The Moreshwar Temple, Moregaon
One of the Ashtavinayak, Shri Moreshwar is at Morgaon. Morgaon is situated on the banks of river Karha which comes in Baramati Taluka in Pune District.It is said that the shape of this place is like a peacock and that once upon a time there were many peacocks in this region and therefore this place is called as ‘Morgoan’.
The idol is believed to be “Swayambhu” as was found or not sculpted by human hands. Morgaon is at the distance of 64 kms from Pune. This is also known as Shri. Mayureshwar. The temple was built in 14th century by Moraya Gosavi. According to the legend Ganpati took birth as Mayureshwar riding a peacock to kill Sindhu ( who was son of Chakrapani ) also had powerful by worshipping Surya and was attacking Gods and imprisoned them. This is the place where head of Sindhu fell. It is believed that one Should start the “Ashtavinayak” yatra from Morgaon.
The main temple facing towards the north is in the center of village & looks like a small Fortress or chateu. The temple complex comprising of a dome, surrounded by a 50 feet high enclosure & decked with four pillars in each corners, potrays from afar an image of a Mosque. The temple has four gates. In the eastern gate is Lakshminarayana, a giver of Dharma. In the Southern gate are parvati & shankar, givers of Artha(desired goals). Then comes western gate where Rati & Kama resides. Lastly in the northern gate reside, Mahivaraha(Earth & Sun).
Thus all Deities & all sages resides in this temple. In the eight corners, there are eight statues of Ganapati called EKDANTA, MAHODARA, GAJANANA, LAMBODAR, VIKATA, VIGHARAJA, DHUMRAVARNA & VAKRATUNDA. In this temple complex there are tress of Shami, Mandar & Tarati. The tree of Tarati is also called as Kalpavruksha. Devotees meditate under this tree & attain desired goals. Before taking darshan of Mayureshwar, first take darshan of ‘nagnabhairava’ on the left side of Mayureshwar & offer him naivaidya of coconut & jaggery.
The deity ‘Moreshwara’ inside the sanctum is a very attractive. It is in sitting posture, facing east with the trunk turning left & smeared with vermillion mixed in oil. In its eyes & navel, diamonds are embedded. On its head is the hood of Nagaraja. On left & right are brass idols of Siddhi& Buddhi. In front of the idol are the Mooshaka(Rat) & Mayura(peacock).
The original idol of Moreshwar was small in size. As many layers of vermillion are applied on it, it looks bigger. Sometimes after 100& 125 years this armour of vermillion casts off & original beautiful idol inside this armour is seen again. It has been heard that Mayureshwar’s armour had been cast off in 1788 & 1822 A.D.
The Siddhivinayak Temple, Siddhatek
Siddhtek is a remote little village along the river Bhima in the Ahmednagar district and Karjat tehsil in Maharashtra. The Siddhivinayak at Siddhtek is considered an especially powerful deity. It is believed that it was here on the Siddhtek Mountain, that Vishnu acquired Siddhi.
The place next idol was made by Ahilya Bai Holkar. Amazing thing about these place is it is so silence that even the river Bhima when flooded doesn’t make any noise, which states the dept of the river.
Shree Siddhivinayak’s temple is on hill top facing north. The swayambhu idol of Shree Siddhivinayaka is placed in brass frame. Brass idols of Jay & Vijay are placed on both sides of Siddhivinayaka. In the Sanctum itself there is a Shivapanchayatan & goddess Shiva’s small temple. Hall of the temple was previously built by Baroda’s landlord late Shri Mairal. It was broken in 1939 & was rebuilt by all Ganesh devotees in 1970. The idol is swayambhu, three feet tall, facing north with his trunk turned right. Idol is Gajmukh, however belly of the idol is not big. Riddhi & Siddhi are sitting on one lap of Vinayaka. Face is very calm & serene. The pradakshana (circumnavigation) of this God is said to be very fruitful. One has to travel 5 k.m. to comple one pradakshana as the idol is attached to the hill itself.
