Sadhu Dressed as Shiva at the Bhuleshwar Temple | Pune | IMG_3114.jpg
Much has been written about the magnificent temple of Bhuleshwar, located atop a small hill on the outskirts of Pune, Maharashtra. Besides its picturesque beauty, the shrine has an almost ethereal feel to it, something that has enchanted generations of devotees. Each sculpture and pillar is carved exquisitely, while the grey rock lends a keen austerity to the temple. Legend goes that this is where Parvati danced for Lord Shiva and it is from here that they left for mount Kailash to be married. An unusual sight that meets the eye at Bhuleshwar is the rock sculpture of Nandi (the bull that serves as the mount of Shiva in Hindu mythology). Curiously, one of the shoulders of the bull is bent towards the left, instead of its usual upright position. On questioning the priest to discover the reason behind this anomaly, I was asked to observe the back wall of the temple. A small window is carved out in that particular wall and through this structural marvel, on a particular day of the year, the sun’s rays enter the temple and light up the gabhara or the inner shrine. Had it been a regular sculpture of Nandi, it would have prevented this revelation from taking place. The finesse in detailing gives this temple its magnificence. Another delightful sight that greeted me late in the afternoon was an ash-covered, rudraksha-laden sadhu with dreadlocks nearly reaching his feet, wandering around the shrine. He seemed to have a deep attachment to the temple; as if he belonged there. However when I tried to follow him and speak to him, he refused to respond. Intrigued by this behavior, I tried to seek out the cause. Most people there had their own opinions; until this old lady 'enlightened' us with what appeared to be the ‘real’ story. She told us that the sadhu believed he was a reincarnation of Lord Shiva, after he survived a snake bite few years back. Since then, he has refused to utter a single word and has vowed to keep silent for the next eleven years. Whether the story was true or not is insignificant. For me, he seemed to represent what the place stood for- unrelenting faith in a world full of chaos. After following him for some time, I got the shot that I was looking for and that just about summed up the day for me.