It’s been almost 6 months since we moved to Baroda (now Vadodara) but just didn’t get time to go around the city for any sightseeing. The outskirts of Baroda offer a lot of scenic beauty at the banks of many rivers that flow in and around the city. I recently went to Galteshwar Mahadev temple to attend a village cluster meeting and was awed by both the temple and the beauty around it but also the legends that get associated with religious structures!
Galteshwar temple is situated at the confluence of two rivers – River Galti and River Mahi. It is said that galti still flows underneath the shiva-ling and one spring of the river galti constantly sprinkles water on the shiva-ling. The Shiva temple of the Solanki era (10 to 13th century), Galteshwar temple is an illustration of the rich architectural heritage of our country. As you enter the temple compound, feast your eyes on the beautiful carved figures of gods, humans, chariots, horse riders and various events of human life. The carvings are much more elaborate on the inside of the unique eight-sided hall, which is the entrance to the temple. But one more thing to notice is the incomplete roof of the temple after the hall. The temple is actually roofless. There are two legends explaining the roofless temple:
It is said that lord Shiva himself constructed the temple, but because he didn’t want anyone to recognize him, he worked during the night but he couldn’t finish it before sun rise and left the temple as it is.
According to another story, Mahmud Ghazni came through this route after looting the temples of somnath and when he saw Galteshwar he destroyed the roof.
As we walked towards the entrance, we saw a cracked nandi statue (see picture).
That again has a story attached, the locals believed the kings had kept jewels in the nandi statue and after the solanki era, the statue was broken and opened for the hidden treasure, however there was none there.
While the temple itself has a lot of religious significance thus attracting crowds of devotees from around the region, the rocky banks of Mahi are also a popular picnic spot and the temple makes a beautiful background. The temple and the banks both complement each other’s beauty and together provide attraction for all.