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Ekvira Temple

Lonavla is undoubtedly one of the best tourist spots for a weekend vacation for people from Mumbai, Pune and surrounding areas but the place offers lots more. For those religiously inclined, the Ekvira Mandir is a must-visit place when they are in the vicinity of the twin hills of Lonavla and Khandala. The temple is situated in the Karla Caves, about six kilometers from Lonavla and is also called by locals as the Koli Temple as the shrine is mostly visited by the Koli or fishermen community. However, thousands of devotees of all castes and creed visit the temple annually.

History of Ekvira Temple

The Ekvira Temple is a revered place for the local fishermen community. The deity that occupies pride of place here is the Aai Ekvira, the tribal Goddess worshiped by the Agri community. It is believed that the temple was built by the Pandavas when they visited this part during their 14-year long exile. The Goddess Aai Ekvira once appeared before them and demanded that a temple should be built here but before dawn. The Pandavas, true to their word, built the temple overnight. The devotion of the Pandavas overwhelmed the Goddess so much that she granted their wish that they should never be found out during their exile. According to Hindu mythology, the Goddess is believed to be the avatar of Renuka Devi. The Aai Ekvira Goddess is the Kul-Devata of the Koli and Sunar community.

Significance of the Temple for the Koli Community

The temple attracts large crowds on special occasions such as Chaitra or Navaratri. The vast majority of pilgrims visiting here on these occasions are members of the Koli community. The temple complex comes alive with Koli dances and music with a local folk touch. Another ritual observed here on such special occasions is the offering to the Goddess which is in the form of sacrifice of goats and chickens. The Kolis believe that this sacrifice ritual appeases the Goddess and she keeps them protected from evil and harm.

Location of the Ekvira Temple

The Ekvira Temple is built on a hill and access is therefore not very easy. There are about 500 steps to negotiate to reach the main place. However, the climb is worth the effort as devotees and visitors get a stunning and unobstructed view of the valley below from the top of the hill. Devotees can also visit the powerful Jogesvari Devi kept to the left of Ekvira Devi.  Also, there is a temple situated for the holy feet of the Goddess halfway down the hill. The complex of the temple had three shrines that were similar in structure and all facing west. These three shrines were further encircled by sixteen more shrines of other deities.

How to Reach

By Road

Aai Ekvira Temple is situated about six kilometers from Lonavla. There are many types of transport available from Lonavla main place including private buses, taxis and auto rickshaws. The place is 97 km from Mumbai and 49 km from Pune.

By Rail

The nearest railway station is Lonavla which lies between Pune and Mumbai. Almost all trains stop at Lonavla.

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