108 Famous Hindu Shrines in Maharashtra – Part 5 (Post No.11,947)


Post No. 11,947

Date uploaded in London – –  28 APRIL 2023                  

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There are eight famous Ganesh temples in Maharashtra. They are grouped as Ashta Vinayak temples. Ashta in Sanskrit means number 8. Like people cover Nava Tirupatis in Tamil Nadu or Navagraha Sthalas in Tamil Nadu, devotees try toc over all the 8 temples in one or two days. They are in Pune and Raigad districts. Tour operators arrange trips to cover all of them conveniently.  They are all considered Swayambhu Statues. It means they came up on their own. No one has sculpted them as Ganesh/ Vinayak.

There are various names of Lord Ganesh for various places. The various names of Lord Ganesh are Moreshwar, Mahaganpati, Chintamani, Girijatmak, Vighneshwar, Siddhivinayak, Ballaleshwar and Varad Vinayak . These Temples are situated at Morgaon, Ranjangaon, Theur, Lenyadri, Ojhar, Siddhatek, Pali and Mahad. These places 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 areas.

Let us have the darshan of Ganapati in all the 8 temples.

Part 5

24. Ballaleshwar Pali Vinayak Temple

This Ganesh temple is located in the village of Pali, 30 kilometres from Karjat in Raigad District. This is the only Ganesh named after its devotee. So statue is dressed like a Brahmin. Temple is shaped like Sanskrit letter Shree. There are two ponds nearby. There are two Ganesh shrines in the temple complex. Maratha warrior who defeated the Portuguese took their bells and distributed to various temples including this one.


25. Chintamani Ashtavinayak Ganpati Temple

This is located in Their, which is 22 kilometres fro Pune. Mula, Mutha and Bhima Rivers meet here . The temple is larger than the other 7 temples. Lord Ganesh is said to have got back the rare Chintamani jewel from greedy Guna and entrusted with sage Kapila. There is a lake behind the temple known as Kadamba theertha.


26. Shri Girijatmaj  Ganpati Temple

This Ganesh temple is at Lenyadri, five kilometres from Junnar. It is believed that Parvati (Shiva’s wife) performed penance to beget Ganesha at this point. Girija’s (Parvati’s) Atmaj (son) is Girijatmaj. This temple stands amidst a cave complex of 18 caves of Buddhist origin. This temple is the 8th cave. These are called Ganesh-leni as well. The temple is carved out of a single stone hill, which has 307 steps. The temple features a wide hall with no supporting pillars. The temple hall is 53feet long, 51feet wide and 7feet in height. The temple is constructed such that during the day it is always lighted up by the sun-rays; no electric light is required.


27. Shri Mahaganapti  Temple  at Ranjangaon

Ranjangaon is 50kms from Pune .Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripurasura here. The temple was built by Shiva where he worshipped Ganesha. Tamils are very familiar with this story through Arunagirinathar’s Tiruppugal hymn Kaiththala Nirai Kani, where he sings the glory of Ganesh who powdered the axis of Shiva’s chariot because he forgot to salute Ganesh. Everyone is supposed to salute Ganesh first, before any venture or adventure.

It is constructed in such a way that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol (during the Southward movement of the sun), the temple architecture resembles that of the 9th and 10th Centuries.


28.Shri Moreshwar Ganpati Temple at Moregaon

Ashta Vinayak temple tours start from here. This is the first temple to be visited.

 Moreshwar Ganapati Temple is located in Morgaon at a distance of 67 km from Pune . The  temple, built from black-stone during the Bahamani reign, is covered from all sides by four Minarets and gives feeling of a mosque if seen from a distance. This may have been done to prevent attacks on the temple during mughal periods. The temple has 50 feet tall wall around it. There is a Nandi (Shiva’s bull) sitting in front of this temple entrance, which is somewhat odd as nandi is normally in front of the Shiva temples. The idol of Lord Ganesha, riding a peacock, in the form of Mayureshwara is believed to have slain the demon Sindhurasur at this spot.

The village derives its name from the Marathi name of the bird peacock .

The deity is three eyed, seated, and his trunk is turned towards the left. The eyes and the navel of the deity are studded with precious diamonds. On the head are seen the fangs of Nagaraj. The deity is flanked by brass idols of Siddhi and Buddhi who are considered the consorts of Ganesh. In front of the deity stand a mouse and a peacock.

There are certain sacred trees in the temple premises, like Shami, Mandar and Tarati trees. Out of these the Shami tree is significant as it is referred to in the legend of Moraya Gosavi, a sage who did penance under his tree and Lord Ganesha gave him a glimpse. Thus it is believed that the wishes of a person can be fulfilled if he performs penance under this tree.

Apart from this there are many idols in the compound of the Mayureshvar temple and the most important of these subsidiary deities is the image of Nagna Bhairava who is looked upon as the guardian of Lord Mayureshvar. It is believed that the pilgrimage to Mayureshvar is incomplete if a devotee does not worship Nagna bhairav first.


