Category Archives: Ashtavinayaka
Lord Ganesha is popularly known as Vighneshwara – the Lord of obstacles. For those on the spiritual path, Lord Ganesha represents a perfect wisdom who removes all obstacles that comes in the way of attaining God. But to those who need a mystical proof of God, the legends of Lord Ganesha’s eight temples in Maharashta collectively called Ashta-Vinayak temples offer much mysticism.
No Hindu ritual or auspicious act happens without invoking Lord Ganesha first. ‘Om Shri Ganeshaya Namah’ is the first mantra that is chanted before beginning meditation, prayer, starting new enterprises or undertaking any new initiative.
Seekers who have a subtle intellect invoke a formless Lord Ganesha by
“Ajam nirvikalpam nirakaramakam niranandam anandam advaitapoornam |
param nirgunam nirvishesham nireeham para-brahmaroopam ganesham bhaje-ma ||
which translates as
“O Lord, You are unborn, formless and absolute; You are beyond bliss and again bliss itself – the One and the Infinite. You are the Supreme, without attributes, differentiation and desire. You are verily the Supreme Brahman. To You, O Lord, do we offer our worship.”
But for those who need a form for invocation, Lord Ganesha’s forms are many as we can see in his sacred temples – especially the eight temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha all in the state of Maharashtra. These temples relate to various events mentioned in the ancient Puranas and other legends are collectively called Ashta-Vinayak. All the eight Ashta Vinayak temples are Swayambhu (self-originated).
In each of these eight sacred temples in Maharashtra, Lord Ganesha is called by a different name derived from a legend. Here are the names, place and legends associated with each of Lord Ganesha’s temples.
Shri Mayureshwar at Morgaon
Lord Ganesha defeated and liberated a demon called Sindhu. He fought the battle riding a peacock (Mayur is peacock in Sanskrit) and hence became known as Lord Mayureshwar or Moreshwar in Marathi. A 14th century saint called Morya Gosavi is also known to be associated with this temple.
Shri MahaGanapati at Ranjangaon
The MahaGanapati temple is said to be the most powerful representation of Lord Ganesha. This is the place where Lord Shiva invoked Lord Ganesha in a Maha Ganapati form with 20 trunks, 10 hands and vanquished the demon Tripurasur.
Shri Chintamani at Theur
The legend goes – A greedy warrior King Ganasura snatched a wish fulfilling diamond called Chintamani from Rishi Kapila. Kapila Rishi invoked Lord Ganesha who destroyed Ganasura and got back the diamond. Rishi Kapila in his devotion to Lord Ganesha requested him to stay back, completely dropping his desire for the wish fulfilling diamond. Lord Ganesha took up the name of this diamond Chintamani and remained under a Kadamba tree and came to be known as Chintamani Vinayak.
Shri Girijatmaj at Lenyadri
Once Parvati (also known as Girija) asked Lord Shiva who he was mediating on. He said he was mediating on Ganesha “the supporter of the entire universe” and initiated Parvati with “Gam” the powerful Ganesha Mantra. Desiring to have a son, Parvati underwent austerities meditating on Ganesha for twelve years at Lenyadri. Pleased by her penance, Ganesha blessed her with the boon that he will be born as her son. And so he incarnated. Shiva granted a boon that whosoever remembers Lord Ganesha before starting any tasks will successfully complete that task. For 15 years Lord Ganesha grew up at Lenyadri and since he was born to Girija came to be known as Shri Girijatmaj
Shri Vighneshwar at Ojhar
Lord Ganesha is known as Vigneshwara or the remover of all obstacles, this he achieved by vanquishing the demon Vighnasur. The place where the battle was fought was Ojhar and Lord Ganesha came to be known as Vighneshwara Vinayaka – the conqueror of Vighnasur.
Shri SiddhiVinayak at Siddhatek
According to the Mudgala Purana, Lord Vishnu invokes and gets blessings and siddhis (powers) from Lord Ganesha to fight and slay two demons Madhu and Kaitabha. Sages like Maharishi Vyaas, Morya Gosavi and Narayan Maharaj performed austerities and obtained siddhis in Siddhatek. The Lord is called Siddhi Vinayak (one who bestows Siddhis).
