As you explore the depths scuba diving with your tank of oxygen, you come across ancient temple walls full of inscriptions from a bygone era.
If you visit the ancient city of Dwarka, off the coast of Gujarat, the thrill could well be yours.
The Pune Mirror reports that the Maharashtra state government has decided to explore underwater tourism in the area near the Ujjani Dam. The villages that were submerged, also house a prized temple, set up sometime between the 9th and 11th century AD.
The Ujjani Dam was built in 1969, and the area around it was submerged. It is one of the biggest reservoirs in Maharashtra, supplying drinking and irrigation water to the districts of Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur.
Although the submerged villages were not attended to at the time, they have become an ideal spot for underwater tourism. There will be beautiful underwater relics on display, as well as scores of migratory birds, especially near Bhigwan.
The consent to use the land near Indapur for underwater tourism development will see the area open up for sight-seeing as well as scuba diving and boating, according to Deepak Harne, Regional Manager, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) Pune region. Landscaped gardens, watchtowers and camping facilities will be a part of the experience.
Well, these are the areas that will open up for tourists:-
1. Palasnath Temple:- Situated near Palasdeo village, this ancient structure, dated between the 9th and 11th century, was built by Chalukya Kings. Created in a Hemadpanthi style, the temple has beautiful stone carvings.
2. Pedgaon Village:- This village has one fort, known as the ‘Fort of Pedgaon’, or “Bahadurgad’ or ‘Dharmaveergad’. There are five temples in the fort, two of which are known as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, and Baleshwar Temple. The former is a great example of carved pillar architecture, with images of animals adorning the temple walls. There is a Ram Temple, which has rare stone carvings of Sita, Laxman, Hanuman and Ravan.
3. Wangi village:- The Tulja Bhawani Temple is situated in this village. Its ruins are of incredible archaeological interest and the inscriptions are significant too. Wangi has four ancient temples for different deities-Siddheshwar, Khandoba, Lakshmi and Nagnath.
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There are other villages here, namely Pomalwadi, Parewadi, Kugaon, Bitergaon, Dhokri, Kondhar-Chincholi, Takli and Chikhlathan. They all have temples that remain submerged underwater.
The backwaters of Ujjani Dam are famous for bird watching, especially flamingos. It has other species of birds like ducks, herons, egrets, raptors and waders. More than 230 species of migratory birds are found here, including rare ones like the bar-headed geese, painted storks, demoiselle cranes, etc. The birds can be seen in the winter season between December and March.
As of now, these prime spots near Ujjani dam, Maharashtra, don’t have places to stay for tourists, but the state government hopes to fix that soon. An officer from the water resources told the Pune Mirror that the land would be leased for tourism at a nominal rate, the profits from which will be ploughed back to use for the protection and preservation of neglected tourist sites.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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