SHREE KSHETRA RANJANGAON GANPATI DEVSTHAN TRUST

1. Visiting Ganapati Temple Moreshwar Morgaon

The Ganapati Temple at Moreshwar is the first temple as well as the last one to be visited by those who set out on the Ashtavinayak pilgrimage. A silver headed cobra (Nagaraj, the King of Snakes) is to be seen on this temple’s Ganesha idol. The benevolent 3 eyes of the idol literally sparkle with diamonds.

Facing the temple is a mouse (Ganapati’s mount) which is 6 foot high. Also located outside the temple gates is a large sculpture of a bull which is Lord Shiva’s mount (Lord Shiva is Ganapati’s father). As per Hindu mythological legends, the bull was being transported from a Shiva temple located in the vicinity, rested here in front of the Moreshwar temple & then could not be budged from the spot. The bull & the mouse are considered to be faithful guardians of the Moreshwar temple.

An equally fascinating aspect of this temple is the eight Ganapati idols located in the temple’s compound at 8 corners, each of these idols facing a different way. These idols are said to be Lord Ganesha’s incarnations, namely Vakratunda (Lord with a curved trunk), Mahodara, Ekadanta (Lord with a single tusk), Vikata (One who is gigantic), Dhrumavarna, Vighnaraja (Lord of all obstacles) and Lambodara (Large-bellied Lord).

Ganapati Moreshwar Temple Name Origin Ganapati’s mount (vehicle) was originally the peacock which he later gave to his brother Skanda. The word peacock in Sanskrit is mayura and in Marathi it is mora. Hence this temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is known as Mayureshwar or Moreshwar (Lord of the Peacock)

Ganapati Moreshwar Temple timings : 5a.m. to 10p.m.

Ganapati Moreshwar Temple puja timings

  • 5a.m.: Prakshal Puja (ceremonious bathing of idol)
  • 7a.m.: Shodashopachar Pooja (puja with 16 rituals, including lighting incense, offering flowers, etc)
  • 12 noon: Shodashopachar Pooja (second time in the day)
  • 8p.m.: Panchopachar Puja (pooja done with 5 items, namely rice, incense, diya, flowers & a sweet or a fruit)
  • 10p.m.: Shej-Aarti (aarti at night, considered to be an offering of sleep to the idol)

How to reach Ganapati Temple Moreshwar

Moreshwar is located in Morgaon. You can proceed to Morgaon from Pune. Distance between Pune & Morgaon is about 70kms. The general route taken by devotees is: Pune – Hadapsar – Saswad – Jejuri – Morgaon. The distances are:

• Pune to Hadapsar: 10kms • Hadapsar to Saswad: 24kms • Saswad to Jejuri: 17kms • Jejuri to Morgaon: 19kms

2.Visiting Siddhivinayak Siddhatek Temple Siddhatek

After paying obeisance at the Ganapati temple in Moreshwar, the next temple on the Ashtavinayaka yatra is the Siddhivinayaka temple at Siddhatek. From Morgaon the distance to Siddhatek is 82kms. This town is located on the banks of the river Bhima

How to go to Siddhatek

If you are travelling directly by train to Siddhatek, you have to get off at the Daund Junction Railway Station which is approx 13kms from Siddhatek. From Daund you can board the State Transport bus and get off at Shirapur village. From there it is 1km to Siddhatek via a ferry. Alternatively, you can take an early morning bus directly from Pune (Shivaji Nagar area) to Siddhatek.

Siddhivinayak Siddhatek Temple name origin

As per Hindu mythology, when Lord Brahma (the creator) was making the universe, Lord Vishnu (the preserver) dozed off. While asleep, all of a sudden 2 ferocious demons named Kaitabh & Madhu materialized from Lord Vishnu’s ears. They created a lot of havoc in the homes of Gods & Goddesses & harassed the wise sages too. Since the demons had come out from Lord Vishnu’s ears, He was requested to kill the demons. However, despite a prolonged war against the demons over thousands of years, Lord Vishnu was not successful

Lord Vishnu then approached Lord Shiva (the destroyer), who told him, “If you had first itself worshipped Vinayaka then you would have already achieved victory” & told Lord

Vishnu a special 6-word (षड्क्षारी) mantra to invoke Vinayaka. Accordingly, Lord Vishnu set out to find a holy place where he could invoke Vinayaka with the mantra. He found such a place on a hill, set up a temple with an idol of Vinayaka & worshipped Him for many days. Pleased with Lord Vishnu’s devotion, Lord Ganesha gave him the powers to kill the demons by granting him Siddhi (divine illumination, perfect knowledge or power attained through sadhana).

