The temple of ‘Bhuleshwar’ (which literally means “where even god forgets”), located atop a small hill on the outskirts of Pune, is not one that is easily found on tourist maps and catalogues. Once you reach there, however, you realise that it must have been a magnificent temple of great beauty in its prime. The sculptured grey rock lends a keen austerity to the temple, and 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 interesting sculpture 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.
Late in the afternoon, I came across an ash-covered, rudraksha-laden sadhu wandering around the shrine, with dreadlocks nearly reaching his feet. 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 behaviour, 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 a few years ago. 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 really stood for-- unrelenting faith in a world full of chaos.