Among the Ashtavinayakas, Ballaleshvara at Pali is the only Ganesha who is famous by the name of his devotee and who is dressed up as a brahmin



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Among the Ashtavinayakas, Ballaleshvara at Pali is the only Ganesha who is famous by the name of his devotee and who is dressed up as a brahmin.

Village Pali is situated in the Sudhagad taluka in the district of Raigad. This place is nestled between the fort Sarasgad and River Amba. The nearest railway station is Karjat, which is 30Kms away.




At Theur in the Haveli Taluka of Pune district in Maharashtra is the temple dedicated to Chintamani Vinayak. The village is along the river Mulamutha. Ganesh as Chintamani is god who brings peace of mind and drives away all perplexities of the mind.

It is believed that Brahma the creator once felt tharva that is restive. To still his mind he called upon Lord Ganesh. The place where Brahma achieved the quietude he was looking for is known as the Sthavar region or as Theur.




Lenyadri is to the North of Pune, along the Kukdi river. The Ganesh Puran calls this place as Jirnapur or Lekhan Parbat. Girijatmaj Vinayak refers to the Ganesh as the son of Parvati. Girija is another name for Parvati and Atamaj means son. This is the only temple of the Ashtavinayak which is on a mountain and is set in a Buddhist cave-temple




Ratnagiri:

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.


Ratnagiri:
The Mayureshwar or Moreshwar temple is along the Karha river in the Morgaon village. A temple that looks like a tiny fort from a distance, is situated in the Baramati Taluka of Pune district in Maharashtra. This region is also known as the Bhuswananda. Shaped as a peacock, this region has in the past seen an abundance of peacocks and is therefore known as Morgaon (Mor - peacock)..

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.




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.




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


Eight Temples

The eight temples/idols of the Ashtavinayak in their religious sequence are:


  1. The Moreshwar Temple, Moregaon

  2. The Siddhivinayak Temple, Siddhatek

  3. The Ballaleshwar Temple, Pali

  4. The Varadavinayak Temple, Mahad

  5. The Chintamani Temple, Theur

  6. The Girijatamak Temple, Lenyandri

  7. The Vighnahar Temple, Ozar

  8. The Mahaganapati Temple, Ranjangaon

Some of these idols are called Swayambhu effigies, or the self-existent in Sanskrit. This is to indicate that no human created these idols, they were discovered in their present form, in nature.

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Moreshwar

This is the most important temple on this tour. The temple, built from black- stone during the Bahamani reign, has four gates.

Ganesha, riding a peacock, in the form of Mayureshwara is believed to have slain the demon Sindhu at this spot. The idol, with its trunk turned to the left, has a cobra (Nagaraj) poised over it protecting it.

However, this is not the original idol -which is said to have been consecrated twice by Brahma, once before & once after being destroyed by the demon Sindhurasur. The original idol, smaller in size and made of atoms of sand, iron & diamonds was supposedly enclosed in tin sheet by the Pandavas and is placed behind the one that is worshipped.

The temple is situated at a distance of 56 km from Pune, next to the river Kara in the village of Moregoan. The village derives its name from the Marathi name of the bird peacock - also the national bird of India; there used to be a lot of peacocks in this village in the ancient time, and the village is also set out in the shape of a peacock.

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Siddhivinayak


The Hindu god Vishnu is supposed to have vanquished the demons Madhu and Kaitab after propitiating Ganesh here.

This is the only idol with the trunk pointing to the right.

This temple is situated off the Pune-Solapur highway about 48 km from the town of Srigonda in Ahmadnagar district. The temple is situated next to Bhima river.

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Ballaleshwar


Ganesha is believed to have saved his boy-devotee, Ballala, who was beaten by local villagers for his single-minded devotion to him.

This Temple faces the east and has two sanctums. The inner one houses the idol and has a rat idol with Modak in his forepaws in front of it. The hall, supported by eight exquisitely carved pillars demands as much attention as the idol, sitting on throne carved like a cyprus tree.

Like a few other idols, this one too has diamonds embedded in the eyes and navel, and with his trunk pointing to the left.

The temple is located in the town of Pali, off the Mumbai-Pune highway, about 11 km before Nagothane on the Mumbai-Goa highway.

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Varadavinayak

Ganesha is said to reside here in the form of Varada Vinayaka, the giver of bounty and success. The idol was found in the adjoining lake, in an immersed position and hence its weathered look.

The idol faces the east, has its trunk to the left and has been in the constant company of an oil lamp - said to be burning continuously since 1892.

This is the only temple where devotees are allowed to personally pay their homage and respects to the idol. They are allowed in the immediate vicinity of this idol to perform their prayers.

The temple is located three kilometers off the Pune-Mumbai highway near Khopoli (80 km from Pune), and is thus closest to Mumbai city.

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Chintamani


Ganesha is believed to have got back the precious Chinatamani jewel from the greedy Guna for sage Kapila at this spot.

This idol also has a left trunk, with carbuncle and diamonds as its eyes.

The temple is located 22 km from Pune, off the Pune-Solapur highway, and is hence the nearest from Pune. The village of Theur sits at the confluence of three major regional rivers—Mula, Mutha & Bhima.

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Girijatamak


It is believed that Parvati performed penance to beget Ganesha at this point. This temple stands amidst a cave complex of 18 caves of Buddhist origin. The temple is carved out of a single stone hill, which has 307 steps. The temple features a wide hall with no supporting pillars.

The idol faces north with its trunk to the left, and has to be worshipped from the rear of the temple.

The temple is situated 12 km from Narayangaon, which is about 90 km from Pune on the Pune-Nashik highway.

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Vighnahar

The history and encompassing this idol states that Vighnasur, a demon was created by the Hindu God of Gods, Indra to destroy the prayer organized by King Abhinandan. However, the demon went to a step further and destroyed all vedic, religious acts and to answer the people's prayers for protection, Ganesh defeated him. The story goes on to say that on being conquered the demon begged and pleaded with Ganesha to show a mercy. Ganesha then granted in his plea, but on the condition that he protect those who invoke him.

This temple is located just off the Pune-Nashik Highway, in the town of Ozhar. It is enclosed on all sides by high stone walls, and its pinnacle is made of gold.

This idol, facing the east, has its trunk towards the left and rubies in its eyes.

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Mahaganapati


Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripurasura here.

The idol faces the east, is seated in a cross-legged position with a broad forehead, with its trunk pointing to the left.

Constructed so that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol, the temple bears a distinct resemblance to the architecture reminiscent of the 9th and 10th Centuries and faces the east.

The temple is situated 50 km from Pune on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway in the village of Ranjangaon.




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