Saraswati Namasthubhyam Varade Kamaroopini.
Vidya Aarambam Karishyami Siddhir Bhavatume Sada.
Located on the banks of River Godavari, is a small village Basara. Famous for the Gnana Saraswathi temple (only temple in South India dedicated to the Goddess of learning. The temple is one among the two temples of Saraswathi Goddess. The other is in Kashmir), it draws huge crowds who come mainly for the Aksharabhyasam for their children before they start formal schooling. Its a great sight to see all the lilliputs adorned in colourful dresses with slates and chalkpieces in their little hands. (Oh what a sight; else, we only see children holding video game consoles, mouse etc… in their hands). The place was originally known as Vyasapuri after Maharshi Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata. It is believed that the sage Veda Vyasa sculpted the idol of Saraswathi here by bringing handfuls of sand from the banks of River Godavari. Later on it got corrupted to Vasara and ultimately Basara / Basar. Though the temple is not adorned with exquisite carvings and has a small sanctum sanctorum(garba griha), the overall atmosphere is so serene and seems as though theres a great spiritual realm around the temple. The temple also houses the idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Kali. The Vyasa Maharishi Cave,which is within the temple limits only, is another place worth visiting.
We reached Basara from Hyderabad by the Nanded express(260 km is the distance by rail); the overall journey took us about 3-3.5 hrs and the route is rich in flora and the lush green fields were a feast to ones eyes. Having reached Basara, we reached the temple by one of the shared autos easily available at the station. We had a great darshan of the goddess, had prasadam at the temple and then left for a visit to River Godavari. The best thing which one is not supposed to miss out is the morning Abhishekam which is carried out at 4-4:30 a.m. Its an experience of a life time. They allow few people inside the garbagudi by turns, get everyone to recite their gotra and nakshatram in their minds and do the sankalpa, ask everyone to remember all the students they know and pray for their education in front of the goddess, collect the items everyone has got for the abhishekam and use all of them to bathe the Goddess. The recitation of the hymns is also so clear. It is one thing I think which should not at all be missed at Basara. After the abhishekam, we can also collect the thirtham directly from one of the outlets from the garbagriha and also the turmeric which is smeared on the Goddess is given to everyone. This is considered to be very holy.
All in all, it was a great experience for us to have visited this holy place and having invoked the blessings of Gnana Saraswathi, we returned to pavilion with all the beautiful memories fresh in our minds. We made the return journey by bus from Nizamabad, which is easily accessible from Basara(there are frequent trains).
Its been almost 9 months since we had been there but still feels like we visited the place recently; such is the impact of Vyasapuri.