Saturday, August 27, 2022

A Day @ Nagpur

During July, 2022, I got an opportunity to visit Nagpur. I never had been here so was a bit excited to experience a new pace. Though I had only about a day (two half days) to explore the city, I made plans to utilize it max.

After searching for places in and around Nagpur, I made below list:

1. Ramtek Temple

2. Khindsi Lake

3. Shantinath Jain Temple

4. Mahalakshmi Temple, Kirodi

5. Seminary Hills

6. Balaji Temple

7. Japanese Rose Garden

8. Zero Mile marker

9. Ganesh Tekri

10. Central Museum of Nagpur

11. Narrow Gauge rail museum

The last two I decide to cover next day first half, while targeted the others on first day.

Ramtek hosts the historic temple of Rama. Its about 50 KMs from Nagpur and believed to be the place where Rama rested while he was in exile. Ashram of the sage Agastya was situated at Ramtek. The present temple was built by Raghuji Bhonsale, the Maratha ruler of Nagpur in 18th century after his victory over fort of Deogarh in Chindwara.

This place is also related to the Sanskrit poet Kalidasa. It is believed that Kalidasa wrote Meghadūta in the hills of Ramtek.

I booked a cab for a day at Nagpur. 

It took little more than an hour from Nagpur to reach Ramtek. Its on top of a hill and heavily fortified. As I reached near temple, it started raining heavily. I waited for about an hour in car itself, but it didt stopped. So I tried to run and reach temple. Temple was a bit far from taxi stand and I got drenched in the process.

One need to cross 3 layers of fort ramparts to reach the temple.

Temple is magnificent and I forgot of getting drenched. At this place Rama had met with Sage Agastya. Agastya told him about plight of sages there, being harrassed by demons. Rama took an oath of destroying the demons and his oath (Tek) gave this place the name of Ramtek!

As we enter, right side is Krishna Temple and ashram of Sage Agastya. A little further up is main temple complex of Lord Lakshmana and then Lord Rama. A few more smaller temples are also there.

The place is very blissful and is a must visit for anyone coming to Nagpur.

I visited temples and paid by reverence to the Lord supreme. Then slowly I waked back to Car.

Langurs are there at Ramtek temple in good numbers and were taking shelter in each structure to save themselves from rain. Left side of the temple is a grand lake (perhaps the Khindasi lake)

Now we proceeded towards the Khindsi Lake. It has a picnic spot, but I was not interested in that. At lake front, I took a few snaps and then reverted back towards Ramtek.

Ramtek is also known for its ancient Jain temple with various ancient statues of Jain Tirthankara. After visiting Rama temple, I visited Jain temple also and paid my reverence. Jain Temple is at the base of the hills.

It was time to move back towards Nagpur.

On the way in between Nagpur and Ramtek, there is town called Kamptee. It has a Dragon Palace Temple. Somehow I missed that, may be I will try to cover in next visit, if possible.

Next destination was Koradi Malakshmi Temple.

Earlier this small town was famous as Jakhapur. The King of Jakhapur had various experiences of the divine shakti who was born as his daughter. She had given him appropriate guidance which had made decision making easier for him. She had shown great visionary support in difficult times.

Once in a war when she accompanied the king, she had shown great justice towards the king as well as his opponents. The king once again realized the power of that divine Shakti. While returning from the war, Jakhumai being the divine shakti decided to stop at the place where the sun would set. That place is regarded as Jakhapur (now Koradi). The moorti (idol) is believed to be 'Swayambhu' - manifested one, as nobody installed it.

The temple is very beautiful and its a vey blissful place. For helping aged people, battery driven vehicles are available who takes the pilgrims very close to Temple. As it was drizzling, so I also decided to take that ride.

Once inside temple, I paid my reverence to almighty mother and sought her blessings.

I spend some wonderful time there and shot some pics.

It was drizzling and also evening was approaching fast. I asked my Cab driver to take me to Seminary Hills.

I had heard that its one of the most popular places to visit in Nagpur as it offers panoramic views of the entire city of Nagpur. This is a small hillock located about 6 kms away from the city of Nagpur.

On Seminary hills, I visited Balaji Temple first. 

Temple can be easily recognized through its large Gopuram, the main entrance, an imposing structure commonly seen in temples in South India. It houses the idols of Lord Balaji and Lord Kartikeyan.

The temple of Lord Balaji is on ground floor and that of Lord Karthikeyan is on first floor.

Temple has an aura of peace and bliss. It was drizzling and I spend sometime there before moving out.

Around the same hills are other spots of tourist interest - Japanese garden and Satpura Botanical garden are amongst them. Though I was not too much interested as I felt these are more from family visit perspective and also it was raining, but still I asked cab driver to take me to Japanese Garden.

It is good for family picnic, full of greenery and walkways, which gives feeling of being in a forest, fresh air to breath and song of birds to hear. I roamed in drizzle for sometime and then returned back.

Now I proceeded towards Ganesh Tekri, the famous Ganesh Temple of Nagpur.

This is a beautiful temple, with Ganesh sitting below a very old tree. The place has been given a structure of temple and its good to be there. I sat Infront of Lord and paid my reverence. There is also a mother goddess shrine next to it. I visited there as well and got blessed with her shower of grace and blessings.

