Gondeshwar is a 12/13th century hindu temple carved out in black basalt stone.
It is located at Sinnar near Nasik , off Pune Nasik highway (26kms from Nasik).
There are different claims towards the origin of this temple. As per some sources the temple was said to have been built by the Seuna Yadava king Govinda, hence was named Gondeshwar. However a 13th cen. marathi text Leelacharitra (by Chakradhara, founder of Mahanubhava sect) mentions a merchant named Govinda ( Govindeshwar=Gondeshwar) as having commissioned the temple. There is a mention of Yadava king Mahadeva (1261+) arriving in the town of Sinnar during the time of Chakradhara.
Note, there was a Bhilama matha in Sinnar (probably patronised by the Yadava king Bhillama).
The temple has been built as per the Panchayatana style with the Shiva temple being the main one and surrounded by minor temples as that of Ganesh, Parvati, Vishnu and Surya.
The temple can be classified as the bhumija nagara type with the shikhara having a central frame that tapers on all sides and surrounded by columns of smaller spires.
The temple is a wondorous display of art in stone. It has for testimony some amazing carvings and sculptures depicting stories from the Puranas and epics like the Mahabharata etc. The walls display sculptures of Devas,Devis, Apsaras, Yakshas,Gandharvas etc, that have weathered time to retain a semblance of their beauty.
This temple despite its enormous historical and cultural value lies hitherto unknown, virtually hidden from the outside world. But that also enables its tranquility and existence to lie so very conserved.
Acknowledgements: Amol Bankar
Text and Photographs : Abhijit Rajadhyaksha