The area where Lord Vishnu had attained Siddhi came to be known as Siddhashetra and the idol which was placed in the temple set up by Lord Vishnu came to be known a Siddhivinayak. Since Lord Ganesha had given Lord Vishnu Siddhi, He came to be known as Siddhivinayaka (One who gives success).

About Siddhivinayak Siddhatek Temple

The Siddhivinayak temple at Siddhatek is on a hill and faces the north. The idol of this temple is 3 feet high and the end of its trunk is curved towards its right side. Traditionally, the figures of Vinayaka’s consorts, Ridhi (signifying prosperity) & Siddhi (knowledge), are shown as seated on either lap. Located near the temple is the place where Maharishi Vyasa resided & where he made a yagna. It is believed that, to date, the ash-like soil here is due to the remnants of that long-ago yagna. It is also believed that Shri Morya Gosavi of Chinchwad had made a prolonged tapasya here. Haripant Phadke, a senapati of the Peshwas and Narayan Maharaj, a Dattatreya devotee of Khedgaon, were said to have often come to the temple at Siddhatek to worship Siddhivinayak.

On the western side from the temple is located Shivai Devi’s (शिवाई देवी) and Lord Shankara’s small temple. The river Bhima flows very close to this temple. It is said to be a miracle that, no matter how thunderous the river’s waters are, its sound does not reach here

During the months of Bhadrapad & Magh month’s Shukla Pratipad Panchami, there are large-scale pujas & a huge jatra is organized during this time at Siddhatek

Siddhivinayak Siddhatek Temple timings: 4a.m. to 9.15p.m.

Siddhivinayak Siddhatek Temple puja timings:

• 4.30a.m.: Saharan Puja • 10a.m.: Offering of kichdi is made to the deity • 11a.m.: Panchamriti puja • 12.30noon: Offering of Mahabhog is made to the deity. • After sunset: Puja

• 8.30p.m.: Dhooparti is done

Accommodation at Siddhatek

You may find it difficult to find place to stay in Siddhatek at the last minute. Those who have visited say that you can make arrangements with the temple priest (Shree Gajanan Purohit) who will arrange for your stay.

Shree Siddhivinayak lodging & boarding is available near the temple. As for food, there are many locals who prepare the traditional jhunka-bhakri meal for a small amount.

3.Visiting Ballaleshwar Temple Pali

The Ganapati temple at Pali in Sudhagad taluk, Raigad district is the third halt of devotees on the Ashtavinayak yatra. It is here that the temple dedicated to Shri Ballaleshwar is located. The distrance from Sidhatek to Pali is 222kms & it takes approx 3 ½ hours.

How to reach Ballaeshwar Temple Pali

One can reach the temple via State public transport buses starting from Mumbai, Pune, Karjat, Khopoli & Panvel. The nearest railway station to Pali is Karjat, which is approx 30kms from the temple.

About the Ballaleshwar temple

It has been written in historical records that during the Peshwa regime, when all other avenues for getting justice were closed, for ultimate justice it was to this temple’s deity that people would go to.

The present temple’s construction work is said to have been done by Shri Phadnis of Moradabad . It was built in such a way that it was in the form of the word (Shree) & faced the east so that the rays of the Sun would fall directly on the deity. The main feature of this temple is the 15foot high sanctum & the gigantic metal bell of the temple. The bell is said to have belonged to Chimaji Appa and was gifted to the temple by the Peshwas of that era.

The Balleshwar idol is 3feet high and is seated on a stone throne. The idol’s trunk is turned towards the left and there are diamonds in its eyes and navel.

Ballaleshwar Vinayak

There are 2 small lakes opposite the temple & located nearby are the ruins of a fort from the top of which you can see the expanse of the whole region.

