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Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

SaptaShrungi Devi Temple, Vani























The Saptashrungi Devi temple is located at Vani near Nashik in Maharashtra. This temple is one among the 51 Shakti peethas located on the Indian subcontinent. The Devi is said be swayambhu (self-manifested) on a rock on the sheer face of a mountain. She is surrounded by seven (sapta-in Sanskrit) peaks (shrunga-in Sanskrit), hence the name- Sapta Shrungi Mata (mother of the seven peaks). The image of the Devi is huge-about 10 feet tall with 18 hands, holding various weapons. The idol is always coated with Sindoor, which is considered auspicious in this region.















She is believed to be Mahishasur Mardini, the slayer of the demon Mahishasur, who took the form of a buffalo. Hence, at the foot of the hill, from where one starts climbing the steps, there is the head of a buffalo, made is stone, and believed to be that of the demon. It is believed that the Devi Mahatmya, a sacred book which extols the greatness of Devi and her exploits was composed at this place by the sage Markandeya, who performed rigorous penance on a hill opposite the one on which the Devi resides, which is now named after him.

The temple, which sort of sticks to the cliff, is 1230 meters above sea level. There is an old path with steps cut out of the mountain, which starts right at the foothills, at Vani and goes all the way to the mountain. However, now, a motorable road has been built, which goes up to an altitude of 1150 meters. From this place one has to climb around 500 steps to reach the shrine, which only takes about forty five minutes. For those who cannot climb even this, there are “dolis” (chairs carried by 4 people) available at Rs.200/- for the two-way trip.

Update: 24th August, 2012: I recently visited the temple once again, and there have been a few changes. There is now a separate set of stairs for climbing up and coming down, and this has considerably made things easier and less confusing. Also, many readers had asked me about the proposed ropeway. Yes, there is a ropeway, but it is only meant for goods, not for people. There are still dolis available, though the rate is now higher - Rs. 400 to 500, depending on how well you can bargain. There is also a Bhakta Niwas, and also some other hotels and lodges, but I was unable to get any more information due to time constraints. You can read my new post to read a more detailed account of my experience. 






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Comments

  1. Anu your information on religious places is ver useful, especially on the Saptashrungi temple. Thanks

    Heramb

    ReplyDelete
  2. your info is good...but i would like to know more travel details from chembur,mumbai....and also details about stay there.
    sudhajayaraman

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,sudha
    you can catch a state transport bus from dadar to nashik.and again u have to travel from nashik to saptshrungi gad or vani village by state transport.
    or else you can travel by travel agency.
    if you need more info then you leave the comment.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Anuji

    The info abt SaptaShrungi Devi Temple was good and refers as a guide for travellers. Well it nice to also add the near by railway station or any landmarks around it and the time of journey to reach there.

    -Ratna

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Anuji,

    Thanks for the SaptaShrungi Devi Temple info. It acts as a traveller info and it better to provide nearest railway station or any landmark and kms frm there.

    -Ratna

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thankyou so much ...
    to put this info on the internet

    Bolo Ambe Mata ki Jai

    ReplyDelete
  7. hi
    im confused plz dnt mind may be i m very superstitious kind of person but how come a male member bathe the goddess as she is a female??? the pandit over there is touching her body cleaning her dressing her etc i know she is our mother but then also there are ladies too to dress her up if u believe in god then you must believe there sculpture real too if i m now wrong plz clear my query.

    ReplyDelete
  8. hi
    im confused plz dnt mind may be i m very superstitious kind of person but how come a male member bathe the goddess as she is a female??? the pandit over there is touching her body cleaning her dressing her etc i know she is our mother but then also there are ladies too to dress her up if u believe in god then you must believe there sculpture real too if i m now wrong plz clear my query.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Temple is open from 5.00 am to 11.00 pm, but in navratri it is open for 24 hrs.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Vaishali,

    It,s not matter of who is dressing up, its the matter of belief. And if you see in any Goddess Temple in India, only Mens are dressing up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nicely narrated! Appreciated!
    Sunil Ganpule, Borivali, Mumbai

    ReplyDelete
  12. hello, can you please tell me where to stay in Saptshrungi?? i mean which is good hotel with average or nominal rates?? c

    ReplyDelete
  13. can somebody inform the phone number for inquiry?

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Trust should take steps to have a lift to carry devotees up on the peak of the temple.They can have a good hall where devotees are not disturbed by monkeys.Brahmins should chant Durgapath dailly so that the divinity is maintained.We see clean and huge churches in Europe ,can we learn something from them.
    AJIT C DALVI

    ReplyDelete
  15. well, the point is debatable... and as always there is a clash between tradition and modernity... in spite of all the conveniences available, the steps, and even people to carry elders, dolis, etc,there are many many people who still prefer to climb the more strenuous route.. its not just a matter of belief, but also the fact that the more pains u take, the closer u feel to god! the more easier things are, the less faith u have in HIM and the less u depend on him! and also, its easy to talk of building lifts and all, but can you even imagine what it would do to the mountain and the ecological impact? europe is after all, a different place, with different beliefs, and also different people. It is our people, and in fact, we ourselves who are responsible for the state of our temples. if we woulndt throw things all over the place, our temples wouldnt be dirty...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very well said

      Delete
    2. Yes..we are responsible to make place untidy and undisciplined.people feel happy to climb.....only it is the case with people who wanted darshan and are unable to climb.....let us see how we can maintain our India.

      Delete
  16. just had a  darshan there, very nice ambience , very good darshan.... and a good news for those who cant climb 500 stairs, a ropeway construction is going on.....jai mata di

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the update, Anand! the ropeway will make it easier

    ReplyDelete
  18. happy 
    SaptaShrungi Devi Temple, Vani

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jai Shri Mataji !

    I wish to explain the significance of this Devi. Like Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur, this Devi is also an aspect of Mahalakshmi, because one of Her names is 'Ashta-dasa-bhuja Mahalakshmi', Here Sapta Sringi Devi is also having 18 hands. She is also considered as Shri Kundalini Shakti who is raising above through Shri Mahalakshmi-tatva and reaching the top and merge with the Paramatma, Omnipresent God.
    Markandeya Maharishi is a great Devi-Upasaka and through this Kundalini Shakti only He got the knowledge of writing Shri Devi Mahatmyam. This was explained by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, founder of Sahaja Yoga. For details pl click Sahajayoga.org

    ReplyDelete
  20. You can check official site and other information here : http://saptashrungi.net/contact.html
    Contact number : 02592 - 253351

    ReplyDelete

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