In India, divinity and spirituality are present in every child as the people have strong faith in the supreme power and hence we try to find places of worship. And if one visits Maharashtra, then a visit to the famous Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is a must for all the travelers. It is a religious treat for devotees who wish to visit Tirupati Balaji but are unable to do so because of some reason. This temple is situated at Ketkawale near Narayanpur. This is around 40-45 km from the city of Pune in Maharashtra.
History and Legend of Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur
- The Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is a replica of the original Tirupati Temple located in the southern India.
- From the idol to the wood work, Sanctorum, priests and even the laddu makers, everybody seems to pay respect to the actual abode of the Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala.
- Since this temple is built during the contemporary times, this sacred place of worship does not have any history of the Chikka Tirupati Temple near Bangalore. It is located just off the Pune-Bangalore highway near Kapurhol.
Significance of Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur
- The Venkateshwara charitable trust had built the present shape of the temple from 1906 to 2003.
- Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is built on 10 acres of land and is enclosed by Sahyadri hills. This temple is well maintained and is very clean.
- The famous shrine was created by the V H Group at a cost of Indian National Rupees 27 Crores.
- The entrance of the shrine is huge and it is beautifully crafted with stones.
- There are images of Lord and extraordinary work painted on the top surface of the main Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur.
- A pilgrim needs to go barefoot in the Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur premises. Additionally, photography and videography are strictly prohibited inside this holy place.
- The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara and one can see a Hundi situated outside the shrine to contribute the money to different activities.
- There are many smaller shrines located inside the temple area which is dedicated to various deities. These are very beautiful and are made out of either marble or black stones.
- Vehicle parking is free and a token is provided to all the visitors who provide a token once you park your vehicle. And, due to strict security measures, people are not allowed to take any kind of luggage or bags inside the temple premises. However, for people carrying their luggage, there is a provision to store your bags as well.
- Monsoon is the best time to visit this Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur as both the drive will be comfortable and the even standing in the queue for darshan is also convenient.
- The dining hall is located towards the back of the Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur and one has to walk around 200 meters. A typical Andhra meal is served to all the devotees. You take the plate and get the food served and sit on the carpets that are laid down. A meal of pachadi/chutney, kesari, kalanda sandam (Mixed Rice) like puliyotharai/vaangi bath, rice and gravy is served. One can also enjoy the meal with a second helping. The dining hall is also well maintained and is cleaned as when people move.
Prati Balaji Temple Timings
- Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur remains open for all tourists from 5 AM to 8 PM
- It remains accessible on all days in a week.
Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur Food Timings
- Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur offers free Prasad and meal for all the devotees.
- Maha Prasad coupon is also available within the temple premises between 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.
- Laddu is offered to the pilgrims who visit this temple.
- A pilgrim can also offer Annadanam, sweets and Pongal to the Lord for a nominal amount.
Festivals celebrated at the Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur
- Tamil New Year is observed with great decorations and pomp by the devotees. Pilgrims gather in the Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur to offer prayers and seek blessings of the Almighty on this auspicious day. The crowd starts thronging the holy place since early morning.
- Ram Navami and Deepavali are some of the popular festivals that are celebrated in this temple with great fervor.
- Chitra Pournami, Vijaya Dashami, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Kanu Pongal and Gudi Padva are also observed by people of all ages inside the temple.
Poojas and Rituals at Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur
- There are different kinds of pooja that are offered in this Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur premises.
- While Suprabhatam starts at 5 A.M, the morning pooja is performed between 6:30 A.M. to 8:15 P.M. The afternoon pooja starts at 10 A.M. and the evening rituals at 6 P.M. The Shuddhi or Ekantseva takes place at 8 P.M onwards.
- On Fridays, there are special programs in the form of Abhishekam which takes place from 7:30 A.M. to 8 A.M. and Unjalseva that is organized from 5 P.M. to 5:45 P.M.
- The daily Naivedyam is offered to the deity from 10:30 A.M. to 11:15 A.M.
- The Saliampu – Netradarshan takes place on Thursdays between 9 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. And the Poolangi Seva is observed from 5 P.M. to 5:30 P.M.
How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air
- By Air- For visitors traveling by air, the Pune Airport is the nearest airport that is located near this Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur. From buses to taxis and private cabs, there are different modes of transportation available from the airport in order to reach this famous shrine.