Ballaleshwar Temple name origin

At the back side of the temple is the Shree Dhundivinayak temple with the idol of Dhundivinayak. Devotees who come to Pali first make offerings to this idol and pray here before making offerings to the idol in the Ballaleshwar temple. There is a story behind this...

In a bygone era, a young lad named Ballal, who was the son of a local trader named Kalyan Shetty, was always absorbed in worshipping Lord Ganesha. Not only was Ballal a devout devotee of Lord Ganesha, but so also were his close friends. Ballal and his friends were constantly engaged in the prayers and pujas of an idol which they worshipped as Ganapati's idol, so much so that they would stay away from their homes for many hours, not caring even about food. Consequently, the parents of Ballal’s friends got fed up of their children not being at home at regular times, especially at meal times, and complained to Kalyan Shetty about his son’s influence on their children. Kalyan Shetty got so angry with Ballal that he started beating him with a stick. He even took the temple idol and broke it. He tied Ballal to a tree to punish him & told him that he would see how Ganesha would rescue him from this predicament.

However, though Ballal started bleeding from the bruises he got when his father hit him & was tied to a tree, he was totally unaffected because, even at that time, he was absorbed in the thoughts of Lord Ganesha. Pleased with Ballal’s devotion, Lord Ganesha himself suddenly appeared in the form of a Brahmin before Ballal and told him he would grant any wish he wanted. Immediately Ballal said “Let Shree Ganesha always remain permanently here. Let this place be ganeshmay (full of Ganesha)”. Lord Ganesha right away granted his wish by saying “Tatastu (So be it)” and vanished. At the very place Lord Ganesha vanished appeared a huge stone slab which was immovable. It is this slab which today is the idol of Ballaleshwar & one of the many names of Lord Ganesha is Ballal Vinayak.

Unique Temple Celebrations

It is believed that as per Lord Ganesha’s blessings, whichever devotee visits the temple to pay obeisance during bhadrapad shukla chaturthi, that devotee’s good wishes will be fulfilled. Hence, from the onset of bhadrapad and magh months’s shukla pratipad till panchami (that means from the 1st to the 5th day), there are festive celebrations each year during which thousands of devotees throng the town of Pali. Besides regular kirtan sessions & discourses, cultural programs are also organised.

A unique occurrence is said to take place on the 4th day of Bhadrapa, when Maha Bhog is offered to the temple’s deity: it is believed that the imprint of the deity’s fingers can be seen on the offerings. That is why on this day you will the maximum number of devotees at this temple. A not to be missed occasion is the palki procession on the 3rd day of Magh. On this day, the temple deity is taken around the town in a beautiful flower-bedecked palki (palanquin) with devotees walking along behind it, singing the Lord’s praises.

Ballaleshwar Temple Puja Timings

• Inner sanctum: 5a.m. to 11.30a.m.

• Outer sanctum: 5a.m. to 10.30p.m.

Puja Timing : till 11.30a.m. daily & Sankat Chaturthi is till 9a.m. Devotees can perform various pujas, including:

• Abishek

• Abhishek Puja (bathing the idol with milk & offering honey, fruit, etc)

• Puja Ekadasi

• Durgh Abhishek

• Maha Puja (Sahastra Avartan )

• Laghu Rudra Avartan

• Varshik Puja

Accommodation in Pali

For budget accommodation during your visit to Pali, you should contact the temple trust directly. The trust will make arrangements for your stay. There are 2 options: 24 Rooms & 2 Halls.

• In Bhaktnivas No 1 there are a total of 10 rooms available, with the room charges being Rs.250/- for 5 persons in 1 room.

•In Bhaktiniva No.2 there are 14 Rooms, with the room charges being Rs.300/-.

• For the hall accommodation, the charge is Rs.10/- per person.

As for food, you can purchase a meal coupon from the temple office (timing: till 1.30p.m.) for Rs.10/-.

Contact Information of Ballaleshwar Temple

Vyasthapak Trustee , Shri Ballaleshwar Devasthan

Pali Taluka

Sudhagadh,

Raigad

Pin Code -410205

Ph: 02142-242263 / 241129 /242429.

4.Visiting Varad Vinayaka Temple at Mahad

The Varad Vinayaka Temple at Mahad is located in Kolhapur taluka, District Raigad. The fourth temple to be visited by pilgrims on the Ashtavinayak yatra, the Varad Vinayaka Temple here is located approximately 25.65kms from Karjat railway station and is even closer to Khopoli (about 6kms).

