Sometime last month, it delved in me to go and submit myself in to the presence of Lord Ganesha, the persona of prosperity, learning and remover of obstacles. In the Hindu scriptures, Lord Ganesha holds a very unique and important position amongst all the various Gods and Goddesses, for he is remembered and paid homage first before the start of any worship of any other God.
The temple that I wished to visit was in the state of Maharashtra and was actually not one temple rather eight of them known as “ Ashtavinayak “ , meaning “Eight Ganesha” . The term referred to the eight Ganesha shrines to which a devotee does a pilgrimage and each temple has a distinct idol of Lord Ganesh in a specific posture. The temples are all situated at various places and there is a preordained sequence of visiting the temples whilst undertaking the pilgrimage. All the idols are Syayambhu (self-originated) and the temples are considered to extremely auspicious.
The eight temples are known as
I did not undertake the pilgrimage in the sequence ordained rather let my heart take me to the place that it leaned to and hence I visited only two shrines, Mahaganapati and Chintamani and this is an account of these two places. Hopefully in the days ahead i will be able to complete the remaining .
The legend speaks about Tripurasur , who was a very learned individual and undertook intense mediation of Lord Ganesh who finally blessed him with great powers. These powers resulted in Tripurasur getting arrogant and he conquered the three worlds and finally Lord Shiva himself had to intervene to destroy him. But to do so, he invoked the blessings of Lord Ganesh himself and the region where this happened is known as RanjanGaon and after the war when Tripurasur was finally vanquished Lord Shiva created the temple of Lord Ganesha at the spot where Lord Ganesh had given his blessings and the methodology of how to vanquish Tripurasur.
The present temple was erected during the rule of the Peshwas and is so constructed that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol, the idol facing the east sits in a cross-legged position with a broad forehead with his trunk pointing to the left.
I found the atmosphere very peaceful and vibrant with serene vibes, there are other deities too who are worshipped here, and some great wall paintings have been done which tell the observe the history of the construction of the temple.
The temple is situated 50 k form city of Pune in the village of Ranjangaon.
Out of the eight revered shrines, this is one of the more famous located 25 kms from the city of Pune. Legend says that Lord Ganesh retrieved the precious wish fulfilling jewel Chintamani jewel from a greedy king and also pacified the uneasy mind of Lord Brahma. The temple is north facing and was renovated by the Peshwa rulers of this region. The deity has diamonds and other precious jewels as his eyes and his trunk is left facing. The Theur village is encircled by a river from three sides and there is also a small Shiva temple within the main premises.
One can sit out the main sanctum and feel the presence of the deity within, there is an air if simplicity out here and hardly visited by any people other than the locals of the surrounding region. The road leading to the temple is a bit narrow and is having small shops on both sides.
The visit to these revered shrines are a alternate experience in themselves, one actually can see the social fabric that binds the common citizens of this country, it does not matter to which shrine one visits to or which religion rather what matters is the belief that is the single entity that holds oneself sane in troubled times and difficult patches
- There are agencies that conduct the entire Ashtavinayak pilgrimage
- It can be completed in 02-03 days
- A road transport is mandatory for the journey
- There are adequate basic amenities available at each of the places in case one wishes to make a halt