Pune – Mumbai – 1 Day trip (April 2012)
It has been a long-time wish to visit the Mahalakshmi Temple at Mumbai. I visited it before as a young girl in 1989, and later in 2002 and 2004. But still, I wanted to visit since I’d gotten married, but that hadn’t worked out. Till now.
We started from Pune at 6am by car. It was a short drive to the Pune-bypass road, and then a long drive to the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. Shortly after getting onto the expressway, we slept. Yes, we did.
We woke up once to fill up fuel at a food mall, which we didn’t like. So we postponed breakfast to the next one. But we slept through it, and had to wait till we got off the expressway at Panvel to find breakfast. Note: There are only 2 food courts/malls on the entire expressway. You can opt to step off it at Lonavala; but if you’re sticking to the road, options are limited.
So breakfast was at a small hotel called Hotel Manasarovar. They’d opened their place for breakfast… after we walked in and asked for it! Also their restaurant was called Hotel Manasa (ha!). Unfortunately I was still suffering from sleep, and didn’t think to take a photo! 😦
The next stop was directly to Mahalakshmi Temple. Along the way we also enjoyed a drive on the Bandra Worli Sea-link. The Sea-link definitely lived up to its hype. It was a lovely drive, and worth the wait!!!
Also we took the requisite photos of the Haji Ali Mosque once we got to Mahalakshmi.
At the temple, our driver left us across the road for fear of a lack of parking space. So we slowly made our way across to the temple. It’s a short walk from the main road. One needs to climb of a set of steps to reach the actual doorway. Along the way there are many shops selling flowers, coconuts, sweets and saris that can be offered to the goddess. At the top of the steps one needs to go through the requisite security check that has become prevalent in our lives. There are clear instructions not to carry cell-phones or cameras into the temple.
Inside the temple, the main deity is of the Goddess Mahalakshmi. She is flanked by the goddesses Mahakali to the left and Mahasaraswati to the right. The goddesses have their hands up in blessing the devotees, and are very peaceful to look at. Since this trip was made on a weekday, the darshan was also peaceful, as opposed to previous trips made over weekends.
The temple is known to have been built in 1782, during the construction of the Hornby Vellard. Apparently there were problems with the construction of a sea wall. The chief engineer had a dream of a devi statue to be built nearby. Following that, the Mahalakshmi temple was built. It is said that the construction of the Vellard went through without a hitch after that. Till date, people who have obstacles in their goals worship Mahalashmi, and their problems get solved.
Behind the main temple are some steps leading down. These lead to 2 smaller temples of the Gods Anjaneya Swamy and Vinayaka. And the view from these temples of the Arabian Sea makes you wonder why didn’t you think of smuggling that camera anyway! It is a very beautiful view….
We slowly made our way back to the main road where our car waited for us. Along the way we bought some souvenirs of the temple trip from the stalls lining the path.
Our next stop was the SiddhiVinayak Temple. It was alomst closing time by the time we reached the temple. So we had to rush quite a bit. SiddhiVinayak is famous for making all your wishes come true, so it is almost essential to visit him when in Mumbai!
After a rushed, but good darshan of Siddhi Vinayaka, we set off back to Pune. Along the way we stopped for lunch at the Kamath Maharana hotel at Chembur. this was suggested by our driver as being a very good lunch venue. And it certainly was. After stuffing ourselves with multiple helpings of aam-ras, along with the extensive menu in place, we set started our journey back.
This time, we made a stop at the food courts along the expressway. The place wasn’t great, but it served fresh sugarcane juice, which was a god-send in the burning heat.
Finally we reached Pune by 5pm. In all it was a great day; rushed but great! 🙂