Wai is a major town on the way to Mahabaleshwar-a famous hill station in Western Maharashtra. I don’t remember how many times I have passed through Wai during my past trips to Mahabaleshwar, or coastal Maharashtra, or during my many treks around this area. Some of the famous forts such as Kamalgad, Vairatgad, Pratapgad, Pandavgad are accessible from Wai. But I never had an opportunity to visit the Wai town and nearby places.
Last month we decided to visit Dhom village to visit Narsinha temple which is quiet ancient. Dhom is situated off a dam built on Krishna river near Wai. The Narsinha temple is in fact part of larger temple complex which is situated off the banks of the river. The complex also has a Shiva temple with a beautiful Nandi in front of the temple. The Nandi is mounted on a large tortoise which inside a lotus shaped pond build out of stone. And Nandi itself is covered by a dome like structure. Very unique. The Narsinha temple is also unique. The temple has two statues of Narsinha-ugra(fierce posture) and soumya(normal posture), on either side. The sanctum sanctorum is located on a tall and large pentagon shaped stone structure.
On the way back, I finally found some time to loiter in and around Wai. Nondescript village called Menwali within stone’s throw distance is historical place. This is built by Nana Phadanvis. He was a famous personality during Peshva regime in 18th century, an able minister under Peshvas The palace is still in use to large extent, and is well maintained by descendants of Nana Phadanvis. It is double storied building built using bricks mainly. It has a court yard. But to my misfortune, the room which is called Rang Mahal could not be visited. This room houses many wall paintings.
Right behind the palace, one can view a grand site of Krishna river flowing, the semi-circular ghat built in stone can be seen. One can make a quick walk to it by the rampart wall. On the far end, couple of temples built during Peshva time can be also visited. This whole surrounding is said to be a famous movie shooting spot. The river, the ghat, temples built in stones, dense bushes and trees, and huge rampart wall of the palace, makes it very very scenic, makes you feel that you have time-traveled back 200 years. One of the temple is Shiva temple, and the other Vishnu temple. One can see a big bell hung right in front of the Shiva temple. This is another thing which I always wanted to see. This bell has been brought by Peshavas from Portuguese’s sea fort of Vasai near Mumbai when he won over them.
After that we got into Wai town itself, we wanted to visit the famous Ganesh temple called Dholya Ganpati temple. In the same premises, one can see Kashi Vishveshwar temple too. This is also located off Krishna river. This river flows through the town, hence never leaves us while in the town. There numerous ghats, and dotted with large number of temples. This probably is the reason why Wai is called Dakshin Kashi.
By the time we were done with this, the Sun had already set, and it was getting dark. We started our journey back to Pune by having a quick halt to have sugar cane juice. I decided to come back again to Wai as only one day is not enough to visit Wai and the vicinity areas.