Gnana Saraswati Temple
LocationThe Gnana Saraswati Temple, also known as Basara Temple is located on the banks of Godavari River at Basar in Adilabad district of Telangana. It is situated around 148 km from the district headquarters and 45 km away from Nizamabad. It is one of the two most famous Goddess Saraswati Temples of India, the other being located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This is an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of knowledge and learning. It is also the abode of Goddess Laksmi and Goddess Kali.
History Of The TempleThe history of the temple goes back to the times of Mahabharata, nearly about 5000 years back. According to a legend, Maharishi Vyasa also known as Veda Vyasaand his disciples with sage Suka decided to settle down in calm and soothing atmosphere after the epic Kurushetra war was over. Therefore, he travelled from north to south and in a quest to found peaceful place, came to Dandaka forest and settled here. He used to meditate very deeply everyday and due to his meditation, this region was also called as Tapobhoomi. One day, in the passage of his meditation, he got the dream of Goddess Saraswati who told him to bring fistful of sand from Godavari River after having sacred bath every day to this cave and keep it as three heaps. After some days, due to true penance and devotion of VedVyasa, the three deities from the three heaps appeared in the form of Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Kali. This idol made of sand has their face marked with turmeric and it is said that eating little bit of turmeric paste will enhance one’s knowledge and perception. Since Maharishi Vyasa spent ample of time in prayers here only, the place was named after him as Vasara, which turned later into Basara or Basar due to influence of Marathi speaking people in the region. It is also said that, according to BrahmandaPurana, Maharishi Vyasa wrote Mahabharata here only. You can see the Maharshi’s idol made of marble and his Samadhi near the temple. It is also believed that this is one of the three temples constructed by Ashtrakutas near the confluence of Godavari and Manjira rivers.
Construction Of The TempleThe temple was first constructed by Maharshi Vyasa only. Then, during 6th century, King Bijialudu, who was the ruler of Nandagiri with Nanded as his capital, renovated the temple. During 11th to 18th century, various attempts to destroy the temples and idols of Basar were done by Mughal Nawabs. At that time, a young man named Sri Makkaji Patel who belonged to the Veershaiva dynasty of Renukapuram with the help of some locals fought against them and thus protected the temple from Muslim invasions.
The main presiding deity in the temple is of Goddess Saraswati, is in seated position with her instrument Veena in one hand and adorned with turmeric. Adjacent to it, is the shrine of Goddess Lakshmi and to the eastern side of it, is shrine of Goddess Kali. This temple does not have magnificent carvings like the other temples in the region. Devotees often go to nearby mountain which bears the idol of Goddess Saraswati on top of the rock. Due to the presence of these three super goddesses, Basar is called as the abode of the holy trinity.
Some Interesting FactsMany pilgrims take their kids to this temple to perform the ‘Akshara Abhyasam’ ceremory before starting their formal school education. The kid performs the exercise of letters and devotes pens, books, pencils and notebooks to the Goddess of knowledge.
Best Time To VisitSeptember to April
Special poojas and celebrations are held during MahaShivaratri, commencing from Vasantha Panchami (15 days before) and continued till 3 days after the festival. Devi Navrathrulu is another festival which is celebrated for 10 days during Dussehra in grand manner. Thousands of pilgrims flock to this place during this time.