I am writing this as a first post under Places near Pune category because after marriage our first outing in Pune was to the Balaji temple near Narayanpur village. It is a replica of the Tirupati temple in all aspects. The priests there have come from Tirupati and every “sevai” done is similar to the one in tirupati. The prasad is the popular bundi laddu – they make only 5000 of them daily – or bundi – if they run out of laddus.
It is almost 40 to 45 kilometres from Pune. You need to take the NH4 Mumbai Bangalore highway towards Katraj then go straight towards Nasarpur phata. The road is really good and you will enjoy the route. You will get a big tunnel on the way to add to your pleasure.
The temple opens at 5 AM in the morning and closes at 8 PM in the evening. Winter and monsoon are the best time to visit but in summers the place gets very hot as you need to stand in queues bare foot for long. The idol of Lord Shri Venkateshwara is magnificent just like the actual idol at Balaji. Overall it is a divine and pleasant experience to visit this sacred place.
Route:From Pune’s Chandani Chowk take turn towards katraj, cross Katraj Tunnel – Shindewadi – cross toll booth (70 Rs both way toll as of Jan 2010)- Khed Shivapur – Nasarapur Phata – Kapurhole village. Take left to join Bhor-Saswad road after Hotel Anand to reach Balaji temple at Ketkawale.
(With parking facility, open space, good food and clean toilets)
- Joshi wadewale -> snacks corner just after crossing the Katraj Tunnel on your right. Tasty food like Wadapav, Misalpav, Tea / Cofee, wada Sambar etc. lots of space.
- Hotel Natraj -> near Khed Shivapur (on your left while traveling towards Satara). Good place for south Indian breakfast. UDUPI management.
- Vanpatre bandhu Bhelwale – Khed Shivapur is also famous for a different kinds of Bhelpuri (not Bombay or Chowpaty style)
There are some places worth visiting near Balaji temple like Baneshwar which is on the way from Pune to Balaji Temple. It is just few kilometres before the Balaji Temple. Baneshwar is famous for an old but beautiful Lord Shiva temple which is situated amidst dense woods. It is a kind of emerging picnic spot for family and friends. There is a big well maintained garden behind the temple and further half kilometre there is a beautiful waterfall which is the main attraction here.
If you want to go ahead then at about 10 kilometres there is a Dutt Mandir in Narayanpur then 7 kilometres from here there is a fort named Purandar fort which is a historical place situated at a height of 700 metres from ground. It is actually has two parts one is called Purandar and the other is called Vajragarh. There are many old and new monuments you can find here. For trekking lovers it is a good spot. The road is not in a good condition so be careful while driving or biking.