The beautiful Anand Sagar complex in Shegaon was developed by the Shri Gajanan Maharaj Mandir Trust on 350 acres of land. Meant to be both a spiritual and recreational haven, Anand Sagar is an impeccably-maintained and stunning complex drawing thousands of devotees from across the country. Home to the revered Saint, Shri Gajanan Maharaj, Anand Sagar is a must-visit for spiritual solace and the chance to find peace in its pristine environment.
Shegaon is a town located in Maharashtra on the central rail line from Mumbai to Nagpur. Situated in the Buldana district of Maharashtra, the town is sacred for devotees of Gajanan Maharaj, one of the saints of the modern era. Although his origins remain mostly unknown, the Saint was first seen in Shegaon in 1878, eating leftover grains of rice thrown out as waste on a plate of leaves.
Gajanan Maharaj was a guru belonging to the Dattatreya tradition. Considered an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya and Lord Ganesha, he first appeared in Shegaon in February 1878. Shegaon became home to the Saint and a place that saw him performing several miracles – bringing a person called Janrao Deshmukh back to life, filling dry wells with water, lighting clay-pipes without fire, curing a man’s leprosy to name a few. It’s no wonder why Shri Gajanan Maharaj is considered a saint with miraculous powers by the Hindus. Gajanan Maharaj took Samadhi on 8 September 1910, a date marked as Samadhi-din by his disciples.
One of the first things that stands out on a visit to Anand Sagar is its pristine and expansive lake. It is a stunning reservoir built out of necessity by the Shri Gajanan Maharaj Mandir Trust to solve issues of water scarcity in Shegaon and the surrounding area. The artificial lake was created by transporting water from Man River, located 9 km from Shegaon, into the Anand Sagar Lake. The project reportedly came at an enormous financial cost for the Trust; however, they persevered, and water tables increased in the surrounding areas of Shegaon.
The Shree Sansthan went several steps further and decided to develop this lake and surrounding areas into a center for spirituality and entertainment for all its devotees. The nominal revenue from the temple complex and recreational centers were channeled back into ensuring the Anand Sagar lake survived and thrived. This was how the Anand Sagar complex as pilgrims know it today came into existence.
With a sprawling area of 350 acres, it is best to reach Anand Sagar as early as 9 am. If you would like to take in all the sights, it’s best to get an early start since the walk around will easily take up an entire day. Anand Sagar makes for a good weekend trip. It can be completed in two days if you live in Maharashtra.
The Anand Sagar premises contain sights such as a temple, a meditation center, an open theatre, fountains, etc. Its most famous attraction is a lively amusement park with a toy train that circles the complex. The complex provides several amenities for its devotees, such as free wheelchairs, umbrellas, and baby prams.
Anand Sagar hosts a few laser and fountain shows in the evening that are immensely popular! The last show at 8 pm is gorgeous and supposed to be the best one.
Anand Sagar is an excellent destination for families looking for a day out. It is home to around 50,000 trees of varying types. The park’s playgrounds are well-maintained and beloved by children tagging along with their family. Some playground fun for the kids, while the parents embark on a spiritual journey – it’s a win-win for everyone. The little ones will also enjoy the fantastic aquarium located inside the area.
Its beautifully-maintained lawns and gardens are a stunning sight for city folks weary of seeing concrete every day! The complex has also been known to provide pillows and a chatai for people to rest – perfect for a quick afternoon snooze before heading out to explore further.
All the exploring and walking around can work up an appetite! And luckily for visitors, Anand Sagar helps with that as well. You can find delicious local delicacies such as the famous Shegaon Kachori and Mava Kulfi here. For those who like to stick to the classics, servings of poha, dhokla, and samosa are abundantly available. But there’s nothing like a good plate of daal-chawal to curb hunger pangs – and the one at Anand Sagar is not only delicious but priced very reasonably as well. Visitors who prefer packing food from home should ensure they only carry vegetarian food inside the complex.
As soon as you pass through the gates, you are greeted by a large copper figure of Lord Ganesh created by fusing numerous lotas together.
Merry fountains welcome you inside the abode of the Saint. His presence is embedded into all aspects of Anand Sagar – in its serenity, architecture, and statues paying tribute to him as well as numerous other saints.
Signs will guide you on your walk around Anand Sagar. Pay your respects at the Ganesh Temple and walk by the lush green lawns that are a sight for sore eyes.
The Shiva Temple at Anand Sagar contains beautiful carvings reminiscent of ancient engravings you’d find in a Shiv temple somewhere in a forest. Its beauty accentuated by colorful flowers swaying in the breeze and greenery around.
In the heart of Anand Sagar is an artificial island that houses the ‘Dhyan Kendra’ or Meditation Centre. On top is an imposing statue of Swami Vivekananda, and below lies a meditation hall. Children are not allowed inside the meditation center. For those who have visited Kanyakumari, the site will remind you of the Swami Vivekananda Centre located there. Make the journey to Dhyan Kendra even more memorable with boat rides that can ferry you on your spiritual voyage. After a quiet commune with yourself and the universe, take a moment to appreciate the stunning views of Anand Sagar and the lake from the island.
The Fish Aquarium is a popular attraction in Anand Sagar, especially with the children. The delightful toy train ride around the complex is a must-do when in Anand Sagar. It’s best to get there as soon as possible since queues for the ride can get long and exhausting.
Head to the Open Theatre Musical Fountain in the evening. The show usually begins around 6:45 pm and goes on to 7 pm. Sink into the green lawns of the massive open-air theatre – a well-deserved rest after all the walking – and enjoy the dancing colors of the fountain’s waters.
The best time to visit Anand Sagar is in the winter. January, February, October, November, and December are considered the ideal months to explore Anand Sagar and Shegaon.
The best way to travel to Shegaon is by train.
The first train from Mumbai to Shegaon is the Gitanjali Express (12859) that leaves at 6 am. This is followed by the Sewagram Express (12139), which leaves at 3 pm. The last train from Mumbai to Shegaon is the Lokmanyatilak Terminus Shalimar Express (18029) at 9:55 pm.
Shegaon Railway station is located on the Howrah–Nagpur–Mumbai line of the Central Railway of Indian Railways. It has direct train connectivity to Mumbai CST, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Mumbai, Delhi, Kolhapur, Chennai, Secunderabad, Okha, Amravati, Wardha, Nagpur, Gondia, Bilaspur, Pune, Tatanagar, Ahmedabad, Howrah Station, Shalimar Station, Chandrapur railway station, and Chennai Central.
The Gajanan Maharaj Temple was built to honor Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj. This magnificent Temple is a testament to how Shegaon has special significance for Maharaj and his devotees. He is so revered in Maharashtra that almost every household in the city houses a small Gajanan Maharaj shrine. The Temple is located 1 km away from Anand Sagar.
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