ADMAPUR OF BALU-MAMA : AN IMAGE OF PANDHARPUR
An imposing red granite arched Maha-Dwar (Great Door) welcomes the traveler near Adampur on the northern side of the Nipani- Radhanagari bus route. It is the entrance door to the famous temple of saint Balu-mama. A traveler passing by this route cannot resist the temptation to pay a visit to this temple. When he enters the door, he sees a grand spacious prayer hall that can accommodate hundreds of people. There he sees a number of verses in Marathi decorating the walls of the hall, introducing the visitor to the life and philosophy of the saint. He is completely absorbed in reading them. Then his glance is cast on the very pleasing image of Balu-mama in the centre of the sanctum sanctorum. To the right side of his image can be seen the image of his guru, Mule Maharaj of Gargoti, to his left side are the images of Vittal and Rukmini and nearby is the image of Halasiddhanath. The visitor automatically joins his both hands in reverence and supplication.
Inside the sanctum there is a raised rectangular stone structure called Samadhi, built over the mortal remains of the saint. Foot printe carved in stone (called padnkas) decorate the top of the structure. Wooden slippers are also kept nearby as objects of worship.
To the right side, on the wall of the prayer hall are exhibited in a glass protected cup-board various articles and clothes used by the saint during his life time photos of the saint depicting him in various stages of the shepherd life are also seen decorating the walls.
Nobody is allowed inside the sancturn with out the ritual ablution. Hence respects are paid from the outside only. After the respects, the visitor is given a little sanctified water or teerth and bhandara (turmeric powder ), characteristic of the shepherd tradition, is applied to the visitors forehead by the person sitting there. There is no custom of paying dakshina (money offering). Nothing is expected and nothing is accepted from any visitor. However a box is kept on one side for those who want to pay something of their own will.
Cocoanuts offered by the devotees are returned to them as 'prasad', articles intended by the devotees as offering to the temple are however accepted and kept. So also are food-offerings. Devotees usually perform perambulations around the temple.
There is an image of Dattatraya installed under the fig (oudumbar) tree to the south of the temple.
A two-story building is constructed for devotees who wish to stay for the service of the temple. It stands just behind the main temple, To the east of the temple there is a spacious open ground. A stepped pillar stands there for lighting of lamps. There is a big peepal tree with a raised structure around its trunk to the south of the temple.