Shri Ballaleshwar at Pali
Among Ganesha temples, Ballaleshwar is the only name of Ganesha that is known by his devotee’s name. A merchant didn’t like his young son named Ballal worshipping Lord Ganesha neglecting his business. While in a deep state of contemplation on Lord Ganesha in the forest, Ballal was beaten, tied him to a tree in the forest by his father and went home. Lord Ganesha took form of a learned man, freed Ballal and healed all wounds. Ballal intuitively recognised the true form of Lord Ganesha and pleased by his devotion asked to what boon he wanted. Ballal requested the Lord to stay there permanently in the forest. Lord Ganesha disappeared and a black rock with Ganesha’s carved form appeared. This idol came to be known as Shri Ballaleshwar.
Shri Varad Vinayak at Mahad
Vachaknav Rishi was visited by a ruler by name Rukmangad, and during the visit the rishipatni got infatuated on the king, but he King turned her down. Indra, the king of the Devas took the form of the King Rukmangad and procreated an illegitimate son Grudsamad. The son, learning of the story of his birth got stricken by grief, and prayed to Lord Ganesha. His prayer was granted and was given a boon (var) due to which he became a renowned Rishi. Since a boon (var) was given at this place, Lord Ganesha came to be known by VaradaVinayak.
Sthito Bhimatire Jagadvan Kamen Harina |
Vijetu Daityo Tachuti Malbhavou Kaitabh Madhu ||
Mahavighnarten Prakhar Tapasa Sevitpado |
Ganesh Siddhisho Girivarvapu Panchajanak ||
On the greatest mountain Siddhatek which is located on the bank of river Bhima & surrounded by forest and trees. God Vishnu did hard penance when he was in great difficulty. He got a boon from Lord Siddheshwar Ganesh who is a father or creator of `Panchamahabhuta’ (the five elements namely Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Sky) and killed the two demons Madhu & Kaitabha. Oh mighty God my salute to you. Let me offer my humble services to you.Lord Siddhivinayaka, the third Ganesh of Ashtavinayaka has trunk towards right and has authority to complete the work. At this place God Vishnu got Siddhi (divine illumination). The God is awaked or potent. Sage Moraya Gosavi from Chinchwad and Sage Narayan Maharaj from Kodgaon got siddhi from the Lord Siddhivinayaka at this place. Shri Haripant Phadke a general from Peshwa got back his post when he did penance continuously for 21 days . Stories about Shree SidhatekLong ago God Brahma thought of creating the nature. For that he did ceaseless reiteration of single alphabet OM. Lord Ganesha was delighted with the penance and gave him a boon that he will fulfil his wish of creating the nature. When God Brahma was creating the nature, God Vishnu felt asleep. Demons Madhu & Kaitabh immerge from God Vishnu’s ears (means from his irascible) they started harassing all gods, goddesses and sages. God Brahma realise that only God Vishnu will be able to kill the two demons. God Brahma along with other gods requested God Vishnu to kill the demons. God Vishnu fought with them for 5 thousand years, but he could not succeed in ending their lives. Then God Vishnu realise that he won’t succeed unless he worships Lord Ganesha. God Shiva and goddess Parvati gave him `Ganesh Mantra’ and asked him to go to Siddhi Shetra(place) for worshipping the mantra. God Vishnu came to Siddhi Shetra. where he found self-existent right trunk Ganesh idol. God Vishnu installed the idol at Siddhi Shetra and called the Ganesh as `Siddhi Vinayak’. This Siddhi Shetra later became famous by Siddhatek.God Brahma got the energy to create the nature with the boon. With the Lords blessing God Brahma got two daughters named Siddhi & Buddhi. God Brahma worshipped Lord Ganesha and requested to accept his daughters as Lord Ganesha’s wife.Lord Vishnu, sage Vyas, sage Bhrushundi, sage Moraya Gosavi, sage Narayan Maharaj were stayed at this holy place. This place is one of the twenty-one places of Lord Ganesha, which mentioned in the purana (mythology). This place is second in Ashtavinayaka.The