Vajreshwari, the town named after the temple dedicated to goddess Vajreshwari Devi is known for its curative hot water springs emerging from the surrounding volcanic mountains. Vajreshwari Devi is an incarnation of goddess paravati. The ancient temple was supposed to have been built with the belief of the slaying of demon Kalikuli by the goddess. The temple was destroyed during the Portuguese invasion. Present temple is supposed to have been built in the year 1738 by Chimmaji Appa Peshwa, military commander of Peshwa Baji Rao I, who fought and won the Bassein (Vasai) Fort from the Portuguese. The temple is built like a fort.
The temple is located on the bank of Tansa River at the foothills of the Mandagiri hillock, which is supposed to have been formed out of volcanic eruptions, so as the surrounding hills. Due to proximity to the volcanic sites, hot water springs, scientifically attributed to volcanic activity, are spotted in and around the town. Hot springs rich in Sulphur and other minerals attract many visitors for a healthy dip throughout the year. Scenic surrounding made of the mountains, river and the forest adds to the visitors’ delight.
Pilgrims who visit the temple also have a holy bath in the springs, which are referred to as kundas in Sanskrit and are named after Hindu deities like Surya (sun-god), Chandra(moon-god), Agni (fire-god), Vayu (wind-god), Rama (Vishnu’s incarnation), Sita (Rama’s wife and incarnation of goddess Lakshmi – wife of Vishnu) and Lakshmana (Rama’s brother). Temple and the holy dips have converted the place into a pilgrimage center. Many small resorts, guesthouses and home stays offer accommodation and day change facilities for these pilgrims.
Tansa River, that supplies water to Greater Mumbai, has incorporated hot springs within its flow g through the town and people also bathe in the river for its healing properties. Local cuisine and culture can be enjoyed in the town that is a typical Marathi bastion with some some tribes of the neighboring forest.
The temple is surrounded by a stone wall like a fort. Fifty-two stone steps are to be climbed to reach the main shrine. A golden tortoise is carved on one of the steps and worshipped as Kurma, the tortoise incarnation of Vishnu.
Other sightseeing places in and around Vajreshwari Devi temple are Akloli’s ancient Shiva temple, Saibaba temple, Nityanand Swami Ashram, Shri. Gurudev Ashram, Parshuram Mandir, Akloli Kund and Pelhar Lake which is 3 kms from Vajreshwari Devi Temple.
Things to Do
Vasai fort, also known as Bassein fort, is situated about 48 kms north of Mumbai just across the Ulhas River. The fort built during Portuguese dynasty in 1535 was the inspiration for Vajreshwari temple’s architecture. There are seven churches and three chapels in the fort that has two gates-towards the East and the West. The fort incorporates fields that are used for growing grains and vegetables. Vasai fort served Portuguese as the headquarters of their Indian operations. Westward bound Mumbai local train can be taken to reach Vasai. The fort is about a 30 minutes drive away from Vasai Station (West).
Akloli Kund at Akloli is another popular spot for dips. Main springs within the temple complex here are channeled into three neatly constructed cement tanks decorated with colourful tiles. Each pond has water of varying temperatures. The springs are surrounded by an ancient Shiva temple and a Saibaba temple. Being holy, the place is kept clean and hygienic. Ganeshpuri near Akloli has the ashram of late Swami Nithyananda, a learned guru.
Suruchi Beach is an environment friendly clean beach in Vasai. Arnala Beach is a beautiful beach which has become one of the major attractions of the town today. The beach is surrounded by few magnificent churches. Vasai town would never ever get complete without this splendid beach, which has been attracting tourists from far and wide.
Kelva Beach – also known as Virgin Beach, it is a long (about 7 km) stretch of beautiful cost line of Arabian Sea surrounded by abundant Suru trees. It is located 8 kms from Palghar and 85 kms from Mumbai and can be reached by local train. Kelva has a fort and Sheetala Devi temple.
Jivdani Mata Mandir
Jivdani Mata Mandir at Virar is a popular temple of goddess Jivdani, built on a mountain. A climb of 1000 steps takes a visitor up to the temple. The mountain is also used by Para gliders for their activities. Papadkhandi dam and a fort of Shivaji Maharaj are other attractions here. A few resorts are available here for stay.
How to reach:
Nearest Airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai
Nearest rail station is Vasai. Vajreshwari is in Bhiwandi city of Thane district and is 31 km away from the rail station at Vasai. Hot springs are found at 21 places in a radius of 5 kilometers. Akloli is 3 kms from Vajreshwari
State Transport buses ply regularly from Thane and Vasai to Vajreshwari and Akloli.
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