Jejuri is a small town in Pune district in Mahrashtra, India. Nestled at very close proximity of the Western Ghats range, this small town is the abode of one of the most revered temples in the state, known as the Jejuri Khandoba Temple.
Apart from the resilient devotees, people may not even contemplate that this hamlet can hold something really special.
This tiny little town comes alive on every new moon falling on a Monday (Somwati Amavasya). All the devotees offer prayers and celebrate holi with turmeric powder, or Bhandara, as it is locally known. Yes! You have read it right, the holi is celebrated with turmeric powder. The place becomes a Photographer’s delight where one can unearth the treasure of exceptional Indian Heritage and culture in full swing.
This year, the first of such auspicious occasions fell on 27th March (there are two more this year – 21st August and 18th December). My club, Fotorbit India, arranged for a photo trip to Jejuri and I was fortunate enough to be part of this trip.
Jejuri is around 55-60 km from the Pune city so we drove to the place by ourselves. Guided by the experienced and the veteran photographer Mr Arun Saha, 5 photo enthusiasts embarked on this tremendous photographic journey from Pune. In addition to that, we had the privilege to have the renowned photographer Mr Saurabh Chatterjee with us.
Once we reached Jejuri, we could see the temple at the top of a hillock from the below (the temple was built as a temple-fort). The way towards the top is reachable by climbing a few stairs which can be tiring under tremendous heat but it is more rewarding for the photobugs, as one can capture numerous close portraits and action on the streets. One has to be cautious by not spending too much time here itself as the main spectacular event must not be missed.
After reaching to the top, one needs to manage one’s own sitting arrangement on the top of the fortification walls of the temple. The main grandeur would take place right beneath you so an unhindered view is a must.
Under the mentorship of Arun and Saurabh, we really had a hell of a time during the event.
- Once you manage your sitting arrangement, do not leave it as the place is heavily crowded and you may not be able to recover it and loose the opportunities to click some action.
- Have head covers for yourselves and drink lot and lots of water.
- Protective gears for the camera is a must – be ready to get completely drenched in turmeric J
Finally, be part of the next Photo tour of Jejuri organized by Fotorbit India on 21st August. Don’t miss this event if you are a photographer and have a keen interest in capturing a unique aspect of the Indian culture.
Route from Pune to Jejuri Khandoba Temple:
Now the photos:
The devotees touch the Palkhi to be blessed:
The other side of devotion, guards trying to make space for the Palkhi:
The Crowd when the festival is in full momentum:
The Palkhi is arriving:
And the Palkhi has arrived:
Bhandara Festival - Offering in a group:
Some headshots/close portraits on our way up and down (my favorites):