The Ballaleshwar Temple, Pali
Village Pali is at a distance of 30kms from Karjat in Sudhagad taluka of Raigad district. It is situated between fort Sarasgad and river Amba flowing on the other side. Among Astavinayakas, Pali’s Ballaleshwar is the only vinayak who is famous by his devotee’s name.This place is very famous and spiritually awakened. Pali comes in Konkan region and so there is greenery everywhere,coconuts and banana trees are abundant. From Mumbai via Panvel & Khopoli,Pali is at a distance of 124kms. From Pune via Lonavala & Khopoli,Pali is at a distance of 111kms.
Shape of the stone temple is in the form of letter “Shree” & faces east. During Dakshinayan at sun-rise, the sun rays falls exactly on the Vinayaka. There are two Sanctums (Gribhagriha) in the temple. Inner sanctum is quite big & is 15 feet high. Outer sanctum is 12 feet high & it has rat idol with Modak in his hands & facing Ganesh. Temple walls are made quite strong by mixing lead with cement while construction.Hall of the temple is 40 feet long & 20 feet broad & it was built by late Shri Krishnaji Ringe in 1910 A.D. Hall is very beautiful with 8 pillars resembling cyprus throne tree. Temple complex is tiled & it encircles two lakes. Water of one lake towards right is reserved for Vinayaka’s Pooja.
Idol of Vinayaka sitting on stone throne, faces east. The shining diamonds are embedded in the eyes & naval. The background is of silver where one finds Riddhi & Siddhi waving chamaras. Temple complex has a big bell made in Europe.After defeating portuguese in Vasai & Sasthi, Chimaji Appa brought these bells & offered them at different Ashtavinayak places.
The Varadavinayak Temple, Mahad
The Varadvinayak temple at Mahad is located on the highway linking Mumbai and Pune. Mahadcha Varadvinayak is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha. Mahad village is situated in Khalapur taluka of Raigad District.Mahad is surrounded by picturesque surrounding.
Legend has it that a rishi by name Vachaknavi was visited by a ruler by name Rukmangada, and during the visit the rishipatni Mukundaa expressed her attraction to the king. The king turned her down leaving her seething in anger. In the meanwhile, Indra, the king of the Devas came down to the earth in the disguise of Rukmangada and accepted her amorous moves. An illegitimate son Grutshmadha was born out of their union. The son, learning of the story of his birth was grief stricken, and prayed to Ganesha in Bhadrakavana for absolvement of the sins of everyone concerned. His prayers were granted by Varadavinayak of Bhadrakavana (now Mahad).
Shree Dhondu Paudkar in 1690 A.D found the swayambhu idol of shree varadvinayak in al lake.This idol was kept in a nearby goddess temple for some time.afterwards in 1725 A.D Varadvinayak temple was built by peshva sardar ramji mahadev biwalkar & he gifted this to the Village.
Varadavinayak is portrayed, seated on an east facing throne. Stone images of his consorts Siddhi and Riddhi are also seen in the temple. A lamp in this temple is said to have been glowing uninterrupted for over a hundred years.
The Chintamani Temple, Theur
Theur is situated at a distance of 25kms from pune in Haveli Taluka of Pune District. Theur is situated at the confluence of the Mula, Mutha, and Bhima rivers. Theur is the nearest astavinayak from Pune. At Theyoor the temple is dedicated to Chintamani Vinayak. Ganesh as Chintamani is god who brings peace of mind and drives away all perplexities of the mind.
The temple is build during the rule of Peshwas. The total cost of expenditure incurred to make the temple was Rs. 40,000 which in today’s world amounts to Rs 400 million. The temple is made so strong that it still has the same structure even after 400 years of existence, the gathering hall is still original made with wood.