Temple At Siddhatek Lord Ganesha gave darshan to God Vishnu (Lord Ganesh himself appeared in front of God Vishnu). God Vishnu built a temple over there with installing Ganesha idol. The temple has four big entrances. Later on this temple was destroyed by wear and tear. Years later a cowherd had a divine appearance of God and saw this temple. That cowherd used to wash the idol by the water of river Bhima and used to give offering and used to worship. Soon everyone in the vicinity came to know about the temple. A Brahmin used to maintain the Lord Ganesha and temple. During the Peshwa Rule, the existing temple was built. The idols facing towards North. The nave is about 15 feet by 10 feet. The idol has beautiful gaily-decorated frame, on which sun, moon & eagle were carved. Also snake is decorated at the middle of the frame. Near decorate frame one can see the idols of Jay & Vijay (the dwarpals/watch men). The sleeping room(shej-ghar) of the God is in the nave. At the main entrance there is a Nagar-khana where one can hear the sound of holy drums in the morning and afternoon.Idol Lord Siddhi Vinayaka is having trunk towards right side. Because of this one has to be very particular about the holiness of the idol. After taking bath, only few selected people/priests can worship the idol by touching it. No one else is even allowed to enter the main nave. The height of the idol is 3 feet and width is 2 feet. Near the temple there are small temples of other gods like God Shiva, Goddess Sitala, God Vishnu. The temple opens at dawn. At that time priest does prayers and does holy bathing of the idol. After night prayers temple closes and Lord Siddhi Vinayaka sleeps in shej-ghar. In the morning again priest worship the idol(Shodopachari puja), in the evening priest worship idol.Programs and Festivals Temple observes big festivals in the month of Magh and Bhadrapada, Pratipada (1st day of the month) to Panchami(5th day of the month) many ornaments is put on the idol during these festivals.
How to reach Sidhatek
1)By rail Pune-Sholapur, one can get down at Daund station to reach the Siddhatek . Pune-Daund is 78 km. The way is Pune-Hadapsar-Loni-Vawat-Chaufula-Patas-Daud-Siddhatek. Daud-Siddhatek distance is 18 km. One can got to Daud-Shirapur-Bhima river. One can cross the river with a boat. Private buses, cars are allowed to go till the bank of river Bhima. After passing the river one has to walk some distance to reach temple. 2)By road one can go from Daud-Kasti-Padgaon to Siddhatek. 3)State transport bus service available between Shivaji Nagar(Pune) to Siddhatek.
Brahma Srushtyadisakta Sthirmatirahittam Pidito Vighnasandhe |
Aakranto Bhutirakta Krutiganrajasa Jeevita Tyaktu Mischina ||
Swatmanan Sarvyakta Ganapatimamal Satyachintamaniyam |
Mukta Cha Stapayant Shtirmatisukhadam Sthavare Dhudhi Midhe ||
The one who is in search of happiness, whose mind is wavering like God Brahma, who is in the middle of all calamities should go to Sthavar means Theur & worship Shree Chintamani & get rid of all Chintas(worries).God Brahma meditated here to subdue his wavering mind. Theur is the nearest place of Ashtavinayak from Pune.
King Abhjit & queen Gunavati did penance for several years on advice of sage Vaishampayan & got a son named as Gana. Gana popularly called as Ganaraja.
Ganaraja was as furious as he was brave & valorious. Once after his hunting expedition he came to Kapila Rishi’s Ashram for taking rest. Sage Kapila welcomed Ganaraja & invited for lunch along with his sena(army).
King of gods Indra had given sage Kapila a jewel called Chintamani. With its help the sage fed the entire army with good food. Being impressed by the power of the jewel, greedy Ganaraja asked sage Kapila to give the jewel to him. When sage Kapila refused to give the jewel, Ganaraja took away from him by force.
Sage Kaplia was disappointed. Goddess Durga advice Kapila to worship Lord Ganesha & in boom asked for the Chintamani. A fierced battle between Lord Ganesha & Ganaraja took place. At the end Lord Ganesha killed Ganaraja.
