Friday, July 16, 2010

A Flashback To Valawal : Aug 2002

My family was invited for a Vishnu Yaag by a very spiritual soul and seeker Prakash Desai, who is lovingly called Prakash Maharaj by people who know him. His grandfather had performed a Vishnu Yaag and so he wanted to do it at his native Valaval / Walawal. This was sometime in the month of Aug, 2002. This was the ideal time to visit the little village in the Konkan belt of Maharashtra.

We travelled from Mumbai to Kudal by the Konkan Kanya. My first trip on the Kokan railway route. As we stepped out of the Kudal railway station our expectations of a wonderful experience were set high. We hired a Mahindra jeep to take us to Valaval. Through winding dense greenery dominated by rainforest the jeep hurtled into the temple compound and stoped with a screech in front of the Deepshikha of the Dev Narayan temple.

Photo in this post credited to chocolatesalil

Laxmi Narayan Mandir - Walawal
 Dev Narayan Temple
source: chocolatesalil

It was a typical coastal architechture with Mangalore tiles. A huge mandap as one enters it with built-in seating along the walls. One step up is the podium to perform pooja and inner most is the garbh gruh or sanct sanctorium.

The idol is made from sand is what legend says. The peculiar thing about this idol is that Laxmi is a small idol at the feet of the large Vishnu idol. Which is unsual as Laxmi is always seen as an equal partner of the lord but not here!

From the rear side there is a side door from where one can walk down a few steps towards the beautiful lake. One can barely see the other shore. During our stay at the temple we almost every single day sat on the edge of the lake enjoying bhajke ChaNe (roasted bengal gram) and NaraLi Pak. It was the season of breeding for birds and we saw lots of woodpeckers, kingfishers and pelicans. Spectacular colorful birds and treat for the eyes. I have rarely seen so many different birds on a tree before. We did not need to do any stunts to get a view.

Walawal Lake - Walawal village
Valaval Lake 
On one of the day's we visited a nearby hill home to the Mauli Devi. It was a shocking site to see a huge well filled with wood offerings. Some in the form of toys, books and some errie ones shaped as organs. People in this region believe that Mauli can grant any wish, she can heal any disease and solve any problems. The common man exploits this belief and interpret as wanted. Some come here to offer wood offerings and wish to harm another person. It gives deep insights in the psyche of the people of this region and how deeply they are involved in the occult sciences.

The hill is covered with rainforest and makes for a good trekking trail. we walked around a bit and then returned to the temple.

Walawal Forest
Valaval Forest

We visited a the Datta Mandir built by Tembe Swami in Mangaon. My father was discussing something really deep with the priest but I don't recollect much. The temple spells a strong Kokanasth Brahminical way of life even today.

The Vishnu Yaag was attended by people from the neighboring areas in large nos. In the late evening we went to bed listening to the bhajans being sung in the temple by the village folks. It was an amazing cultural and rural experience in Walawal and I always recollect it with warm memories.

Valaval google map

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