29.Shri Siddhi Vinayak Temple Siddhatek

Siddhi Vinayak Ganpati Temple is situated on the banks of river Bhima . Daund is the station from where one can reach Siddhtek which is 18km away.

The Hindu god Vishnu is supposed to have vanquished the demons Madhu and Kaitabh after propitiating Lord Ganesh in Shri Siddhi Vinayak Temple. This is the only idol with the trunk pointing to the right. It is believed that the two saints Shri Morya Gosavi and Shri Narayan maharaj of Kedgaon received their enlightenment here.

it is on a small hillock.  The inner sanctum, 15 feet high and 10feet wide is built by Punyashloka Ahilyabai Holkar. The idol is 3feet tall and 2.5feet wide. Riddhi and Siddhi idols are sitting on one thigh.

 To make one round (pradakshina) around the temple one has to make the round trip of the hillock. This takes about 30 minutes with moderate speed.


30.Shri Varada Vinayak Temple at Mahad

Varada Vinayak temple in Mahad is located three kilometres off the Pune-Mumbai highway near Khopoli (80 km from Pune), and is thus closest to Mumbai city.

There is a story about this temple.

Prince Rukmangad refused sage Vachaknavi’s wife Mukunda’s illicit call, and was cursed to suffer from leprosy. Mukunda was satisfied by Indra who deceived her as Rukmangad and she bore a child by name Grutsamad. When Grutsamad came to know about the real story he cursed his mother Mukunda to become the tree of Bori and she in turn cursed him to bore a demon son named Tripurasur, the one who was defeated by Shiva after praying the Ranjangaon Ganesha.

Four devotees in a temple

Grutsamad after getting cursed went to the forest of Pushpak and worshipped Ganesha. Sage Grutsamad is famous for the mantra Ganaanaam Tvaa Ganapatim Havaamahe……. He founded the temple and called this Ganesha: Varada-Vinayak meaning the giver of bounty and success. The idol was found in the adjoining lake (to Mr. Dhondu Paudkar in 1690), in an immersed position and hence its weathered look. It is in the constant company of an oil lamp – said to be burning continuously since 1892. There are 4 elephant idols on 4 sides of the temple. The dome has designs of cobra. This is the only temple where devotees are allowed to personally pay their homage and respects to the idol.

गणानां त्वा गणपतिं हवामहे

कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम् ।

ज्येष्ठराजं ब्रह्मणां ब्रह्मणस्पत

आ नः शृण्वन्नूतिभिः सीद सादनम् ॥

Gannaanaam Tvaa Ganna-Patim Havaamahe

Kavim Kaviinaam-Upama-Shravastamam |

Jyessttha-Raajam Brahmannaam Brahmannaspata

Aa Nah Shrnnvan-Uutibhih Siida Saadanam ||  (RV 2.23.1).


31.Shri Vighneshwar Temple at Ozhar

Vighneshwar Vinayak temple is located just off the Pune-Nashik Highway, in the town of Ozhar. It is enclosed on all sides by high stone walls, and its pinnacle is made of gold. The temple is situated on the banks of river Kukadi. Ozar is located about 85 km from Pune, off the Pune-Nashik highway and about 9 km north to Narayangaon.

Vighnasur, a demon was created by the King of Gods, Indra to destroy the prayer organized by King Abhinandan. Ganesh defeated him. The story goes on to say that on being conquered, the demon begged and pleaded with Ganesha to show a mercy. Ganesha then granted in his plea, but on the condition that demon should not go to the place where Ganesha worshipping is going on. In return the demon asked a favour that his name should be taken before Ganesha’s name, thus the name of Ganesha became Vighnahar or Vighneshwar (Vighna in Sanskrit means difficulty, hurdle).
Vighneshwar Vinayak temple faces east and is surrounded by a thick stone wall.This idol, has rubies in its eyes. There is a diamond on the forehead and some jewel in the navel. Idols of Riddhi and Siddhi are placed on the two sides of Ganesha. The temple top is Golden and is possibly built by Chimaji Appa after defeating the Portuguese rulers of Vasai and Sashti.


अष्टविनायक मंदिरे (Traditional Route)

क्रमांक            मंदिर  स्थान

१          मोरेश्र्वर मंदिर           मोरगाव, पुणे जिल्हा

२          सिद्धिविनायक मंदिर सिद्धटेक, अहमदनगर जिल्हा

३          बल्लाळेश्वर मंदिर      पाली, रायगड जिल्हा

४         वरदविनायक मंदिर[२३]       महड, रायगड जिल्हा

५         चिंतामणी मंदिर         थेऊर, पुणे जिल्हा

६         गिरीजात्मज मंदिर     लेण्याद्री, पुणे जिल्हा

७         विघ्नेश्वर मंदिर ओझर, पुणे जिल्हा

८         महागणपती मंदिर     रांजणगाव, पुणे जिल्हा

To be continued………………………….

Tags- Ashta Vinayaka, Siddhi, Buddhi, Ganapati, Maharashtra, 8 Ganpati

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