Karanja is located in North-Central Maharashtra in Washim District. It lies just off the main State Highways connecting Shegaon, Nagpur, Amravati, Akola, Aurangabad, Nanded, and Adilabad. It is just 30 kilometers from the main Central Railway line from Mumbai to Howrah (via Nagpur).
By Railway - From Bangalore - there are 4 train operating between Bangalore and Nagpur. Alight at Nagpur Railway Station.
After reaching Nagpur, one has to board a Mumbai bound train to reach Akola or Murtijapur stations. The journey takes approximately 4 hours. After reaching Akola or Murtijapur, an hour's bus ride will take you to Karanja. Alternatively, there are ST buses that directly operate between Nagpur and Karanja & the journey takes 4 hours.
The nearest broad-guage railway stations to go to Karanja are Murtijapur and Akola. These are located on the rail route between Mumbai and Howrah (via Nagpur).The journey by train takes approximately 12 hours. After reaching Akola or Murtijapur, an hour's bus ride by the ST or private bus will take you to Karanja. From Murtijapur, you can also hop aboard a narrow guage train from Murtijapur to Karanja on the Yavatal line - more popularly known as the 'Shakuntala Railway'.
Accomodations Dharamshala (Lodging/Boarding House)
Temple Priests It is not uncommon for the temple priests to invite visitors to stay at their homes for short periods of time. Please provide advance notice of your visit so arrangements can be made
Shri Nrusimha Saraswati Gurumaharaj is the 2nd avatar (incarnation) of Lord Dattatreya. Born in Karanja, He travelled far and wide in what are now known as the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. He achieved Sainthood and performed several miracles. He imparted spiritual knowledge to his disciples, many of whom themselves attained Sainthood.
The Gurumandir Temple conducts several major events to celebrate the various avatars of Lord Dattatreya. Over the past 70 years, Gurumandir has become a nucleus for religious and social welfare activities in the North Maharashtra (Vidarbha) region.
Shri Nrusimha Saraswati spent most of his life in the Krishna-Bhima basin, which today comprises the tri-state region of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He had divine powers and the common people from all walks of life experienced his divine abilities over a long period. He had many disciples and his work in vitalising the 'Sanatan Vedic Dharma' was remarkable. He rigorously practised the 'vedic' rituals in his daily life.
Shri Nrusimha Saraswati Maharaj is truly regarded as one of the great pioneers of 'Guru-Parampara'. He preached and convinced the total devotion and unflinching faith in one's `Guru' as the surest path to attaining 'moksha'.
Karanja, Narsobachiwadi, Ganagapur, Oudumber, are some of the prominent places where Shri Nrusimha Saraswati stayed and preached his disciples. He ended his 'avatar-karya' at Shri Shailyam in Andhra Pradesh by wading into the great Krishna River. He told his disciples that some flowers would come back from the river at the place where he entered the river. Exactly as he told, the flowers came and the disciples took them back as 'Prasad-pushpa'.
His life spanned over the late 14th century and greater part of 15th century AD. The 'Guru-Parampara' continues ever after.
Sage Karanj and the legend of Rishi Talav Sage Karanj had his hermitage here and hosted pilgrims and travelers. He was the famous disciple 'Patanjali' of the great saint 'Vashishtha'. He came to be known as Sage Karanj because his hermitage was situated in Karanj-van. Sage Karanj observed that scarcity of water resources caused great discomfort to pilgrims traveling through Karanja. He started digging a tank to collect rain water as well as water flowing from nearby streams and rivers. Goddess Renuka was immensely pleased with Karanj Rishi's efforts. She blessed him that the tank would have water as sacred as that of the famous rivers such as the Ganga, Godavari, Sharayu, Tapi, etc. She blessed that anyone drinking water from the tank would invariably attain 'moksha'. The tank exists even today and bears the name "Rishi Talav".
River Bemblaa A small river, known as 'Bembla', originates in Karanja. According to local folklore, the river flows underground for a few miles, before appearing overground. The river too is of historic significance. The river was formed from the drops of the river Yamuna when Yamuna was traveling with Sun, her father. Thus, the water of the river Bemblaa is considered very sacred due to its Yamuna heritage. Nature has granted generous water resources around the town. There are ponds (small lakes), on all sides of Karanja, which store rain water. They lift the underground water levels and are also watering points for cattle, wild animals, and birds.
Goddess Shakti made Karanja a permanent abode through her various avatars such as Kamakshi, Ekviraa, Chandravati (Gauri), and Yakshini. It is also stated in the 'Skand-Purana' that 'Chandra' (Moon) was asked to perform penance in Karanja to be relieved of the curse for his evil conduct with his 'Guru-patni', Tara. During his penance, Chandra built a temple for Lord Shiva and a water tank - named as the Chandreshwar temple and Chandra Talaav, respectively. Legend has it that due to the blessings of Sage Karanj, all species of snakes are full protected from their traditional enemies such as eagles and vulttures. In gratitude, the snakes blessed the residents of Karanja with full immunity from snake bites.
Other temples in Karanja The town boasts of several temples, some more than a 1,000 years old. Some of the more prominent ones are Shri Siddheshwar, Shri Chanreshwar, Shri Nageshwar, Shri Kamakshi Devi, Ekvira Devi, Yakshini Devi, those of Shri Ram (built by the famous Kannav Family of Karanja), Shri Vitthal, Shani Maharaj, Maruti and Shri Dattatreya. There are also a few old 'mathas'. Karanja is also a famous pilgrim centre for the Jain community. There are three beautiful Jain temples in Karanja.
Digambara Digambara Shripada vallabha Digambara; Digambara Digambara Avadhootha Chinthana Digambara.