As Peshwas visited these place very frequently, the two 5 metal bell bought from Europe from the church was one kept in Mahad and other one was kept here . As after the death of Madhav Rao Peshwa, his wife went for sati, the beautiful garden was made in her memory is very attractive to see.
The main archway of the temple faces north.Temple hall is made up of wood and there is a small fountain made up of black stone in the hall.The courtyard of the temple is quite big paved with floor. There is a small temple of Lord Shankar in the courtyard of the temple.A big bell can also be seen in the temple. The Idol faces east and is swayambhu (self emanated) and has a left side trunk.There are carbuncle and diamonds in the eyes of Vinayaka.
The Girijatamak Temple, Lenyandri
Lenyadri is the only place among Astavinayaka places,which is situated on mountain and in the vicinity of the buddhist caves. Lenyadri is situated on the North-west bank of river Kukadi.
Out of 18 Buddhist caves on mountain, Girijatmaj Vinayak’s temple is in the eighth cave. These caves are also called as Ganesh caves. The temple is reached after climbing 307 steps. The entire temple is carved out of single stone and is facing south. In front of Main Mandir, there is huge Sabhamandap (Hall) which is nearly 53 feet long and 51 feet broad and to your surprise there is not a single pillar in this Sabhamandap. It has 18 small apartments for meditation. Shree Girijatmaj’s idol is placed in the middle apartment.
Sabhamandap of main temple is only 7 feet high. It has six stone pillars with cow, elephant etc. carved on them. From the main temple one can view river flowing and the Junnar town spread near the river.
Girijatmaja’s idol faces east. Parvati consecrated Ganesh idol in the cave wherein she had performed penances. Idol here is not a separate and distinct one. It has been carved on stone wall of the cave. Previously idol was covered with armour. Now, since the armour is fallen Girijatmaj’s idol with neck turned to left side can be seen. As such only one eye of the idol can be seen. In this small sanctum anybody can perform Girijatmaj’s Pooja on its own.
On the Pune – Nasik high way, via Chakan – Rajgurunagar – Mancher – then from Narayangaon via Junnar road one reach Lenyadri. This distance is 94 kms.
The Vighnahar Temple, Ozar
On the banks of the Kukdeshwar river, Ozhar is where Lord Vighneshwar resides. Lord Ganesh is known as Vigneshwara or the remover of all obstacles, this he achieved by vanquishing the demon Vighnasura
The temple is situated in the Junnar District Pune. Chimajiappa, the younger brother of Peshwa made a golden top of the temple after he defeated the Portuguese in a war. The renovation of the temple was done between 1958 to 1968 and was brought to its original glory. Swayambhu (self-generated) idol with the trunk to the left. Temple faces East and has several idols. There is a beautiful deepamala in the temple.
It is believed that after visiting this place God takes away your problems. The temple is surrounded by a long stone wall which acts as compound. The idol of a running mouse inside the temple is a delight to see. The eyes of Lord Ganesh is made of diamond which gives the real look to God. The best time to visit here is during Tripuri pournima, it is a 4 day festival.
The Mahaganapati Temple, Ranjangaon
The Maha Ganpati is the most powerful representation of Lord Ganesh. Maha Ganpati is depicted as having eight, ten or twelve arms. It is after invoking this form of Ganpati that Shiva vanquished the demon Tripurasur and so he is also known as Tripurarivade Mahaganpati.
According to the history the temple was build in between 9th & 10th century. Madhavrao Peshwa made a room in the basement of the temple to keep the idol of the lord Ganesh. Later on Sardar Kibe of Indore renovated it.
The temple faces the east. The real idol is buried behind the idol that can be seen in the temple. Mahaganapati is believed to have eight, ten or twelve hands. According to some, the unseen idol has ten trunks and twenty hands.
About 50 km from Pune on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway. While going from the Pune – Nagar high way the route is Pune – Koregaon – then via Shikrapur Rajangaon is 21 kms before Shirur.