Bhagwan Ganesha is the most popular deity in India. He is worshipped first whenever there is any religious ceremony. There are 8 Abodes of Lord Ganesha in Maharashtra, known as Ashtavinayak Temples. They are visited by millions of devotees every year.
Spread across three districts of Maharashtra, Pune, Ahmednagar, and Raigad, the temples can be visited conveniently from Pune.
All these temples are well-connected to each other by road network. One can go there by hiring an Ashtavinayak temples tour package from Mumbai. Many tour operators offer two or three-day packages.
However, some people do not like the idea of picking a tour package. They feel it takes the liberty of visiting the temples per their own wish. If you also think so, you can hire a personal vehicle and plan your Ashtavinayak Yatra.
Ashtavinayak temples in Maharashtra are unique. Let’s know about them in detail.
1 . Mayureshwar
Mayureshwar, or Moreshwar, is the first temple of the 8 Abodes of Lord Ganesha in Maharashtra. It is located around 65 kilometres from Pune in the village of Morgaon.
This marks the starting point of the Ashtavinayak Temples Yatra. Not only in the beginning but the devotees are supposed to pay their respect to Mayureshwar at the end of the tour.
A boundary wall surrounds the temple, with four pillars at the corners. The temple is simple yet impressive. The idol is three-eyed, and the trunk is turned towards the left side of the god. There are idols of Riddhi and Siddhi, the wives of Bhagwan Ganesha.
Siddhivinayaka of Siddhatek is located around 100 kilometres from Pune in the Ahmednagar District. Devi Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore built the temple. The main idol is placed in a brass frame, and there is Shiv Panchaytana (the whole family of Bhagwan Shiva) and Devi Shivai.
Out of all eight idols, this is the only one with the trunk turned towards the right. It is a legend that Bhagwan Vishnu had a 100-year battle with Madhu and Kaitabh, two Asuras.
Bhagwan Vishnu worshipped Bhagwan Ganesh to get siddhi or special powers to kill the Asuras. Since Bhagwan Vishnu got Siddhi here, this deity is known as Siddhi Vinayaka.
This temple is located around 120 kilometres from Pune. It is a legend that Bhagwan Ganesha appeared before their devotee named Ballal. That is why it is called Ballaleshwar.
This Swayambhu, or self-created idol, is around three feet tall and faces the East. There are precious gems in the naval and eyes of the model.
There is a giant bell in the temple, which was gifted by Chimaji Appa, brother of Bajirao Peshwa, the great warrior. A special pooja is conducted on the occasion of Maghi Chaturthi and Bhadrapad Chaturthi.
4 . Varadvinayak
This temple is located in the Mahad village in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The east-facing idol was found in the nearby lake. There is a Nandadeep in the temple that has been burning since 1892.
This temple has four elephant sculptures in four directions. The devotees are allowed to go inside the inner core or Garbhgriha. It is a unique thing that devotees must experience during the Ashtavinayak Darshan.
Magha Chaturthi is the special day when special celebrations and worship happen.
Chintamani Ganesha temple is located in Theur village near Pune. Bhagwan Chitamani of Their is famous for providing relief from worries. This is one of the largest and most famous Ganesha temples in the Ashtavinayakas.
Madhav Rao Peshwa I built the beautiful wooden Sabha Mandap. He and his wife Ramabai were devotees of this temple. Madhav Rao Peshwa took his last breath on the premises.
The idol is extensive, and its head is primarily visible. The other body parts are not distinct. In the month of Bhadrapada and Magha, special celebrations happen.
This is a unique temple of the Ashtavinayak Temples Yatra, located among Buddhist Caves. It is the reason; the caves are called Ganesha Caves. One has to climb 300+ steps to reach the temple.
This south-facing temple is carved out of one single stone. The idol is also carved on a stone wall with only one eye visible. The temple is believed to be around 1700 years old.
Special days are Bhadrapada Chaturthi and Magha Chaturthi.
This temple is located around 80 kilometres from Pune. It is off the Pune-Nasik highway. The existing temple was renovated by Chimaji Appa, the brother of Bajirao Peshwa-1. The top of the temples is covered with gold.
Stone walls enclose this temple of Ashtavinayak temples in Maharashtra on all sides. The structure is quite attractive. There are two giant lampposts or Deepmalas on the premises.
They are lit on special occasions. The idol faces towards the East, and the trunk is turned on the left side. The deity’s eyes, naval, and forehead are decorated with natural diamonds.
Ranjangaon is a village at a short distance from Pune, where Mahaganapati temple is located. It is one of the powerful representations of Bhagwan Ganesha. Peshwas built this temple. The architecture of this temple is beautiful.
The temple’s location is such that the first sunrays of the morning sun fall on the deity. The temple has four entrance gates, and the eastern gate is unique and attractive. It is bigger and more beautiful. On every Chaturthi, special celebrations and worship are done in the temple.
Ashtavinayak Temples Yatra can be booked from Mumbai or Pune. It is a two-day or three-day yatra package. Typically, four temples are visited in a day, and the night halt is at Pune. The remaining four temples are seen on the next day.
In a three-day program, some other temples in Pune and Shirdi are also covered. You can pick a tour based on your interest and convenience. It is a tremendous religious tour that will give you the utmost pleasure.
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