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Ashtavinayaka- Follow the deity’s footprints in Maharashtra

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Ashtavinayaka- Follow the deity’s footprints in Maharashtra

As celebrations galore go on for Lord Ganesha, we help you to take a little detour from the festivities in the cities and visit the Ashtavinayaka – the eight Ganeshas located in Maharashtra.

The Ashtavinayaka yatra or pilgrimage covers the eight holy temples of Ganesha. These places of piety are at Pune, Ahamadnagar and Raigad district. Of the 8 vinayakas, 6 are in Pune district area and 2 in Raigad district, but still comparatively nearer to the Pune area. Their peculiarity lies in the fact that all these eight Ashtavinayaka temples are supposed to be self-originated. All the eight temples are named after various names of the lord himself.

 

The eight temples/ idols in their religious sequence are –

 

 

  • Moreshwar 

 

image source: ushadestinations.com

image source: ushadestinations.com

Located in Morgaon, Pune district, traditionally it is the first temple visited by the pilgrims. The murti (idol) of Lord Ganesha, riding a peacock, in the form of Mayureshwara is believed to have slain the demon Sindhu at this spot. However, this is not the original murti -which is said to have been sanctified twice by Brahma, once before and once after being destroyed by the asura Sindhurasur. The original murti, smaller in size and made of atoms of sand, iron, and diamonds, was supposedly enclosed in a copper sheet by the Pandavas and placed behind the one that is currently worshiped.  What’s also interesting is this village itself is set out in the shape of a peacock.

 

 

  • Siddhivinayak 
Image source: www.shreedarshan.com

Image source: www.shreedarshan.com

This temple is situated off the Pune-Solapur highway about 48 km from the town of Srigonda in Ahmednagar district. The distinctive feature of the idol in this temple is that the trunk is positioned to the right. The temple is on a hillock and the main road towards the temple is considered to have been built by  the Peshwa’s general Haripant Phadake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ballaleshwar 

 

image source- www.wikimapia.com

image source- www.wikimapia.com

The Ballaleshwar temple is located in Pali, Raigad district. Legend has it that Ganpati saved this little boy-devotee named Ballala, who was beaten by local villagers and his father (Kalyani-seth) for his single-minded devotion to him. One speciality of this temple is that the prasad offered to this Ganapati at Pali is a Besan Laadu (gram flour balls soaked in sugar and clarified butter) instead of Modak that is normally offered to other Ganapatis.

 

  • Varadavinayak

                

image source- www.varadavinayak.com

image source- www.varadavinayak.com

     Ganesha is said to reside here in the form of Varada Vinayaka, the giver of bounty and success. The idol was found in the adjoining lake (by one Dhondu Paudkar in 1690 AD), in an immersed position and hence its weathered look. In 1725 AD, the then Kalyan subhedar, one Ramji Mahadev Biwalkar built the Varadavinayak temple and the surrounding village of Mahad. This is the only temple where devotees are allowed to personally pay their homage and respects to the idol. They are allowed in the immediate vicinity of this idol to perform their prayers.

 

The temple is located three kilometers off the Pune-Mumbai highway near Khopoli (80 km from Pune), and is thus closest to Mumbai city.

 

  • Chintamani

 

image source- ganeshdarshan.wordpress.com

image source- ganeshdarshan.wordpress.com

According to folklore, Ganapati is believed to have got back the precious Chinatamani jewel from the greedy Guna for sage Kapila at this spot. However, after bringing back the jewel, sage Kapila put it in Vinayaka’s (Ganesha’s) neck. Thus the name Chintamani Vinayak. This happened under the Kadamb tree, therefore Theur is known as Kadambanagar in old times. The temple is located 22 km from Pune, off the Pune-Solapur highway, and is hence the nearest from Pune.

 

 

 

  • Girijatmaj

 

image source - www.junglekey.com

image source – www.junglekey.com

This temple stands amidst a cave complex of 18 caves of Buddhist origin, this temple is the 8th cave. Another unique feature of this temple is that there is no electric bulb inside the temple, the temple has been constructed in a manner that during the day it is always lighted up by sun rays. The temple is situated 12 km from Narayangaon, which is about 94 km from Pune on the Pune-Nashik highway. Nearest railway station is Talegaon. Also while you are here, you must visit the Shivaneri fort where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born.

 

  • Vighneshwar 

 

The history encompassing this idol states that Vighnasur, a demon was created by the King of Gods, Indra to destroy the prayer organized by King Abhinandan. However, the demon went a step further and destroyed all vedic, religious acts and to answer the people’s prayers for protection, Ganesha defeated him. The story goes on to say that on being conquered, the demon begged with Ganesha for mercy. Ganesha then granted his plea, but on the condition that the demon should not go to the place where Ganesha worship is conducted. In return, the demon asked a favour that his name should be taken before Ganesha’s name, thus the name of Ganesha became Vighneshwar.

Image source- www.hindudevotionalblog.com

Image source- www.hindudevotionalblog.com

This temple is located just off the Pune-Nashik Highway in the town of Ozhar.

 

  • Mahaganpati 
image source- aroundinpune.wordpress.com

image source aroundinpune.wordpress.com

This Ganesha is located in Ranjangaon, Pune district. The idol faces east, is seated in a cross-legged position has a broad forehead, with its trunk pointing to the left. Apparently the original idol is hidden in the basement, and has 10 trunks and 20 hands and is called Mahotkat, however, the temple authorities deny the existence of any such idol. The temple was erected during the rule of the Peshwas.

nayanikka

nayanikka

Leo, a passionate dancer, literature lover, movie buff, foodie, lover of theatrics and all shades of dramatics , wanderlusting at most times.

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