Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Omkareshwar Temple, Pune : A Photo Feature

Omkareshwar temple is situated near Balgandharva Rang Mandir, Shanivar Peth. The temple premises extend into a paved ghat descending into the river Mutha.
Omkareshwar till 1971 used to be the smashaan bhoomi (funeral site) for the Pune Hindus . It still continues to be the place where people perform the last obsequies for their departed kins.

Omkareshwar Mandir is a 18th century temple (1736-1738) constructed by one Shivram Bhat, the spiritual teacher of the Peshwa family / Krishnaji Pant Chitrav with donations from Chimaji appa, the commander of the maratha forces and the brother of Peshwa Bajirao I.

The Omkareshwar mandir has been built on a strong foundation and has withstood the Panshet deluge in 1962.


Omkareshwar is one of the names of Lord Shiva and the temple has been dedicated to his consort Godess Parvati.

Omkareshwar Mandir has a Nagara styled Shikara made from soft white soap stone, with five layers, each having engravings and of sculptures of Gods and deities e.g a Ganesha with a unique straight trunk, a Dattaguru with the central face sporting a unique moustache, 'Makardhwaj' a composite figure of a serpent duelling a animal, a Vyasa and a parrot figurine,four 'Keerti mukhas' etc.

Besides the main Kalasa (spires), there are eight smaller kalasas with inner hollow semi hemispheres. Each spire is designed uniquely.

On entering the temple premises through a huge gateway, one first lays their eyes upn a mandir of Nandimaharaj.It houses a huge statue of Nandi, besides, statues of other deities encompassed on its walls.

It is said that , during the Panshet deluge, this Nandi idol was carried away to a distance by the flooding waters. The locals then pulled back this heavy nandi idol with great effort and replaced it on its original location.

The Nandi mandap is constructed ( reconstructed in 1993) in an large and open courtyard. The courtyard itself is surrounded by a structure that includes the ‘garbhagriha’ (sanctum sanctorum) which is further adjoined to various rooms, which seem to be inhabited by the temple authorities.

Between the main Garbhagriha and the Nandi temple is a Agnikunda or the place for the ceremonial fire.
Inside the garbhagriha is a beautifull Shiva Linga representing the union of Lod Shiva and Godess Parvati. The Shiva linga has a Shiva image with fish shaped earrings.

The Shiva linga is divided into a 'Shalunka', the base and the linga is called the 'baana'. Records in the Peshwa daftar state that this Baana was brought forth from Narmada river for a sum of Rs 700/-.

The outer walls of the temple are made from black stone. The temple also houses minor temples belonging to Bhawani, Vishnu, Hanuman, Ganesha, Shani etc.

During the national freedom movement many revolutionaries and political leaders like Tilak,Savarkar used to congregate in the vicinity of the Omkareshwar temple at a spot called the 'Taalim'. In 1906 when the firebrand revolutioary Veer Savarkar decided to light a bon fire of British goods, he and his followers had assembled in the Omkareshwar temple taalim.

The Omkareshwar temple premises also house another Shivalaya (abode of Shiva) by the name of Amruteshwarmandir. Its as old as Omkareshwar and is in its direct neighbourhood.

Pic: Samadhi sthal of Annapurnadevi, wife of Chimajiappa

The Omkareshwar mandir is a part of Pune legacy and heritage and a must see for the tourists.

Text and Photos: Abhijit Rajadhyaksha


  1. excellent... keep posting more about.." paradise pune "

  2. Excellent description and pictures. Just one note - According to my info - the samadhi of Chimaji appa and chhatri of Annapurna bai however is a later addition and the exact spot could be anywhere else. It was built in the 1940s. - Uday S Kulkarni

  3. Nice post on temple. Omkareshwara Temple in Coorg is a Shiva temple built by King Lingarajendra II in the year 1820. It is said that the temple was constructed by the king to appease the soul of a Brahmin, whom he killed for political reasons. Explore all best places to visit in Coorg also.