King Abhjit returned the Chintamani to sage Kapila. Sage Kapila worshipped Lord Ganesha. From that time Lord Ganesha was also called as Chintamani-Vinayaka. This village is also called as Kadamba Tirtha because the battle between Lord Ganesha & Ganaraja took place near Kadamba tree.
King of gods Indra was attracted towards Sage Gautam’s beautful wife Ahilya. Once the sage was out for bath, God Indra in disguise of sage Gautam had pleasure with Ahilya. On returning to hermitage, sage Gautam by his inner power realised the fact. Seething with rage sage Gautam cursed God Indra. Because of the curse God Indra had thousands of holes in his body. God Indra pleaded for mercy. Sage Gautam asked him to worship Lord Ganesha to get rid of the curse. God Indra performed penance in Kadambnagar & got released from the curse. The lake in which God Indra had bath, is called as Chintamani sarovar.
The main archway of the temple faces North. Madhavarao Peshava had built a concrete road from main gate up to Mula-Mutha river. Temple hall is made up of wood & there is a small fountain made up of black stone in the hall. The courtyard of the temple is big paved with floor. There is small temple of God Shiva in the courtyard of the temple. A big bell can be seen outside the main temple.
The temple was built by Dharanidhar Maharaj Dev from the family of Moraya Gosavi. One hundred years later Madhavarao Peshava built a hall for this temple. Haripant Phadake & other devotees had done timely repairs of the temple.
Idol facing toward East is self emerged & has a left side trunk. There are diamonds in the eyes of the idol.
Two festivals, one in Bhadrapada from Pratipada to Saptami & another in Magh are celebrated in Theur on grand scale. In those days Ganesh idols in the nearby temples are worshipped & offered naivedya. This is called as Dwaryatra. On Sankashti & Angaraki people give food to poor. They have been provided with the utensils to prepare food.
Lord Chintamani was a family God of Madhavarao Peshva. His palace was near the temple & now it is converted into garden. Madhavarao Peshva had stayed in this palace in his last sickness. He renovated the temple & performed various religious programs in the temple. By chanting Gajanan he passed away. Ramabai, wife of Madhavarao Peshva burnt herself with corpse of Madhavarao Peshva on bank of the Mula Mutha river. Sati’s vrindavan was built on that place. It was Kartik Vadya Ashtami. Rama Madhav death anniversary is celebrated here on Kartik Vadya Ashtami.
How to reach Theur
Theur is in Haveli district of Pune. The distance from Pune is about 25 km. Theur is situated on the confluence of Mula, Mutha & Bhima rivers. One can reach Theur by,
1. Regular Pune Motor Transport buses are available from Poolgate bus stand of Pune. 2. On Pune-Sholapur highway after Loni, a road leads to Theur.
Vedo Sanstuvaibhavo Gajmukho Bhaktabhimaniti Yo |
Ballaleravya Subhaktapal Narataha Khyataha Sada Tishtati ||
Kshetre Pallipure Yatha Kritayuge Charimashta Laukike |
Bhakterbhavit Murtiman Ganapati Siddhiswhar Tam Bhaje ||
Whose greatness is mentioned in Vedas, whose face is like an elephant, who is famous in his devotees, who is famous in his devotees, who is busy in looking after his devotees for protection. In Krita-yuga who is living in Pallipur alias Pali who idol is liked by all devotees. I worship such a great Lord Ganesha.
The legendary story of Shri Ballaleshwar is covered in Upasana Khand Section -22 occurred in Pali – the old name Pallipur.
Kalyansheth was a merchant in Pallipur and was married to Indumati. The couple was childless for quite some time but later was blessed with a son known as Ballal. As Ballal grew, he spent much of his time in worshiping and praying. He was devotee of Lord Ganesha and used to worship stone idol of Shri Ganesha in the forest along with his friends and companions. As it used to take time, the friends would reach home late. Regular delay in returning house used to irritate the parents of the friends of Ballal who complained to his father saying that Ballal was responsible for spoiling the kids. Already unhappy with Ballal for not concentrating on his studies, Kalyansheth was boiling with anger when he heard the complaint. Immediately he reached the place of worship in the forest and devastated Pooja arrangements organized by Ballal and his friends. He threw away the Stone Idol of Shri Ganesh and broke the pandal. All the kids got frightened but Ballal who was engrossed in Pooja and japa, did not even know what was happening around. Kalayan beat Ballal mercilessly and tied him to the tree saying to get fed and freed by Shri Ganesha. He left for home thereafter.