It was time to return as dark was approaching fast and the rains continued.

I asked my cab driver to take me back to hotel via Zero Mile Marker.

Zero Mile Stone is a monument built by British during the Trigonometrical Survey of India in 1907 in Nagpur. It consists of a pillar made up of sandstone and another small stone representing the GTS Standard Bench Mark, and four stucco horses that were added later. The height of the top of the pillar is 1020.171 feet above mean sea level.

Contrary to the popular belief, there is no verifiable evidence that it is a monument locating the geographical center of India in the city of Nagpur.

Its on a busy square, I took a few pics and then crossed road towards the other side at Gowari Monument.

The 1994 Gowari stampede occurred at Nagpur, India on 23 November 1994 in which 114 people from the Gowari community were killed and 500 more injured. The majority of casualties were women and children. This monument is in remembrance of those people. I paid my respects.

I then returned back to my hotel.

As still some day light was there, I thought of taking a walk and at some distance I saw the Shantikunj Ashram, so decided to visit there as well.

Shantikunj Ashram at Haridwar is famous for spreading Vedic thoughts and community service. The Nagpur Center has a temple of Mother Goddess Gayathri. I visited it through a flight of steps and bowed down to her.

I quickly searched for what all I can cover in a few hours the next day. With some thought, I decided Central Museum of Nagpur and Narrow Gauge Rail Museum. 

The Nagpur Central Museum, popularly known as Ajab Bangla, was established in 1863, and is one of the oldest museums in India. It holds important artifacts such as dinosaurs' fossils, coins, ancient inscriptions, sculptures, arms, tribal artifacts from per-historic to the modern time. 

The museum is under control of the Director of Archaeology and Museum, Government of Maharashtra. It is situated in a huge colonial style building designed by Capt. Cobbe in Civil lines area of Nagpur. 

The museum is spread over different galleries, each with different themes:

1. Natural history collection

2. Nagpur heritage collection

3. Sculpture collection

4. Arm and armor collection

5. Tribal art collection

6. Painting collection

7. Museum library

It was heavily raining and perhaps I was the only visitor there. So I was able to roam across different galleries in peace and took my time to see and explore it.

Next target was Narrow Gauge Rail Museum.

This was inaugurated on 14th December 2002 by Shri Nitish Kumar, then Hon’ble Minister of Railways on the eve of 150th Anniversary of Indian Railways. The museum is set up in old Broad Gauge Steam Loco shed which is spread over an area of 5.6 acres. 

Nagpur Division of South East Central Railway once had the unique distinction of maintaining the largest Narrow Gauge Railway system in Indian Railways with a network of more than 1005 km. Over the years due to Gauge conversion, the narrow gauge has been converted into Broad Gauge. The last remaining network of about 110 kms. in Itwari – Nagbhir section was closed for gauge conversion on 25th November 2019. Thus the entire Narrow Gauge system of Nagpur Division has now become a part of history.

Hence, as a foresight, to preserve and showcase the history of narrow gauge railway system, this museum was set up. 

As it was raining heavily so I waited for sometime in a shed at gate to rains to calm down, but it continued for quite some time. As time was running fast, I decided to get drenched a bit but explore the museum.

Like Central Museum, here also I was the only tourist.

I started exploring the museum in cover of shed of trees wherever possible. My shoes were completely wet and so does my short and trouser, but I decided not to miss anything there.

The Main Museum building has various thematic galleries based on different departments of Railways like Locomotives, Coaches & wagons, Signal & Telecom etc. Information about these departments is displayed by means of photographs, models, parts & components etc. 

There is a beautiful 1916 Bagnall make steam locomotive, a 1899 built wooden bodied Royal Carriage used by the Royalties of Paralakhemundi and a 1964 built diesel Locomotive of ZDM2RA class. The ‘Heritage’ gallery displays beautiful german-silver cutlery items used in Royal carriage, a coal fired oven, a unique foldable wash basin, a collection of Postage stamps on Indian and foreign railways, old technical bulletins, Manuals, Reports & 

correspondence letters, various aspects and unique features of narrow gauge system are beautifully depicted by means of paintings. 

A steam Locomotive 1907 built by North British Locomotive Co. Ltd. and 1956 Italian make Steam Crane are a center of attraction. The most unique and probably one of its kind in the country an air conditioned Revolving 

Coaches having seating capacity of 24 persons converted by artistically refurbishing two coaches mounted on a motorized turn table which revolves at the rate of one revolution per 15 minutes. 

Tough it was not working as no tourist were there except me and also it was raining.

This is a scaled down replica model of bridge on Narmada river between Guwarighat and Burgi stations in Jabalpur – Nainpur section. 

 A Toy Train named ‘Orange City Express’ is the star attraction and very popular among the visitors. It 

runs on a 500 meters long track along the periphery of the museum. Though It was not working due to weather conditions and also paucity of tourists.

Satisfied by my exploration, I called a cab to take me to airport. I was completely wet from head to toe, but not decided to change the cloths. It took about 2 hours for my cloths to get dired again!

By late evening, I was at home, sweet home!


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