- The Eight power centers of Lord Ganesha
By Chalomumbai correspondent
means eight and Vinayaka is one of the several names of Lord Ganesh. The
Ashtavinaykas are eight Ganesh temples in Maharashtra namely Morgaon, Theoor,
Pali, Mahad, Lenyadri, Ozar, Ranjangaon and Siddhatek, five of them being in
Pune district alone.
Ganesh idols in these temples are known to be swayambhu (born on their own, in
other words, discovered, not constructed). That's why these temples have special
significance. Devotees strongly believe that their wishes would be fulfilled if
they visit these temples at least once in their lifetime.
In fact, one would find very few Maharashtrian families that have not done the
Ashtavinayakadarshan yatra once in their lives.
are a number of travel companies taking pilgrims to Ashtavinayakas throughout
the year. But one can go independently by Maharashtra State Road Transport
Corporation buses, private luxury buses or private vehicles too. Except for the
two steep ones -- Ozar and Lenyadri, the other temples are easy to reach.
set out on the journey
are various routes to reach Morgaon from Pune but the most commonly taken one is
Pune-Hadpsar-Saswad-Jejuri-Morgaon. Old-style construction marks the temple.
With a silver cobra adorning its head, the Ganesh idol sparkles with radiant
diamonds which make its eyes. Eight different statues of Ganesh, installed in
eight directions attract attention in the temple compound. A huge mouse and a
nandi bull (the vehicle of Lord Shiva) in metal catch your eye as they sit in
front of the Ganesh idol.
is a tough one to climb. On Pune-Nashik highway, if one takes the
Chakan-Rajgurunagar-Manchar-Narayangaon-Junnar route, Lenyadri mountain falls on
the way. The 302 step climb is worth it. The cave temple and the stone statue
are beautiful. But what's amazing about the place is that the cave which is 50
ft long and 60 ft wide does not have a single pillar! If this architectural
wonder doesn't make you curious, there is a well on the mountain, storing
chilled water which tastes good too!
Pune, when you take the Hadapsar route, 3 km away from Loni is the Theoor road.
This temple is endowed with scenic beauty -- there is a river flowing behind the
temple and the long temple passage is usually quiet in the evenings, making it a
perfect place of worship. It's said that a saint called Morya Gosavi became
enlightened here in the past. In the recent times, during the Peshwa rule, the
temple was renovated as Madhavrao Peshwa was very fond of it. For Pune
residents, the distance of 25 km is something that can be covered easily. As a
result, the temple is always crowded.
the same route but a little before Lenyadri is Ozar. Situated on the banks of
Kukdi river, this temple has been surrounded by a solid stone wall. The huge
shrine and the attractive idol inside it create a sense of grandeur. Nearby is
the fort of Shivneri where the Maratha king Shivaji was born. Pilgrims make it a
point to visit the fort more because of its historical significance than its
proximity to the Ozar or Lenyadri temple.
one falls in the Raigad district. The easier route is Mumbai-Panvel-Khopoli and
Pali. Built in stone, this huge shrine has visitors throughout the year. But in
the month of Magh, according to the Hindu calendar, there is a festival of
Ganesh and many pilgrims from Mumbai, Pune make a beeline for the early morning
darshan on Chaturthi (the fourth day). A huge metal bell at the entrance adds to
the overall vastness of the structure.
This one is close to Pune. On the Pune-Ahmednagar highway, one has to go via
Pune-Koregaon-Shikrapur route. Ranjangaon is close to Shirur. The temple is
built in such a way that when the Sun is in transition - moving from Uttarayan
to Dakshinayan, its rays invariably fall on the idol.
is said that the original statue which was found in the village was called
Mahotkat and it had 10 trunks and 20 hands. But it has been preserved in the
underground cell of the temple. The one which is kept for worship is different.
One can take the same Mumbai-Panvel-Khopoli route since this one also comes in
the Raigad district, except that 6 km before Khopoli, there is a turn which
takes one to the Mahad temple. As such this temple looks like an old-fashioned
residential structure. It has no grandeur that mark many other temples. But
Varadvinayaka is supposed to be very jagrut (one who grants wishes, even gives
darshan if worshipped sincerely). Another important feature of this temple is
the lamp which has been burning here since 1892!
In Ahmednagar district, on the Pune-Solapur highway, one has to take the Pune-Hadapsar-Loni-Yavat-Chaufula-Patas-Daund
route. Cross River Bheema or take a longer route to make it to the temple.
Legend goes that Lord Vishnu became enlightened here. Hence this place is
supposed to be appropriate for attaining siddhi (divine powers).
the devotees of Ganesh, the Ashtavinayaka pilgrimage is an experience that is
satisfying in itself. That it can also ward off any evil or fulfil their wishes
is actually the secondary advantage.