A walk to serenity in the campus
The Sunrays shimmered on the ripples that the gushes of wind created on the surface of the Powai lake. It resembled a group of kids at play their utter commotion lead to a beautiful calm which is beyond expression. This was my first day at the campus, where I was surrounded amidst the excitement of being there and the remorse of being away from home. The calm of the surroundings settled into me and the battle between my past and the present came to a truce.
Not only me but anybody who has been to IIT must have felt this magical setting that the lake and the surrounding hills create. Nature has spilled its riches lavishly on the area. The lush green vegetation and varied fauna that resides it makes it a delight to nature lovers and photographers. The varied chirps of the birds from the unattended greens and the sounds the winds create when they blow past them puts nature’s raw symphony at show.
At one end of this lakeside walk is a temple about which some of us know, some of us don’t. Some of us have been there and some of us haven’t. The temple is known as the Padmavati temple. The temple with its present look may seem to be a recent structure but it has a very long history. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, the temple dates back to the 10th century. The stone inscriptions found from the bed of the Powai lake in Sanskrit and Marathi also establish the same. The experts believe that these inscriptions date back to the Yadava period of 700 years back. The temple is believed to have been maintained by Simhappa (a Mahasamant or chief), under the Silhara Kings. According to the belief, the present IIT Campus was the agricultural land donated by him to the temple. Earlier the temple was known in the name of Nagajesvara Swami (Lord of the Daughter of Himalayas). Chattrapati Sivaji later installed Goddess Padmavati’s idol and from then on the temple became famous after her name. The temple premises still hosts the idols of Nagajesvara Swami and Lord Ganesha. The deity has a striking resemblance to Mumbadevi at Bhuleshwar after which the city is named. This also indicates that the temple is very old.
Padmavati Devi is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. The word Powai is thought to have been derived from the word Poumw, a corrupted form of the word Pouma which means Padma in Sanskrit. The Devi Chalisa (Prayer to the Goddess) mentions her name as Pawaiswari on which it is believed that the locality is named.Lakshmi (the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity) has showered her blessing in abundance in the area. Originally a central village Powai has grown prolifically and exponentially in recent years to become one of Mumbai’s most upmarket commercial and residential hubs. Powai also is a start-up hub and a home to state of the art institutes like IIT Bombay and Nation Institute of Industrial Engineering.
Powai as a whole has undergone a lot of changes, from a quite valley village to a bustling township. IIT Bombay too has undergone a lot of changes since its inception. The Temple has stood through time as an observer of these changes. Among the tall high rise of the Hiranandani on one side and the veteran mountains on the other, it plays a balancing role somewhere. The calm that you can find here with the mango grove and the lake surrounding it, is in complete contrast to the pace at which the world moves on JVLR outside. Even to the stressed life at IIT, it provides that breath of relaxation. Not many people know but the temple premise hosts a Chakravyuha that was made to enhance the concentration of the visitors.It is an ideal place for meditation and yoga.
To sum it up it’s a great place to spend some quiet mornings and some depressed evenings if any. The place oozes positivity not only because of its religious significance but also due to its immaculate setting. Our lifestyles of running endlessly with newer goals every minute without even realising the relevance of these goals do not give us enough time to introspect and take a step back to analyse the problem in a different prospect. This place just gives you that space. Walk into this place and let this place take over. Do give a visit to the place and before you do that toss that cell phone as far away from yourself as possible.