SHRI BALAJI MANDIR
Washim is a district headquarter town in the Vidarbh region in Maharashtra. This small town with the population of about 1.5 lakh, is not fully developed one. However this place has a reference in Padama Purana in Ancient period of Indian history. This was a place where "Vatsa Rushi" performed penance for getting darshan of many Gods including Vishnu, Brahma & Shiva. All the Gods were pleased and came down to bless him. Lord Shiva blessed him and asked "What he want form him? " Vatsa told that he did not want anything as he was very much pleased since all the Gods came and stayed in the form of "Karuneshwara". Therefore all the Gods stayed there in a group called in Sanskrit as 'Gulma' & since Vatsa Rishi performed penance, the name of this place became VatsaGulma. This place was also (knownas) known as Vatsaranya in Krutyug and Vasukpur in Tretayug and in (Dwaaparyugit) Dwaaparyug it was known as Vatsashram. After all there Yugas were over, the name of this place became Vatsagulma and (remain) remained for a long time till the presently known name Washim become popular in this Kaliyug!.
Another (intresting) interesting story which relates to this place(), which most of us do not know is, this is the very place Washim where the king of Ayodhya-Dasharatha, the father of Lord Rama, was once hunting at this place.He was an adept archer and had mastered a subtle skill known as Shabda Bedhi - which means the abilityto strike target by sound alone. Hearing what he believed to be an elephant, Dasharath let an arrow fly, only to kill the young brahmin boy by the name Shravana Kumara. Sharavan Kumara's father, a rishi, cursed Dasharath, saying , "May you too one day know the pain of losing a son". This curse was fulfilled many years later when Dashratha was forced to send Rama into exile for 14 years.
HOW SRI BALAJI IDOL WAS FOUND HERE ?
It is a 200 year old story. A Rajput lady died, and people of her community wanted to bury her body by digging a pit near Chandreshwara Temple, which is presently known as Gopal Cinema Hall. While digging they found a few idols of Gods. On hearing the news the Navab, Hashmat Junng Bahadur, who was governing this place and Deshmukh who was landlord came to the site and asked to dig some more. The idols of Sri Vishnu in the form of Sri Balaji was in the mandir along with Laxmi , Ganesh, Bhrama, Parvati, Mahesha, Shards and Naga were found and taken out from the pit. All the people were very glad and took them in procession to "Kate Veesh" where Sri Hunuman mandir was there. In due course of time all the idols were shifted to a small constructed house where the present Temple has come up.
Vatsagulma : Now Washim , was governed at that time by 3 different persons. East portion was under the Nizam rule, the central was under Peshwas and Western was under Nagpur's Bhosale. The idols were found in the western part of the region on the claim for the idols went legally with Bhosales.
HISTORY OF MANDIR
The Bhosale were going frequently to Bengal to collect revenue as that was under their control. However, they were not successful every time. But then decided to send this time, their trusted and dutiful Sardar - Bhavani Pant Kalu with Chiman Raje Bhosale. Mr. Kalu was knowing that some idols were found in Vastagulma and came immediately there and prayed Sri Vishnu- Balaji idol that if he wins this time in his Bengal War then he will construct a huge Mandir of Him at Vastagulma. With the grace of Sri Balaji , Mr. Kalu was successful in his Bengal war visit and gave all the collection to Bhosale. He told them his wish and vow, before going to Bengal. They agreed immediately and we find now the present Mandir which came up with the efforts of Mr. Kalu who was the founder of this mandir. He also constructed a big tank called Dev Talav very near to the Mandir. The construction went on 12 years and completed in 1779. He lived 90 years (1718-1808) but left his memory in the form of this beautiful mandir to the people of this region. The present Trust is being managed by his 7th generation. Shri Dynanshwara alias Deelip (Dadasaheb) Narayanrao Kalu, who is the chief of the trust. Meanwhile Mr. Bhavani Pant Kalu arranged daily "Puja Naivedyam(offering of food items) and arti to Sri Balaji with the help of the family Priest Mr. Lothe. As per Hindu tradition, the mandir is facing to east direction and therefore from 21st December to 22nd June, period which is called "Uttarayana", daily Sun rays falls on Sri Balaji idol. It is very interesting to note that the trust celebrates all the temple festivals during "Dakshinayana-23 rd June to 20th December every year.
ABOUT THE MANDIR
This one is 238 years old and the height of the idol of Sri Balaji is 4"1/2 feet. The beautiful sculpture on this idol made from back stone, sparkle with ornament on his body. Above the head of this idol , one can see a beautiful Lord Ganesha idol and it's left 2 hand, there are Shankh and Gada. In his right hand there is Chakara. Both sides there are carvings of Dasavataras of Lord Vishnu. On 22nd August 1783 all the idols were installed in the temple with the properly performing "Paan Pratisthanpana". The daily rituals in this mandir since beginning are still continuing which are, playing musical instruments called Choughada, Sanai and Ponga in the early morning, performing puja , dressing Pavaman, Purush Sukta, Shree Sukta and Shree Vishnusahasranama. Before 12 noon Maha Naivedya is prepared for Sri Balaji and after that it is distributed among the present devotees. Evening Aarti is performed and at 9.30pm Shejarati is done. Oil lamp is kept burning 42 hours. The mandir trust has 10 acre of land which include the main mandir and some surrounding area in the town.
Before entering "Garbha Gruha" one can see the beautiful " cut mirror pieces work". Flowers pots. Peacocks, Sun God and Swastik design and some of important items to mention here.
At the North entrance of the mandir , one can see a small balaji idol on the side of the door. Devotees perform puja (worship) here and express their wish which are fulfilled by the Lord Sri Balaji. The water collected after holy bath to the idol, as a tirtha, is distributed among devotees. It is also believed that with this holy water if children take bath they will be free from diseases.