|Prati Balaji Temple|
Shri Balaji temple near Pune is an exact replica of the main Balaji temple at Tirupati. It's located at Ketkawle village and is approx. 45 kms away from Pune, Maharashtra. Devotees of Lord Venkateshwara comes here from different corners of the state to take his blessings. Though I had never been to Tirupati before but the essence of spirituality was very much there in the atmosphere of the place. People say that it's the exact copy of the main temple and even the carved sculptures on the temple also justifies that.Only difference is that the main temple at Tirupati is carved with gold and here it's a simple structure, but one can feel the same mystical energy here too. The temple is surrounded by mountains and green fields all around. During dawn the picturesque view of the temple from the backdrop of the mountains provides a refreshing and spectacular experience.
Inside main temple premises, apart from Lord Venkateshwara temple there are four other temples too. Lord Venkateshwara idol is installed in the main temple which is in the centre of the temple premises. Just before the exit gate, temple staff member gives ladoos to the devotees. And if you're visiting the temple between 9am-3pm, then staff members also provides the coupon of the maha-prasad. There is a separate bhavan in the premises only where we get maha prasadam. The quality of the food and staff management is excellent. I recommend if you're visiting this temple then don't miss to take this maha prasadam. It's really very good.
Near by places to visit -
Datta Temple, Narayanpur (10 kms from Prati Balaji Temple)
Narayanpur is famous for this temple as it's the only single headed (God Datta has three heads) Lord Datta temple across country.
How to reach Shri Balaji Temple from Pune-
1) Pune-Bangalore Highway -- Katraj --Shindewadi -- Khed Shivapur -- Nasarpur phata --
Kapurhole village-- Bhor saswad road -- Prati Balaji Temple
2) Pune-Solapur Highway -- Hadapsar -- Saswad road via Diveghat -- Saswad village --
Narayanpur -- Prati Balaji Temple
Both routes are good but if you're taking the 2nd one then you can witness some beautiful scenic views in between the route.
Best time to visit -
Best time to visit Prati Balaji Temple is from July to February. The beautiful surroundings makes this place worth a visit during monsoon time. To avoid standing in long queues for darshan, its always advisable to visit the temple in early morning hours.
Photography is not allowed inside the temple premises but we can take photos from outside.
Temple timings -
Opens at 5 am in the morning and closes at 8 pm in the evening.
Note: Few details have been taken from Google for accuracy.
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