Ballal semiconscious and tied to the tree in the forest was lying as that with severe pain all over, started calling his beloved God, Shri Ganesha.
“O Lord, Shri Ganesha, I was busy in praying you, I was right and humble but my cruel father has spoiled my act of devotion and hence I am unable to perform Pooja.”
Shri Ganesha was pleased and responded quickly. Ballal was freed. He blessed Ballal to be superior devotee with larger lifespan. Shri Ganesha hugged Ballal and said that his father would suffer for his wrong doings.
Ballal insisted that Lord Ganesha should continue to stay there at Pali. Nodding His head Shri Ganesha made his permanent stay at Pali as Ballal Vinayak and disappeared in a large stone. This is famous as Shri Ballaleshwar.
Shri Dhundi Vinayaka
In the above mentioned story the stone idol which Ballal used to worship and which was thrown away by Kalyan Sheth is known as Dhundi Vinayak. The idol is facing west. The birth celebration of Dhundi Vinayak takes place from Jeshtha Pratipada to Panchami. From ancient time, it is a practice to take darshan of Dhundi Vinayak before proceeding to main idol Shree Ballaleshwar.
The original wooden temple was re-built with rock by Mr. Phadanvis during 1760’s. The temple is facing towards East. Two small lakes are built near the temple. Water from the right side lake is used for Lord Ganesha’s worship and other auspicious occasions. During Southern declination of the sun the rays directly fall on the idol of Lord Ballaleshwar. The temple is very strong while building the walls of the temple, lead was put in it. The pinnacle of the temple was build by bricks and a small room was built inside the pinnacle. there is a terrace in front of the room. There are two naves in the temple. The inner or main nave is bigger the naves were built in such a way that all right directions are covered in it. It is like an octagon. The height of the main nave is 15 feet and the height of other nave is 12 feet where the statue of mouse holding modak in its two legs was installed.
In the main nave, there is a gaily decorated frame which is made up of stone. The idol of Lord Ballaleshwar is about 3 feet. The idol is facing towards East and the trunk is going towards left. There are diamonds in the eyes and navel of the idol. The decorative frame behind the idol is made of silver. The idol is installed on the throne and decorated with silver. Idols of Goddess, Shri Buddhi and Goddess Shri Siddhi are present near the idol of Lord Ballaleshwar. Many ornaments of gold, silver & diamonds are put on the idol everydy.
Daily Programs and festivals
The temple opens at 5 O’clock in the morning and at 5.30 am one can see and worship Lord Ballaleshwar. At 5 a.m. kakad arati(prayer which is done in early morning) & Panchopachari puja(worship with sandalwood, flowers, red lead, pastin stick/dhoop and light deep) done by the priest. Before 12 noon Shodopachari puja (a worship which embodies 16 items). After sunset Panchopachari puja and at night dhoop arti (worshipping with pastin sticks) takes place. The temple closes after last prayers in the night.
Bhadrapada ( 6th month of the Hindu calendar) Shuddha Pratipada(first day) to Panchami (5th day) are celebrated as a big festival. Similarly Magha (11th month of the Hindu calendar) Shuddha Pratipada to Panchami are celebrated as a big festival.
There is a special story about the offering at night of Maghi Chaturthi to the god. After offering doors of the nave used to close and after some time when doors are open, one can see the marks of God’s fingers on the offering. To see this miracle many devotees
come to Pali.
Ashtavinayaka or eight Ganeshas is located in Maharashtra state of India, The Ashtavinayaka yatra or pilgrimage covers the eight holy temples of Ganesha .All the Eight Temples are Swayambhu (self-originated) and Jagrut.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 VinayakThese 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.