How to Reach

You can board the State transport public bus from any of these towns: Khopoli, Karjat, Alibag, Mahabaleshwar and Shivthar Ghal.

Varad Vinayaka Temple Mahad Origin

It is believed that a revered saint named Grutsamad set up the Varad Vinayaka Temple at Mahad. The saint had done strong penance for a long period of time and invoked Lord Vinayaka (Ganapati) who, pleased with this devotion, granted him his wish for self-purification & for the permanent presence of Vinayaka in that place. This place is considered very holy & the temple is believed to be more than 300 years old. Historical records state that Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj and the Peshwas donated funds to this temple.

Varad Vinayaka Temple Mahad Features

The diya (oil lamp) in this temple is said to have been constantly lit over the years without having been ever extinguished, right from 1792! There are two Ganesh idols located in two corners of the temple compound. The trunk of the idol on the right side is turned towards the right and is of marble. The trunk of the idol on the left side is turned towards the left & is anointed in red colour. The Varad Vinayaka idol in the main temple is seated on an ornamental throne & faces the eastern horizon.

On the western side of the temple is a lake which is considered to be a holy lake & named as ‘God’s lake’.

Accommodation in Mahad

1. Saitej Lodging & Dinning Hall

There are 30 Rooms here, with both air-conditioned & non-air-conditioned rooms.

The room rates are: Non-AC room: 900/-

•AC room: 1200/-

• AC deluxe room: 1800/-

• Extra person in room: Rs.200/-. [luxury tax applicable]. Driver Room Stay Free.

Food: Complimentary breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant between 7a.m. and 10a.m>

Contact Information:

Savitri Marg, Prabhat Colony, Nr. Bank of Baroda, Mahad, Dist. Raigad

Contact : Mr.Tukaram Chopade Ph: +91 9422694090

Email :- info@lodgingsaitej.com

2. Motel Visava

This motel has about 39 rooms with attached baths. It is a mid-priced accommodation.

Contact Information:

Near Petrol Pump, Mumbai-Goa Highway, Mahad.

Ph: 02145-222382 / 222866

3. Hotel Kuber Palace :

There are 16 rooms with attached baths.

Contact Information: :

Near Ambedkar College, NH 17, Mahad

Ph: 02145-225993

5.Visiting Chintamani Ashtavinayak Ganapati Temple Theur

Devotees who embark on the Ashtavinayak Yatra make their fifth halt to pay obeisance to Lord Ganesha at the Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple at Theur (also referred to as Theoor). The holy place of Theur is located at the spot where 3 rivers meet – the Mula river, the Mutha river and the Bhima river.

How to reach Theur

• If proceeding from Mumbai, you can take the Mumbai to Khandala road route. As soon as you cross the Bhor Ghat, the town of Theur can be located in Haveli Taluka, Pune District.

• If proceeding from Pune, Theur is located about 22 ½ kms from the city. You can take the road route of the Pune-Solapur highway. The halts on the way are Hadaspur and Loni. At Loni you can ask for directions from the locals, as you may miss the left turning which takes you to Theur.

• Another alternative from Pune is to board the State Public Transport buses which ply from Pune to Theur. You can board theses buses either from the Sarasbaug bus stand or the Poolgate bus stand.

Chintamani AshtavinayakTemple Origin

Shri Madhavrao Peshwa was a staunch devotee of Lord Ganesha in His form of Chintamani. He would take time off from administrative matters to visit the Ganapati temple at Theur to relax his mind. He even spent the last days of his life at Theur.

It is also said that that Morya Gosavi of Chinchwadi attained ‘siddhi’ (divine knowledge) here & in honour of this attainment, his son Chintamani built this temple. Madhavrao Peshwa had it restored to its glory during his time.

