Guys, if you are planning to take a road trip to Tuljapur or Pandharpur or Akkalkot then you have to read this blog post. I made an unplanned trip with my family to Tuljapur. The trip was planned for a single day but we extended it for 2 days, and look what all I covered in my two-day trip. This is how I routed the entire trip; Pune - Tuljapur - Naldurg - Akkalkot - Pandharpur - Shikharshinganapur - Pune. I and my family were lucky enough to do so many destinations in just 2 days trip.
Pune to Tuljapur
So my trip started off from Pune with Hyundai i10 Grand. We started at approx 6 am on 21st November making almost 5 hours drive on the Solapur Highway. One of the best routes to drive a car is Solapur Highway, a complete straight stretch of approx. 254 km with a smooth 4 lane road. Early morning drive with winter chill is always a fun drive.
Visit to Tuljapur Temple
We reached the temple at around 11 am. I must say there is ample car parking space and paid toilet facility available, which in turn is clean. We headed towards the temple for darshan and as we entered the line and there was a surprise, we had to take a darshan pass available free near the entrance. So after waiting for half an hour, we headed towards the main entrance back to get the pass (The use of the pass is still unknown). The pass was given as male and female with a barcode on it. Again we got in the line, scanned the pass, and went into mukh darshan queue. After spending almost one and half hour in the line we got blessed and headed towards the exit.
Visit to Naldurg
As I had learnt from my Hyderabadi friend who often drives from Pune to Hyderabad about this fort which is situated on the highway, I planned to visit it. Since it was 1.30 o'clock and we had plenty of time, we decided to visit Naldurg as it was on the way towards Akkalkot. The drive from Tuljapur to Naldurg is approx. 33 km, but due to the decent road it takes almost an hour to reach the fort.
About the fort
I must say, this is one of the well-preserved forts in Maharashtra. Built by Nalraja, Naldurg is one of the important forts in Marathwada region. Many rulers have ruled on this fort out of which Chalukyan Kings, Bahamani Kings, Adilshahi are some of them. Spend at least 2-3 hours it this fort.
Some of the Unique attractions of Naldurg Fort
- Pani Mahal - Dam on the River
- Hulmukh Darwaza
- Upli Buruj - Highest Point on the fort
- Watersports - Believe me, no one has ever seen a water sport in a fort.
- Spacious Interior garden
Please note, enter the fort directly from the highway Google maps sometimes shows a road which drives you through the small roads of the village. There is a small patch being developed directly from the highway towards the main gate of the fort.
Naldurg to Akkalkot
Guys after visiting this wonderful fort, one definitely wants to relax so we headed towards Akkalkot for a stay. Again an hour drive from Naldurg to Akkalkot. I had heard of Bhakta Niwas at Akkalkot but all thoughts went into the vein. The quality of the stay they were offering was not up to the mark. If you have visited Shegaon and experienced the level of comfort and cleanliness they offer in the Bhakta Niwas, then you would probably not like this. Also, a point to note is the Bhakta Niwas and lodges nearby the temple area did not have a attach toilet. Luckily, we found one, a small lodge where the rooms were decent enough and had an attached toilet.
Darshan at Akkalkot
We visited the temple at around 7.30pm, the best time to visit as there were hardly few people around in the temple. So we had a great time inside the temple with no crowd, enjoying our time inside the beautiful temple. The decoration was fascinating, and the tree was lighted with a green light made it look somewhat special.
Please note, do explore all the options to stay in advance as there too many options and you don't have enough time when you are on the field. I stayed at this place.
Akkalkot to Pandharpur
We packed our bags early morning on 22nd November and started our journey to Pandharpur. Again three hours drive 115 approx. km, we headed towards the most fascinating temple of Pandharpur. Once we reached the temple we took the blessing of the lord Vithhal, visited nearby places and headed towards another destination. Again, here we didn't see much crowd and we did 'Mukh Darshan'.
Pandharpur to Shikhar Shingnapur & Gupt Ling
We had heard of Shikhar Shinganapur & Gupt Ling but we never visited this before. So we planned our next destination to Shikhar Shinganapur. Approx. 86 km drive for 2 hours, we reached the destination on the same day. To reach the said destination, there is a small ghat and a dangerous turn near the temple. I would recommend you to park your vehicle before this turn near the shops, as the distance is completely walkable.
After we visited the Mahadev temple at Shikar Shinganapur, we went towards Gupt Ling. Almost 15 minutes or less drive to reach the destination. This is something special and one must visit this temple. What's so special? This temple is situated below the normal earth surface as you need to walk down to reach the temple. It feels as if you are going into another world after you see the hills and the cold breeze, weird trees and the temple. Another speciality about the Gupt Ling is that there is a continuous flow of water beneath the Mahadev Ling.
My trip details on Google Map
Pune - Tuljapur - Naldurg - Akkalkot - Pandharpur - Shikharshinganapur - Pune