Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The levitating stones

India is a land of  mystics and sages belonging to all faiths and religions. Every mystic, whatever be his religion, has preached tolerance, non-violence, love and respect. No wonder, the resting places of such seers have turned as much into places of pilgrimage as temples and other places of worship.
One such place is Shivapur, a small village in Pune in Maharashtra. The village is renowned for its levitating stone. What is so special about this stone, you may ask.
Well, the stone is quite heavy and it can be lifted easily by eleven men if they say aloud the name of the seer who is buried nearby. What is more astounding is that the stone can be lifted off the ground where it rests with eleven finger tips-one finger of each of the eleven men.
Strange but true. This is the legend of Hazrat Qamar Ali Darvesh and two stones lying near his grave. Both these stones can be easily lifted by eleven men with each supporting the stone with one finger.
If the bigger stone can be raised by just eleven finger tips the smaller can be lifted with just nine finger tips. This unusual phenomenon has been scientifically researched by national and international scientists but no scientific or even rational explanation has been forthcoming.
Lakhs of Indians and hundreds of foreigners, who have heard the tale of the levitating stone, have ended up lifting the stone with either eleven or none finger tips but have failed to solve its mystery.
The grave of the Sufi saint Qamar Ali Darvesh is more than eight hundred years old and even the stones are as old, perhaps a little more older than the structure.
Locals and even the priest of the shrine tells us that there existed a gymnasium at the very place where the saint is buried. Qamar Ali Darvesh belonged to a family of wrestlers and body builders and while every male members of his family took to the family tradition, he did not.
His family members and others used the two huge stones to exercise. Some of them made fun of Qamar Ali’s disinterest in the physical sport. However, even at the age of six, the youngster found the teachings of a Sufi saint more appealing than lifting weights. He was the youngest of the brothers and he was more inclined towards religion and philosophy than any of his brothers.  
Before long, Qamar Ali began fasting, meditating and his fame as a Sufi saint spread far and wide. People of all faiths and from different villages began to flock to him. Qamar Ali died young-in his late teens- but just before he died, he asked the people to place the two stones near his grave and told them that they could be lifted by eleven people with their index finger when they chanted his name.
He said: “If eleven males place their right index fingers under the stone and then call my name, I will cause it to rise higher than their heads. Otherwise, neither singly nor together will they be able to move it more than two feet off the ground”.
To this day, this saying holds true. The bigger  stone weighs 140 lbs and the smaller about 100 lbs. Try out whatever combination you want and see if you can cleanly lift it off the ground.
Shivapur is 180 kms from Mumbai and is very near Pune-24 kms away. It takes barely 30 minutes from Pune to reach Shivapur.
Shivapur is located amidst hills and the iconic Sinhagad fort is thirteen kilometers away. The fort is also called Kondana after the sage Kaundinya. The Kaundinyeshwar temple, the caves and the carvings in the fort are said to be more than 2000 years old. The Sinhagad forest is home to a variety of flora and fauna.    

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