″A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.”
– Moslih Eddin Saadi
Sri Gnana Saraswati Temple is an ancient temple of Goddess Saraswati located on the banks of Godavari River at Basar. Basar is a small town in the Adilabad district in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the two famous Godess Saraswati temples in India, the other being in Jammu & Kashmir. Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge and Learning. The village is about 50 kilometers from Nizamabad. Children are brought to the temple for the learning ceremony called as Akshara abyasam.
|My nephew: Sashank|
OVERVIEW OF BASARA:
Many pilgrims come to Basara to perform the "Akshara abhyasam" ceremony for the children before they start formal school education. The children perform the exercise of letters, and devote books, pens, pencils notebooks to the goddess of knowledge. The Puja at the temple starts at 4 am in morning with Abhishekam which carries on for an hour. At 5 o'clock they start the Alankarana whereby the new sarees are adorned to the goddesses. The whole atmosphere is very pious and pure. At 6 am, in the rays of the morning sun, the aarti starts at the temple after which the prasadam is given to the devotees.
According to legend, Maharishi Vyasa and his disciples and sage Suka decided to settle down in a cool and serene atmosphere after the Kurukshetra War. In the quest for a peaceful abode, he came to Dandaka forest and, pleased with serenity of the region, selected this place. Sage Vyasa during his stay here used to bring daily three handfuls of sand after a bath in Godavari and kept it at a place, which transformed as the images of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali. It is said that, Saraswati appeared before him and granted blessings. Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma and the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge.
|With my nephew Sashank at Basara temple|
However, according to Brahmandapuranam, Adikavi Valmiki installed Saraswati and wrote Ramayana here. There is a marble image of Valmiki and his samadhi near the temple.
It is believed that this temple is one of the three temples constructed near the confluence of Manjira and Godavari rivers by Ashtrakutas. Historical lore proceeds with the view that, a king of Karnataka, Bijialudu ruled the province of Nandagiri with Nanded as his capital in the sixth century. He was the person to have constructed the temple at Basara.
|Basara temple view|
Various myths about the Basar Saraswati Temple had made it a popular holy place. In addition to that this ancient temple is also renowned for its beautiful architecture. The structural designs of the temple dates back to the Chalukya period. The unique feature of the temple is that there are no carvings. The presiding deity is in a seated position with a Veena in hand and bedecked with turmeric. The temple is also an abode of Goddess Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali, Papahareswar and Pathaleswar.
STORY BEHIND THE NAME OF BASARA:
Since Maharishi Vyasa spent considerable time in prayers, the place was then called "Vasara" and turned into Basara due to the influence of the Marathi language in the region.
Basar Saraswati Temple is a place of adoration of Goddess Saraswati. The festivals celebrated in the temple are in reverence to the goddess of learning. Special poojas and celebrations are held at the temple during Maha Shivaratri, beginning 15 days before (Vasantha Panchami) and continuing 3 days after the festival. Devi Navarathrulu is celebrated for ten days during Dasara. Furthermore, children are brought to the temple before the beginning of their formal education to a learning ceremony called Akshara abyasam.
PLACES NEAR BASARA TEMPLE:
The places to visit near Basar apart from Sri Gnana Sarawathi Devi Temple.
- Godavari river
- Lord Shiva temple at river Godavari bank
- Sri Dattatreya Temple
- Sri Mahankali Temple
- Sri Vedavathi Shila ( Sri Vedavathi stone)
- Sri Vyasa Maharshi Guha
- Basar is a place which offers accommodation at various rates.
- There is a large 100 room Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) Guest House. Rooms are available for Rs. 100 per day.
- APTDC run Punnami hotel is also available for the visitors. For reservations and bookings visit APTDC website.
- Besides these major accomodation facilities, there are about 20 private lodging establishments with an average of 15 rooms each. Air conditioned rooms cost about Rs. 700 per day and Non-AC about Rs. 200.
- Basar Saraswati Temple also has its own accommodation arrangements which can be reserved by writing a letter to the temple authority. To reserve the rooms, please write a letter to Excutive officer along with a Demand Draft of Rs. 200 for Non-AC room and Rs. 500 for AC room, in favour of "Excutive officer, Gnana Saraswathi Devi Devastahnam" payable at "State Bank of Hyderabad-Basar, Andhra Pradesh" Make sure to mention the date, time, duration of stay, number of people and number of rooms you want to reserve. Register post the letter to the following address:
The Executive Officer
Sri Gnana Saraswathi Devasthanam,
Basara - Village: Mudhole - Mandal.
Adilabad. Pin - 504101,
HOW TO REACH BASARA?
- Basar is about 30 km from Bhainsa, 50 km from Nizamabad, 70 km from Nirmal, and 205 km from Hyderabad.
- The temple in Basara is an easy place to visit from Hyderabad.
- The village is well connected through road and rail routes.
- Once reaching Hyderabad, one can travel by bus or private taxi.
- Basara has a railway station and one can reach the village by Secuderabad junction and Mudkhed Junction.
- Road can also be another way to get to the village. Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Buses are available from Hyderabad, Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station and from Jubilee Bus Station, Secunderabad. Buses are frequently available every half-hour.
|Basara temple view|
- I had visit Basar for my nephew Sashank's Aksharabyasam.
- I started with my sister, brother-in-law Sudha Krishna and my nephew Sashank from Secunderabad by Ajanta Express at 6-30 PM.
- We reach Basar railway station around 9:30 PM.
- At Basar station we were almost mobbed by auto drivers. They asked for Rs.10/- per person, and drop us to our hotel at Basar.
- We had a leisurely darshan of the deity in the early morning for the abhishekam. The temple is well maintained and very clean.
- After the Abhishekam, we took ticket for my nephew Sashank's Aksharabyasam, where Aksharabyasam can be done by just taking a new slate or notebook wherein the poojari will bless your child by
- writing the sacred "Om" on it.
- Our next stop was the bank of River Godavari. There is a big statue of Devi at the bank of the river. Here one can hire boats for cruise. Godavari is a sacred river down south. A bath in the river is a must for the pilgrims.
- Then after we took bus to Nizamabad to go Hyderabad.
- Inter city fast passenger which runs from Nizamabad to Kachiguda starts at 2-30 PM and reaches Kachiguda at 2-30 PM. We took the train to conclude our journey.