A Hindu mythological legend relates another story about how this temple came to be built here. This legend relates the story of a young prince named Kan (some stories refer to him as Gana or Ganasura) who, unlike his parents, did not have good values. He indulged in wrongful activities and was not of good character. One of his pastimes was to go hunting in the forest with his friends. One day he arrived at the ashram of Rishi Kapil, who welcomed him & invited Kan and his friends to have a meal. Kan looked in amazement at Rishi Kapil’s ashram made from bamboo and dried grass & laughed loudly saying, “How can a poor man like you feed so many of us?!” On hearing this, Rishi Kapil removed a simple chain from his neck on which hung an invaluable gem called Chintamani. He then placed it at the center of a square stool. He bowed to it with folded hands and said a short prayer. Immediately, to the astonishment of Kan & his friends, a huge dining hall appeared. It was magnificent & spacious, with silver stools for sitting and in front of each, a square stool on which silver plates appeared filled with a variety of delectable dishes. The food was, literally, heavenly in taste, having been conjured up with divine intervention. Kan & his friends were very happy on having feasted on such heavenly food.

Kan asked Rishi Kapil as to who had given him the precious gem. So then Rishi Kapil narrated the story about how he had once helped Lord Indra who had, as a reward, given him the Chintamani. Kan then said, “You live in a forest & are a sadhu, What use of such a gem to you? Me being a royal prince can use it better. So better you give the gem to me.” However, Rishi Kapil refused to hand over the gem to Kan, upon which Kan forcible snatched it from him. Rishi Kapil then prayed to Lord Vishnu who told him that since Kan was a devotee of Lord Shiva it would be difficult to defeat Kan in a battle to get back that gem. The only one who could help him out is Ganapati, son of Lord Shiva. Rishi Kapil then did penance for many years and finally invoked Lord Ganesha who promised to teach Kan a lesson.

Lord Ganesha appeared in Kan’s dream & frightened him, giving an image of Rishi Kapil coming with a huge army along with Ganapati to destroy him. Prince Kan woke up, wondering who was this being with an elephant head & 4 arms striding at the side of Rishi Kapil. He decided that first this elephant-headed being needed to be killed before dealing with Rishi Kapil. Accordingly he made preparations for battle. His wise father King Abhijit told him, “By stealing Rishi Kapil’s Chintamani you have created a big sin. At least do not go to battle against him & make a bigger fool of yourself. It is you who will die.” Kan ignored his father’s advice and set out to the forest where Rishi Kapil lived. However, thanks to Ganapati’s timely intervention, a huge army made an appearance in the forest. Over a period of days, one by one Kan’s soldiers got killed. Then appeared Ganapati Himself in person in front of Kan. Looking at his elephant head and big belly, Kan laughed out aloud and without a moment’s hesitation started raining arrows one after the other on Ganapati. However, Ganapati parried every arrow with his own arrows. An annoyed Kan then threw his large sharp knife, but that too Ganapati cleverly avoided & in turn threw his hatchet at Kan, upon which Kan immediately fell down dead. His father King Abihijit, came on to the battlefield and expressed sorrow at the death of his son. He then bowed down in reverence to Ganapati and handed over the Chintamani to Ganapati. He begged Ganapati to forgive his son for his misdeeds & requested the Lord to grant his son emancipation. Taking pity on the King, Ganapati granted him his wish.

Ganapati then took the Chintamani back to Rishi Kapil. However, Rishi Kapil requested Lord Ganesha to stay with him, saying he preferred to have Him with him rather than having the gem. Lord Ganesha thus stayed with Rishi Kapil & came to be referred to as ‘Chintamani Vinayak’.Since this entire incident occurred beneath a Kadamba tree, the Chintamani temple came to be set up there.

Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple Features

The temple’s idol is in a cross-legged seated position with the trunk of the idol turned towards the east. In the main hall of the temple one can see a water fountain made exclusively from stone. One section of the temple has space for devotees to sit quietly and meditate to achieve peace & calm. Within the courtyard of the temple there is a smaller temple devoted to Lord Shankara.

Accommodation in Theur

You can stay in Pune and proceed from there to Theur.

1. Ginger Hotel Pune.

: Opp Pcmc Survey 209, Pimpri Chowk, Kohinoor Trading Company Premises,

411018 Pune.

Ph: +91 20 6633 3333 / Fax: +91 20 6633 3336

Email: reservations.pune-pimpri@gingerhotels.com

Distance from Pimpri to Theur: 37kms (approx. 1 hour’s car drive by road).

