Today it is better known for the Nallamala hills and forest reserve, Naxalites – who are not currently active, educational institutes including an engineering college I think, Srisailam reservoir on the Krishna river, and the Mallikarjuna temple.

The Mallikarjuna temple is one of the 12 jyortirlingas too. It is the place where Shiva and Parvati stayed when they came to pacify Lord Kartikeya after he lost the race to Lord Ganesh, in which Lord Ganesh circumambulated his parents.

It is doubly important as a Shakthi Maha-Peeth where Devi Sati’s lip is supposed to have fallen.

The Krishna river is again further dammed at Nagarjuna Sagar dam. It is one of the “temples of modern India” and one of the earliest dams in a series that brought about the Green Revolution in India, aimed to make India self-sufficient in agricultural produce. The large Nagarjuna Sagar dam, situated at the boundary of Telangana and Andhra is responsible for the prosperity that attends the surrounding region.

The Krishna river ends its journey in the Bay of Bengal.

Since we mentioned the river Godavari a couple of times, we could take a moment to note that it originates in Nasik, again not far from Pune, about 150-200 kms away. It is the second longest river in India, almost 1500 km long, and is an extremely important river. It too ends in the Bay of Bengal.

It is a very important river for India.

The Godavari River has its catchment area in six states of India: Maharashtra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha. The number of dams constructed in Godavari basin is the highest among all the river basins in India. Nearly 350 major / medium dams and barrages were constructed in the river basin as of the year 2012.

The Godavari River has a drainage area of 312,812 km2 (120,777 sq mi), which is nearly one-tenth of the area of India and is greater than the areas of England and Ireland put together.

The river is so important that there are districts named after it – the East Godavari district and the West Godavari district!

Tryambakeshwar is a very sacred spot for Hindus, where the Godavari river originates in Nasik. It is also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.

The story is reproduced as is from Wikipedia:

Brahmadev worshipped God Trivikram when he came to Satya Loka (on earth) with the same holy
water of the Ganges, to get the river Ganges held up by God Shankar on his head, to flow. There was a famine of 24 years and people were affected by the pangs of hunger. However, Varun - the God of Rains, pleased with Sage Gautama arranged rains every day in Gautama's Ashram (dwelling place) which was in Trimbakeshwar. Gautama used to sow rice in the surrounding fields of his Ashram in the morning, reap the crop in the afternoon and with it fed a large group of rishis, who took shelter in his Ashram on account of the famine. The blessings of the group of rishis increased the merit (Punya) of Gautama. Lord Indra's position became shaky because of his increased merit. So Indra ordered clouds to rain all over Trimbakeshwar, so that the famine will be over and Rishis will go back and the increasing merits of Gautama will be weakened. Although the famine was over, Gautama urged the Rishis to stay back and kept on feeding them and gaining merit. Once he saw a cow grazing in the paddy field and he drove her away by throwing Darbha (sharp, pointed grass). The slender cow died by this. It was Jaya - Parvati's friend, who had taken the form of a cow. This news upset the Rishis and they refused to lunch at his Ashram. Gautama requested Rishis to show a way out of this sin. He was advised to approach Lord Shiva and request him to release Ganges and a bath in the Ganges would set him free of his sins. Gautama then practiced penance by going to the peak of Brahmagiri. Lord Shankara was pleased by his worships and gave him the Ganges.

However, Ganges was not prepared to part with Lord Shiva, which irritated him. He made TandavNrutya (dance) on the peak of Brahmagiri and dashed his jata there. Frightened by this action, Ganges appeared on Brahmagiri. Later on Ganges appeared in the Trimbak Tirtha. Gautama praised her but she off and on appeared on the mountain at various places and disappeared in anger. Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Ganges then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Ganga Sagar tirtha. Still Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Then Gautama surrounded the river with enchanted grass and put a vow to her. The flow stopped there and the tirtha thus came to be called Kushavarta. It is from this Kushavarta that the river Godavari flows up to the sea. The sin of killing a cow by Gautama was wiped off here.

Hope you enjoyed the river trip from Chinchwad, Pune  to the Bay of Bengal and back, as much as I enjoyed writing it.




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