Pandharpur

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North Star
Mumbai | 5 years ago
Pandharpur
Overview of the destination
Pandharpur is a pilgrimage destination and the main attraction is the Pandurang / Vitthal / Pandhari (Lord Krishna) Mandir.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping
I went there with my parents. My father in particular wanted to go to the temple and had been wanting for a long time. And that was the main driver. We drove down on NH4 (Mumbai - Pune expressway; 'MPE') and then cut across Pune city to reach NH9 (Solapur road / Pune Hyderabad road) and drove down to take a right about 25 km before Solapur. MPE is a great motorable road the morning drive to Pune was pleasant. We reached Pune city by around 915 AM and it took us about 30 mins to navigate through the city's roads to reach NH9. NH9, till about some distance is a 4 lane road, but traffic is dense, slow with plenty of two wheelers. Go slow to be safe! After a while the road narrows down to two lanes with plenty of truck traffic on it. Driving becomes a game of cat and mouse - flitting between trucks and buses, lowering gears, hitting the throttle and then slowing down back into the lane (or long line!). Road quality deteriorates off and on - and there are stretches where roads are being relaid. The small cut off from NH9 to Pandharpur is a two lane road but is smooth and very motorable. On the way back, I chose to drove to Satara on SH74. This is a decent enough road, but can be really lonely on some stretches. But the road is so good at times for a state highway that I could drive past 100 kph without concern. Caution is however advised as there are some reports of roadside burglaries (See team BHP website for example). After hitting Satara, we took a break for some snacking / breakfast. Satara is on NH4 and from there on the drive back is pleasant and smooth.

Activities & things to do
The temple is worth a visit certainly. But check for festivals and other events on the Hindu calendar before you head. Some times it can get crowded quite a bit. I am not too much of the religious type to believe in all the make believe rituals that are peddled around in our temples. But there are significant things that have happened around this holy place. Typical temple in many ways when it comes to people like the touts and all. In fact for a first timer some of the interactions on average can be unpleasant. The Bhima river has plenty of water in it. If you have time on hand, you could have a picnic at a nice spot. In fact there is a nice dam on the way on NH9

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc.
- Decent places to have food once you cross Pune are non-existent practically on NH9. - We stayed in a hotel called 'Hotel Kinara'. Typical hotel in a small city. Decent when built but run-down with very little in maintenance spending. - Food is a huge issue in Pandharpur. There is not one clean place that I could find. But maybe you will be luckier! Destination visited: 21st Mar 2009; Distance - to and fro from Mumbai is c. 850 km.

  
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