2. Hotel Sayaji:

135/136, Mumbai-Banglore Bypass Highway,

Wakad, Pune -411 057.

Ph: 020-42121212 / Fax: 02042121000

E-mail: sales@sayajipune.com

Distance from Wakad to Theur: 127kms (approx. 2hrs.40mins car drive by road).

3. Hotel Madhav International

6A, Ramabai Ambedkar Road, Before Hotel Le-Meridien,

behind Pune Railway Station, Pune - 411001. India.

This is one of the less expensive hotels in Pune, with Rs.2000/- for a standard A/C single room & Rs.2500/- for a double room. It has its own vegetarian restaurant. The other options are Deluxe A/C & Special Delux A/C rooms.

Ph : + 91 - 20 - 26059118 / 26059219 / 26059920 / 41009000 Fax : + 91 - 20 - 26059228

E-mail : info@hotelmadhav.com

6.Visiting Girijatmaj Vinayak Ganapati Temple at Lenyadri

After visiting the Chintamani temple, devotees who undertake the Ashtavinayaka Yatra visit the Ganapati temple at Lenyadri. This temple is known by the name of Ganapati’s mother Parvati whose other name is Girija & the word Atmaj refers to son. From the name of the area, namely Lenyadri, it is easy to understand the temple’s location – the word lena means a cave and the suffix adri is a Sanskrit word which means a mountain. So devotees must be prepared to climb up quite a bit to pay obeisance to the Ganapati idol in this temple. Speaking of climbing, you have to tackle around 338 high steps to reach the cave where the idol is located. However, the temple’s trustees have thoughtfully provided palkhis (chairs) for the elderly devotees & others who are unable to climb so many steep steps. The chairs are carried up by sturdy men.

Features of Girijatmaj Vinayak Temple Lenyadri

The Ganapati deity is not a statue as such but a fresco set into the wall of a cave. Hence one cannot go around the idol or the temple as is generally done. As mentioned earlier, the location of this Ganapati temple is in a cave. To be more specific, there are more than 2 dozen Buddhist caves up on the mountainside. It is believed that the caves were created by the Pandavas when they were exiled. The Ganapati deity is located in the 7th cave & as per a mythological legend it was in this very cave that Goddess Parvati as Girija did a prolonged penance & created a son (Bal Ganesha) from her own skin.

An astonishing fact of the main hall of this Ganapati cave temple is that although it is very wide there is not a single rocky pillar which supports the expansive roof of the cave – a truly architectural marvel of nature (or of the Pandavas as is believed)! When visiting this temple, don’t forget to have a closer look at the walls of the cave temple – there are some very unique wall murals.

While the Girijatmaj temple faces the south, the Ganapati deity faces the north & its trunk is turned towards the left.

How to reach Lenyadri

• To reach Lenyadri, you have to go to Junnar. From there it is just 5kms to Lenyadri. The more energetic pilgrims walk the distance. You can also hire a jeep or an auto at Junnar.

• If driving down on a bike or in a car, you have to travel by the Pune Nasik Road. The route is: Chakan – Rajgurunagar – Manchar – Narayangaon - Junnar - Lenyadri.

• If travelling by train, you can alight at either Pune railway station or the Talegaon railway station.

• If boarding a State transport public bus, you have to take the bus going to Junnar from either Pune’s Shivaji Nagar Bus Depot or from the Talegaon bus depot. There are also State transport buses heading to Junnar directly from Mumbai.

One of the most popular fairs at Lenyadri is when bullock cart races are organized during Ganesh Jayanti.

Accommodation at Lenyadri

The temple trust officials provide accommodations for the general public. Lodging is available in rooms in two buildings known as Yatri Niwas No.1 and Yatri Niwas No.2. A few rooms are air conditioned & half the rooms have an attached bathroom while the rest have common bathrooms. Hot water is available in the rooms & there are drinking water facilities for all pilgrims. Bedding and food is also provided. If you are driving down by your own vehicle, parking facilities are also available.

