The best way to experience peace and tranquillity of this holy place is to sit on the steps of the ghat in the evening by the river and chant ‘digambara, digambara, Shripad vallabh digambara’. I’m confident you will carry these memories back with you only to come back again.
Narsobachi Wadi (नरसोबाची वाडी) or Narsoba Wadi (नरसोबा वाडी) or Narsimha Wadi (नृसिंह वाडी) or Wadi (as is is lovingly called) is situated 51 kilometres from Kolhapur. This place is famous as the abode of Shree Dattatreya. This holy place is at the confluence of Krishna and Panchganga rivers.
This village is a major tourist hub for many who love to see the confluence of the two rivers Panchganga and Krishna. With a lot of archaeological value this became a major pilgrim spot when Shri Dattatreya in his Narsinh Saraswati incarnation is believed to have lived here for as long as 12 years. There are no images or idols here which show his presence. But there are two padukas or slippers which immortalize this great saint.
It is said that this whole area was actually a thick forest earlier. Those days Narsinh Saraswati Swami was here in penance. The temple in fact goes back to around 500 to 600 years. There is lot of offering in the temple everyday from dawn. There is a great puja with leaves and the golden crown here is worth a look. The palanquin here is taken out with a lot of hymns that are sung. There is a story that goes behind the temple here.
It is said that Sripad Swami had told a lady who belonged to the Brahmin community that she had to devote her entire life to Lord Shiva. She did this and she was born in a place which was near Akola. The family where she was born was of pious nature and they called here Amba. She married Madhava Sharma who was another pious man. She became a very dedicated devotee of Lord Shiva. She had a son who did not cry at birth. Instead the baby said Aum. Everyone was amazed that the baby said the eternal sound. So everyone believed that this was the incarnation of the Lord himself. They called the child Narahari meaning the person who dispelled miseries. This Narahari could not speak and one day he signaled with signs that he wanted to have the sacred thread ceremony. He learnt the Gayatri mantra, and became a Brahmacharaya. Narahari under the advice of his mother went to beg alms and then took sanyas and renounced all the worldly pleasures.
In this way he showed that life is very short and we have to have the attitude of self realization. And with such thoughts Narahari became enlightened and blessed his mother with the sight of his actual divinity.
His mother when she saw this form was reminded of her previous birth and recognized him as Sripad who had saved her from committing suicide. She was happy that she had become his mother in this birth and asked him to stay till they got more kids. Soon everyone started coming to worship him and they all leant the art of self realization. After his mother had more kids, he put on his sandals and went to renounce the world. He went to Badrinath via Kashi and then after accepting His Holiness Swami Krishna Saraswati as his guru he took the vow of Sanyas. Thus he came to be known as Narsinh Saraswati.
Narsobachi Wadi is one such place where he stayed and it is today a place of a pilgrimage. People normally come here when they are very troubled and upset and they get a great sense of spiritual and religious rebirth. There are many more places like Gangapur, Audumbar, which are believed to be great pilgrim spots where this holy man has lived.
The absolutely sublime ambience and the peaceful surroundings of Narsobachi Wadi make this place a great pilgrim spot. The messages that are given here are that we should attempt to come closer to God through devotion and that the mind should be used to purify our thoughts. We should never hurt anyone in this world by action or deed and always we should consider ourselves blessed if we have the blessings of a guru. It is important that we understand the true value of life and realize that there is God residing in our own heart.
My personal experience:
My wife, once depressed with my misappropriate behavior, went to Narsobachi Wadi along with my kids to find answers to her questions. She took a bus from Swarget S. T. Stand at Pune and landed in Wadi (as it is very commonly called by the localities) in the late evening. It was raining cats-n-dogs when she reached but as she moved into the S. T. Stand at Wadi the rain stopped. She then tried to find accommodation for her and came to know all the hotels/bhaktnivas were full. The Bhaktnivas run by the temple made one small room available to her. With not much money with her, she was economizing on everything. Next day early in the morning she took ‘darshan’ of the deity along with my kids and was desperately thinking how feed my kids as they were very hungry. My wife and my son demanded a simple meal at the feet of Narsinh Saraswati Swami and to their surprise this wish was heard by the wife of the pujari at the temple. She invited my wife, my daughter and my son to her house and after preliminary introduction offered a full blown meal. A meal which contained rice, dal, bread (chapattis), 3 types of vegetables, salad, chutneys, curd, sweet dish and the most important thing ‘love’.
Yes this can happen only in Wadi. If your demands are ‘satvik’ they will be immediately fulfilled. From that day this place has become my second home. Today things have changed and our lives have changed for good. Our financial position has changed drastically and all this has happened because of the blessings of Narsinh Saraswati Swami (we lovingly call him ‘dutta maharaj’).
Yes this is a truly blessed place. No doubt about it and I’m sure many of my fellow travelers must have realized this from time to time. They will keep coming here every now and then. They know ‘dutta maharaj’ will solve their problems. That’s the belief and has been realized by them from time to time.
I strongly urge my friends to make a visit to this place at least once in their life time. I’m sure your goal to find peace with yourself will end here. I refer this place as an Epitome of Spiritual Destiny.
How to Get Here:
This place is accessible by MSRTC buses from Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur, Miraj, Sangli, Jaysingpur, Nipanni and Hubli. I request you to check the departure timings from Mumbai, Pune Kolhapur Nipanni and Hubli but you will find regular MSRTC buses from Miraj, Sangli and Jaysingpur.
This place is also accessible by railway from Kolhapur, Pune and Mumbai. The nearest railway station is Jaysingpur and is just 12 kms away. Only passenger trains stop here and so the next best place to alight are from Miraj or Sangli. There are 10-12 trains stopping here throughout the day and you will find one suitable to your need. I recommend you to use this railway option only if you are low on cash as these trains will take most part of your day travelling. MSRTC buses are the best option as they save a lot of time. [Time taken by a direct MSRTC bus from Swarget to Wadi – 5hrs while railway will take at least 6-8 hrs.]
There are private bus operators plying regular bus services from Nigdi Pradhikaran to Jaysingpur. You have a choice of A/c & Non A/c sleeper & seater buses. From Jaysingpur you will have to take MSRTC bus to Wadi (1st bus is at 6.25 in the morning)
Distances in a nut shell:
Pune – Narsoba Wadi (254 Kms), Sangli – Narsoba Wadi (22 Kms), Miraj – Narsoba Wadi (19 Kms), Jaysingpur – Narsoba Wadi (16.7 Kms), Kolhapur – Narsoba Wadi (52 Kms), Audumbar – Narsoba Wadi (53 Kms), Nipanni – Narsoba Wadi (45 Kms), Mumbai – Narsoba Wadi (405 Kms via Mumbai Bangalore Express Highway).
Where to Stay and Eat: