Pimpleshwar Mahadev (Saldi)
Pimpleshwar Mahadev (Gujarati: શ્રી પીમ્પ્લેશ્વર મહાદેવ) is a historical Hindu temple of Lord Shiva located in the village of Saldi (District of Mehsana), Gujarat, India. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is also called "Mahadev" - The God of all Gods. Pimpleshwar Mahadev is famous for its annual traditional carnival "Saladi no Melo" (Fun Fare) on the last Monday of the holy month of Shraavan (August) in the Hindu calendar. Most temples of lord Shiva have a unique structure called the Shiv Linga which is considered to be a sacred symbol of Lord Shiva. The Pimpleshwar Mahadev in Saldi does not have the usual Shiv linga. Instead it has a Jaladhari - a continuous flow of water from an aquifer below the ground. This natural water flow is considered to be a sacred sign by the worshipers and another indication of the presence of Lord Shiva at this site.
Saldi is located about 60 km northwest of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Saldi is reachable by car, bus or public transportation. Ahmedabad International Airport (AMD) is the nearest airport with domestic and international flights. This temple is famous for its surrounding rural landscape and Pimpal trees, Bili Trees and Vakhada trees of historic age in the surrounding area of the temple. Pimpal trees are particularly attractive and important for Hindu pilgrims to the temple because the decades old trees are considered sacred and symbolize happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck. The temple has not been renovated for at least 100 years, and therefore it portrays an old style outlook that is attractive to pilgrims for reasons of nostalgia and a reminder of a by-gone era.
Salvabhai Patel, son of Teja Patel, migrated from Champaner, Gujarat and raised his family in the area which ultimately came to be known as Saldi. Approximately 200 years or seven generations following the founding of Saldi village, one of the cows of a herder named Petha Patel was found to be regularly releasing her milk over one location under a Pimpal tree, where the Jaladhari water source was ultimately found. In the Hindu tradition, worshipers of Shiva pay homage to the Shiv linga by pouring milk over it. Thus, the cow's offering of her milk at this site without any assistance, led to the people of Saldi to attribute this phenomenon to the presence of Lord Shiva. Since then, the current site of Pimpleshwar Mahadev is considered to be very sacred by the pilgrims and villagers alike, and it has become famous throughout the state of Gujarat over the years.
The first temple or shrine was put in place by Petha Patel of Saldi at this site, dating back to the Hindu Year Sanvat 1143 (approximately 924 years ago). In the following centuries, Pimpleshwar Mahadev gained more popularity as a place of pilgrimage and worship for Hindus across the state of Gujarat. The current building was constructed and renovated by Sayajirao Gaekwad, the ruler of the state Baroda in 1895 during the British colonial era in India.
Campus & guest house
The entire campus for Mahadev is spread over 50 acres. It includes the temples of Umiya, Amba, Lakshmi Mata and Nag-Devta. The Hindu temple has images of Ganesha, Parvati and Hanuman carved in stone and also houses a natural spring that is considered holy. Additionally facilities include an exhibition hall, a meeting room, guest rooms, and a lodging (Bhojanalay). This historical temple awaits renovation to include several additional buildings and creative parks. A move for major renovation is underway and expected to start in near future.
This beautiful Temple is offering Daily Prayer, traditional rituals, Dhoon, Meditation and Aarti to all. Devotees from nearby villages walk to Mahadev regularly....carrying milk, Diya, Dhoop and water in hand and offer to Pimpleshwar Mahadev during Darshan. Many of them being seen walking barefoot! Priest smeared hand made sandalwood paste on forehead of devotees and blessed. Devotees do pradakshina around sacred Pipal Tree ( Fig Tree) and continue meditation and chanting as they do walk. Pimpleshwar Mahadev attracts large number of tourist and pilgrims from all over India, Canada, England and United States of America throughout the year.
Maha Shivratri is dedicated to the worship of Pimpleshwar Mahadev. Devotees celebrate Maha Shivaratri with observing fasting, singing bhajans and Dhoon, maha puja, recital of Sanskrit sholaks, offering of prayers, flowers, fruits, Shreefal ( coconut ), and special food that is prepared in honor of the deity. Brahmin priests performs Ladhu-Rudra Yagna and char prahar ni PUJA in different time of the day and night. Worshiping Pimpleshwar Mahadev or Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity.
Shravan Month Special POOJA
In holy month of Shravan month thousands of devotees visit this Mahadev for prayer and get blessed. Thousands of pilgrim walk to this temple in groups chanting Shiva Mantra and Dhoon, playing traditional musical and dancing. They participate the Darshan of Idol Nandi and Shiva and performed 1-5 rounds of Pradakshina. Devotees Chant Shiva mantra with great shraddha as they offer Milk, water, Dhoop and Bili Patra to Lord Shiva.
Annual carnival - Saladi no Melo
Very special annual celebration of Religious carnival known as "SALADI no MELO" on last Monday of Shravan month is famous worldwide. About quarter million Devotees of all ages, religions and castes get together and enjoy the traditional celebration.
Bili Patra Pooja
Special puja with offering of Bili Patra to lord Shiva is unique tradition. Many Devotee with help of local Brahmin priest offer 108, 1008 or one Lakh Bili patra to Pimpleshwar Mahadev along with mantra recitation. Approximately 10 million Bili Patras offers to MAHADEV reciting "Om Namah Shivay" and Bilvastakam - Shiva mantra chanting during shravan month every year. Volunteers proud to collect these leaves from holy BILI TREE from forest of panchmahal and across the state and get blessed for great contribution.
Bili Patra are leaves of Bili (Bilva, Bel, Bael, Vilvam or English - wood apple tree ) and offer to Mahadev - મહાદેવ seeking good health, prosperity, satisfaction in current life and to destroys all sins committed during past three lives and attain Moksha - salvation (મોક્ષ ).
Mundan or Chudakarma is the ceremony in which a child's head is shaved for the first time, leaving a tuft or shikha on the crown. It is said that birth hair carries undesirable ideas and traits from past, so they need to be removed and new ideas full of eminence should be grown instead. Mundan is one of the rituals performed at Pimpleshwar Mahadev. People come to Pimpleshwar from far and wide to have this ceremony performed for their child.