- By Train- This famous place of worship is located at a distance of 42 km from the Pune Railway Station. One can look for buses or private cabs to reach the Prati Balaji Temple.
- By Road- To reach Balaji temple from Pune, you need to take Pune-Solapur highway route and drive towards Solapur. Try not to take flyover, take the left street and reach Hadapsar Bus stand. And from there, one needs to travel a long way to reach the Saswad village. After moving ahead of the village, one can witness the lush green environment. This street will also take you to your destination, Balaji sanctuary.
One can also opt for the Mumbai-Bangalore expressway. When you cross the tunnel, you will come across Shindewadi and Khed Shivapur. After some travel, you will reach the Bhor-Saswad intersection. The sanctuary is only 4 km from this place. You can recognize the sanctuary on the left side. You have to go through a little street to achieve the spiritual destination.
Hotels in Maharashtra: Where to stay
The Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur provides accommodation facilities for all their devotees. Apart from that, there are various lodging options for all the tourists who reside to stay as well. For people who are traveling alone, sharing rooms or renting a dormitory serves as a great alternative option. However, individuals who love some pampering can put up at high-end hotels too. From the luxurious spa to private lounges and international cuisines, there are loads of services that are available for clients to enjoy. Some even provide complimentary breakfasts to the tourists along with pickup and drop services. So, whatever be your choice, there’s always an option for every kind of traveler when one plans for accommodation. But it is always advisable to book your rooms in advance in order to avoid any last minute delay. And as the place gets crowded during monsoons, people traveling during that time should plan their visit in advance.
Where to eat
Maharashtrian cuisine is famous for its spicy content. Wheat, rice, jowar, fruits, and vegetables comprise mainly of their staple diet. Generally, Maharashtrian have considered their food to be more severe than that of different locales in India. In spite of the fact that, in view of financial conditions and culture, meat has been less used. However, all major restaurants offer both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. And if one would love to taste the international cuisine, there are many eateries that provide customized options as well. The eating joints also arrange for music on special days and occasions. Apart from the food, the ambiance of the hotels is also very good.
The food is competitively priced and hygiene is greatly considered in the preparation of the dishes. While Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Poha, and Upma serve as awesome breakfast options, the Thali is a complete meal with respect to lunch. Generally, rice, roti, vegetables, pickles, salad, dahi and dal comprises in a Thali. Kokum and Buttermilk are great drinks that people love to have after their meals.
- Bhuleshwar- It is renowned for being a thirteenth-century sanctuary of Lord Shiva on top of a hill. The sanctuary is distinct with regard to its design. From outside it appears to more as a mosque than a sanctuary because of its similarity to Islamic design like circular tomb and minarets. Legend says that it was done like this so sanctuary is not destroyed by the invaders. Nonetheless, the carvings inside are marvelous and practically identical to one finds in Ajanta and Ellora yet many of them stands broken. There are portrayals of scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata on either side of the sanctuary like “Sita-Haran”, “Bharat-Milap” and so on.
- Baneshwar- Baneshwar temple is arranged in a secured protected zone. It was very quiet and peaceful over there. The sanctuary complex has two tanks which have fish and turtles that are loved and fed by the visitors. There is a Shivling plunged in water where the devotees are said to dip coins. It is said that if the coin lands on the top of the Shivling, then it is a good sign. Beyond the sanctuary lies the recreation center with nursery, sitouts and so on where families can unwind and make merry. In addition, there is also a small bio diversity knowledge center that was well made.
- Ek Mukhi Datta Mandir- This is a very famous temple for pilgrims visiting Pune. This temple is popular amongst the pilgrims and many people visit and pay a visit all around the year. A tree of “Audumbar” is present there and it is very old and consecutively worshiped by the devotees. There is also an old temple of Narayaneshwar. This temple has 3 sculptures which are very pretty and they are believed to have belonged to the ‘Yadav’ era. People throng to this temple to see the Padukas i.e. footwear of Lord Datta here. These were set in the sanctum by Lord Datta himself before he exited for Samadhi. Numerous devotees come to Narayanpur on the eve of Guruvar and Pournima occasions. The number increases rapidly in the event of Datta Jayanti which is celebrated with great pomp by the devotees who offer pooja to the Lord since early morning.