Having a long weekend off, my family decided to have a short trip to some sacred place outside Mumbai. And the place of worship we chose is Shri Venkateshwara Temple. It’s located near a village named Narayanpur around 45kms from Pune. It’s also called the Balaji Temple or Tirupati temple and can be regarded as a minor version of Tirupati (a much minor version). It was built by Uttara Foods, the manufacturers of Venky’s.
|Image Source: team-bhp.com|
So! We travelled by our car and left from home at 6.30am. From the Navi Mumbai fragments we finally reached Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Sitting at the back seat and enjoying my wafers, I was admiring the mountains, trees and bushes. At around 8am, under the not so hot sun, the cool and gentle wind was swaying away the leaves of the trees.
We reached the Tirupati Temple, Narayanpur Pune at 10am and after doing the pre-entrance tasks like parking the car, submitting our footwear, camera and camera mobile phones, we headed towards the entrance. Looking at the less crowded place, we assumed it wouldn’t take long to reach the main entrance of the temple, unlike the actual Tirupati temple. However, the time we reached at the doors of Tirupati temple, Pune i.e. 10.15am, we were told that we will be allowed only at 10.45am.
There was a separate queue for gents and ladies with the ladies queue predictably the shorter one. Devotees were mostly with their families with screaming 1 year olds or else 4-5 year olds who enjoyed playing around.
After the 30 minutes of wait, as the time arrived for the queue to move ahead, everyone got excited and the queue progressed. As we advanced, we could see the bi-colored tall doors of the temple and statues of Lord Ganesha and Lord Tirupati giving us their sacred sight. Still ahead of it were golden colored pillars and a few smaller temples where various Gods resided. We visited all these temples and prayed. Then we were granted Prasadam and lunch coupon. The Prasadam was exactly like the one which is given to the devotees of the actual Tirupati Balaji Temple. The people serving for this minor version are actually the ones who served at the actual Tirupati Balaji Temple. Hence the authenticity is intact here.
Our next destination was the Datta Temple in Narayanpur village Pune which is 7kms from Shri Venkateshwara Temple. The simple yet beautifully built temple dragged us in its holiness by granting us a view of Lord Dattatreya.
At 12.30pm we started with our return journey. The return was rather tiresome because of the hot weather. We refreshed with regular halts during the journey. The halts were mostly at the highway and once at the food corner named Food Hub. This food corner has Mc Donalds, Papa Johns, Café Coffee Day and a few Wada Pav, Cold drinks and sandwich stalls – A good place to charge ourselves!