Contact Information of Girijatmaj Vinayak Lenyadri Temple Trust

To book rooms & find out about room rates and meals, contact the temple trustees directly

Shree Lenyadri Ganpati Devasthan Trust

Golegaon, Pune

Taluka - Junnar.,

Zilla – Pune

Ph: 02132222350 / 9881058665 / 9371105024

7.Visiting Vigneshwara Ganapati Temple at Ozhar

Most devotees setting out on the Ashtavinayak Yatra visit the Vigneshwara Ganapati Temple at Ozhar as a fifth halt, though it is generally said that it should be the seventh one (see route map here). Ozhar is located on the Pune-Nashik highway & is considered to be a very charming town.

It is located about 8kms from Narayangaon, on the banks of the river Kuk¬di. Buses ply to Ozhar from Narayangaon and Junnar and it is accessible by road via the bridge over the Kukdi river. The road route is: Chakan – Rajgurunagar – Manchar – Narayangoan – Junnar.

About the Ozhar Vigneshwar Temple

The Vigneshwara Ganapati Temple was built in 1833 and its unique feature is its impressive golden dome which is said to have been built with funds donated by Chimaji Appa, the younger sibling of Bajirao Peshwa. In fact, it is believed that he came across this temple on returning home after conquering the Vasai Fort and decided to renovate the temple completely. The temple has strong fortifications on all 4 sides. Another special feature of the temple are the beautifully created large lamp towers called Deepmala which is located on the northern side’s large entrance door. The arches are also large & built very strong. There is a statue of a mouse at the entrance of the main sabhamandap. A long stone flooring allows devotees to do a pradakshina. On crossing the first two sabhamandaps, you get access to the graceful well-shaped idol. An emerald adorns the forehead and two rubies are set in the eyes of the deity. The idols of Ridhi and Sidhi are located on either side. The idol, like the temple, faces the east.

The Ganapati idol in this temple is worshipped in the incarnation of Vigneshwara, the one who removes all obstacles. It is believed that those who worship the deity of this temple are able to get over their problems.

Located on the northern side of the temple are a dharmashala and a temple dedicated to Lord Ram.

Must Visiti: Located nearby is Shivneri Fort, birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Legend of Vigneshwara

A demon by the name of Vignasur was always creating a nuisance for those who did virtuous & good deeds. Even the heavenly beings were fed up of his activities. The Gods approached Rishi Parthavnath to help them get rid of the demon, whereupon the Sage prayed to Lord Ganesha who, pleased with his devotion, took the form of the Sage’s son. He battled the demon and defeated him. The demon requested Lord Ganesha for mercy and since Lord Ganesha was a compassionate deity agreed to his request to have the demon’s name prefixed to His own and Ganesha said, “You are free to trouble the person who does not take my name before doing a task, but those who worship me with devotion in this form must not be troubled by you.” Since that time, Lord Ganesha set up residence at Ozhar.

Temple Festivals

As is the case with all temples devoted to Lord Ganesha, the Vigneshwara temple at Ozhar too celebrates Ganesh Jayanti and Ganesh Chaturthi. The best time to visit the temple, though, is during Kartik Purnima when the large Deepmalas are lit, creating a beautiful sight.

Accommodation at Ozhar

The temple trust provides accommodation for devotees in single and double rooms (some rooms are air-conditioned) in the lodging facilities they set up a few years ago. Prasad is available between 12noon till 2p.m.

Contact Information of Vigneshwar Temple Trust Ozhar

Shree Vigneshwar Ganpati Devasthan Trust,

Shree Vigneshwar Mandir,

Taluk Junnar

District Pune

Pin Code - 410502.

Ph: +91-2132-288330

8.Visiting Shree Mahaganapati Temple Ranjangaon Pune

The Shree Mahaganapati temple at Ranjangaon is located in Shirur taluka about 50kms from Pune and is the eight temple visited by devotees who set out on the Ashtavinayak Yatra. The form of the temple’s idol, namely Mahaganapati, is considered to be so powerful that the local villagers do not bring home idols of Ganapati at all, as is done during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in other parts of Maharashtra. Instead, they personally visit the temple itself.

How to reach Ranjangaon

• If travelling by road, you have to take the Pune to Nagpur highway. The main towns between Pune and Ranjangaon are Koregaon & Shikrapur.

• If visiting by train, it is on the Pune-Daund railway route, about 16kms from Uruli town.

• If boarding a bus, your best option is to board the State Transport public bus which starts from Shivaji Nagar in Pune.

