Dev Diwali 2023: Banganga In South Mumbai To Light Up For Tripurari Purnima

Dev Diwali 2023: Banganga In South Mumbai To Light Up For Tripurari Purnima

The nearly nine-century old heritage temple tank — Banganga — in the Walkeshwar Temple complex of Mumbai’s tony Malabar Hill neighbourhood will keep its tryst with Tripurari Purnima this year too

Yogesh PawarUpdated: Saturday, November 25, 2023, 09:24 PM IST
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Pic: ANI

The nearly nine-century old heritage temple tank — Banganga — in the Walkeshwar Temple complex of Mumbai’s tony Malabar Hill neighbourhood will keep its tryst with Tripurari Purnima this year too. This rectangular tank — surrounded by steps on all four sides is flanked at the entrance with large deepa sthambas (oil lamp holding pillars) — where time seems to stand still will come alive with the thousands of diyas lighting up the stairs leading to the water even as an aarti will be performed amid chanting of mantras, clanging of temple bells, blowing of conches and ceremonial drums on November 26 at 6 PM.

Prakash Padgaonkar of the GSB Temple Trust said a special floating stage will be erected for the occasion. “This year, operatic bass and concert singer, radio and TV personality, and author Dr. Christopher Temporelli will be present,” he said adding that several eminent Hindu seers and leaders will also be present on the occasion.

“Built in 1127 AD by Lakshman Prabhu, a minister in the court of Silhara kings of Thane, it was refurbished and enlarged into its current size in 1715, thanks to a donation from Rama Kamath,” recounts Avdhoot Dabholkar of the trust, who points out how the main temple was then reconstructed with a concrete structure.

Pic: PTI

Legend has it that Lord Rama, stopped here while in search of his kidnapped wife, Sita. He  wanted to worship and built a sand shivling to do so. “That is why the shrine is called Walukeshwar (Deity of Sand),” explains Padgaonkar who adds, “Worshipping the Shivalingam needs offering fresh water, so Rama asked his brother Lakshman to fetch it. The latter struck an arrow in the ground which brought the Ganga waters gushing out like a spring. That is why the name Banganga (Ganga which sprang forth with an arrow). It is a miracle that though barely a few metres from the sea, the Banganga water is fresh and sweet.”

The complex of temples around includes the Kashi and Kaivalya Mathhs of the Goud Saraswat community along with several samadhis of various math heads and Advaita gurus of the past like Siddharameshwar Maharaj (1888–1936), his disciple, Ranjit Maharaj (1913–2000), Nisaragdatta Maharaj (1897-1981) and Bhainath Maharaj (1934-2014).

The GSB Temple Trust, which formerly possessed the majority of the complex’s land, is the owner of the tank as well as the main Walkeshwar Temple and the Parshuram Temple. The Temple Trust buildings in the complex still house a large number of GSB families. These include Reges, Anaokars, Mulgaonkars, Kenkres, Sakhardandes, Sukthankars, Kenis, Marudkars, Naiks, Wartikars, Warerkars, Bidikars, Bhendes, Prabhawalkars, and Pagnis. 

Pic: ANI

The space also once hosted the Banganga Festival with the who’s who from the world of classical music performing, remembers a local resident Deepa Rege. “With all these new laws on noise, that has became a thing of the past,” rues the octogenarian who mentions how a Bollywood filmmaker known for his opulent grand film sets grew up in this neighbourhood. “His alcoholic father would beat up his mother, who sent him out after early dinner to save him the trauma of watching the abuse,” she says and adds, “As he sat there, he’d dreamily escape into the world of the make-believe for hours watching people come to perform puja and float diyas in the water. To date, a water body with floating diyas is a recurrent feature of each of his films.”

So, if you want to experience this not in reel but real life be at Banganga this Tripurari Purnima.

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