Posted in रामायण - Ramayan

Shri Kalaram Temple, Nashik

The Kalaram temple at Nashik is one of the prominent temples of Lord Ram in Maharashtra. It is said that during his exile, Lord Ram spent a considerable period of time in Panchavati, making the place sacrosanct and one of the important Ram Kshetras.

The Temple houses idols of Lord Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman. One unique feature of the idol of Lord Ram is that his right hand is placed on his chest in the Abhay Mudra, granting abhaya to his devotees.The idols are carved in black (valukamay) stone and hence, the name Kala Ram. Interestingly, there are two Gore Ram Temples also in Nashik (Prachin Gore Ram and Muthe yanche Gore Ram) and as their names suggests, the idols are in white marble.

• History of the Temple •

Initially the idols were housed in a simple shrine. The present day grand temple was built by Shri Rangarao Odhekar in around 1790. It took around 10-12 years for completion of the temple. Entire temple is in black basalt and very solid. This feature contrasts with other temple constructions of the medieval era which are mostly of brickwork and stuccowork. It is said that the estimated cost for building the temple was over Rupees twenty lakhs then! This speaks of the devotion of the devotee Shri Rangarao Odhekar who wanted only the best for his lord.

• The Temple •

The temple architecture is of the revivalist Nagara Style. Many temples were destroyed in the regime of Aurangazeb and during this phase there was a long pause in development of new temples. Subsequently, Marathas rose to power again and temple construction activities started receiving royal patronage again. A newer style (of brickwork and stuccowork) developed in the Medieval period when temple constructions were resumed. However, at places, efforts were also taken to revive the old Nagara style, this temple being one of the examples.

The complex-
The temple complex is huge and grand, consisting of a tall brick wall fortifying the complex. The complex has four gates or Dwars at 4 directions, the eastern dwar being the main entrance or the Mahadwar. The complex consists of the main temple, a huge Maruti mandap and subsidiary shrines surrounded by small enclosures or open rooms (ovrya). The prakara or the space around the temple is fully paved with stone slabs.

The main temple-
The main temple consists of Garbhagriha, antarala and a sabhamandapa. The sabha Mandapa has a dome shaped ceiling which is elaborately carved. The sabhamandapa has entrances from 3 sides. Gujarat and Rajputana influence is noticeable on the pillars and carvings.

The Shikharas-
There are 3 Shikharas over the temple. One being the main Shikhara over the Garbagriha and two other dome-shaped shikharas. The mukhya shikhara is ornamented with stacked pot motifs. The shikhara concludes with two amalakas and kalasha at the top. The two domical shikharas have vertical and horizontal bands creating trapezoidal shapes which keep reducing in size towards the finial.

The Maruti Mandap-
There is a huge Maruti Mandap facing the temple which is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The mandapa has 40 pillars (it is said that the 40 pillars symbolise the 40 verses of the Hanuman Chalisa). It is decorated with beautiful cusped arches.

The enclosures-
There are 84 open rooms or ovrya around the temple meant for travellers and pilgrims. It is said it symbolises the travelling of a soul through 84 laksh yonis.

• Festivals and Rituals •

Ram Navaratra and Ram Navami are the most important festivals of the temple. Ram Janmostav is celebrated on Ram Navami and the Rath Yatra procession is taken out on the Ekadashi day. There are two rathas (chariots) – Rama Ratha and Garuda Ratha. The idols of Lord Rama are taken out in the Rama ratha and his padukas are taken out in the Garuda Ratha. Dasara is another important festival when Lord Ram’s procession is taken out for simmolanghan.

The daily pooja and rituals are taken care of by the Pujadhikari or Pujari family who have been serving the lord and the temple since 27 generations.

Grateful to Ninad Pujari for providing inputs.

Reference-
The temples of Maharashtra, G.K.Kanhere

करण रासकर

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