Mahaganapati Ranjangaon Temple Origin

As per a Hindu mythological legend, a sneeze by revered saint Grutsamad resulted in the creation of a lad named Tripurasura. He learned the Ganesh mantra from his father & invoked Lord Ganesha, who granted him a wish to be the most powerful being whom nobody but Lord Shiva alone would be able to destroy, after which Tripurasura would attain salvation. Tripurasura became very vain & arrogant on getting this wish & proceeded to wreck havoc wherever he went. He first took over the netherworld and then the heavens, including Lord Indra’s abode. Even the most powerful Gods & Goddesses could do nothing to defeat him. He even cunningly got a boon from Lord Shiva and took over Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. Finally he started creating mayhem on the earth itself. With all the worlds conquered, the vain Tripurasura started worshipping his own idol as he considered himself to be the most powerful being.

Terrified of Tripurasura, the heavenly Gods approached Lord Narada for advice. Lord Narada told them that since it was Lord Gajanan who had made Tripurasura so powerful, they should pray to Lord Gajanan only. Following this advice, the Gods recited the 8 Ganesha stotras which Lord Narada had taught them. These stotras are known as Sankatnashan [read the words of Sankatnashan stotra here]. Lord Gajanana, on being invoked, then said that whosoever said the Sankatnashan prior to trying to conquer/overcome all obstacles would be successful.

Subsequently the Gods decided to request Lord Shiva to destroy Tripurasura since, as per the boon granted to him, he would die only at the hands of Lord Shiva. However, Lord Shiva was unsuccessful. He realized this was so because He had not had not recited the Sankatnashan stotra. Once He had recited it, He was immediately able to get a special bheejmantra from Lord Gajanana & with a single arrow killed Tripurasura.

It is believed that the place where Lord Shiva invoked Lord Ganesha & defeated Tripurasura is Ranjangaon (the word ranjan means the delighted one), prior to which it had the name of Manipur.

About the Mahaganapati Ranjangaon Temple

The temple was created in such a way that when the sun sets off on its journey from north to south, the sun’s rays would fall directly on the temple deity’s idol. Both the inner sanctum and the outer area were built by Shri Madhavrao Peshwa. Besides the idol at the upper level.

The idol which is visible at the upper level to devotees has a very broad forehead with the visage facing the east and is seated in a cross-legged posture. Ridhi & Sidhi are standing on either side of the idol.

Located near the temple is a well which is said never to dry up but is always containing water all 12 months of the year.

Mahaganapati Ranjangaon Temple Puja Timings: 5.30a.m. to 10p.m.

Temple pujas:

• Abhishek: Rs 50-

• Varshik Abhishek Rs 600/-

• One Day Annadan Rs.11000/-

• Donation Start from Rs.21/-

• Online Donation Start from Rs.101/-

With prior intimation, the temple trust also makes arrangements to send the prasad to you.

Mahaganapati Ranjangaon Temple Festivals

There is a special 6 day festival in the month of Bhadrapad, during which Mahabhog is offered to the temple deity on the fifth day. During this festival, the temple deity is also taken around the area in a flower be-decked palkhi (palanquin).

Large crowds gather during this festival to also witness the wrestling matches which are specially organized at this time.

Accommodation in Ranjangaon Pune

1. You can book room online from same website.

Contact information:

Ranjangaon Ganpati,

Tal-Shirur,

Dist-Pune,

Pune,

Maharashtra 412209

Ph: 02138-243 200 /01

Website:www.ranjangaonmahaganpati.org

2. If you are looking for hotel accommodation, your best option while stopping over at Ranjangaon is the Yash Inn Hotel. This is a 3-star hotel with room options of: Deluxe, Premium Deluxe, Standard Deluxe, Executive Deluxe, Super Deluxe and Presidential Suite. All facilities and services, including laundry service is available. Underground parking is also available. The hotel has an in-house restaurant called Daffodils, serving Indian, Continental and Chinese food. There is also a separate restaurant serving Korean food and a bar.

Contact Information:

P-11, 5-Star-MIDC,

Ranjangaon,

Pune-Ahmednagar Express Highway,

Taluka Shirur,

District Pune

Ph : (02138) 660777/8/9, 645411

Email : yash_inn@rediffmail.com

Website: http://yashinn.com/