Ashtavinayak Temple

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  Ashtavinayak Templs are Swayambhu (self-originated) and Jagrut.There are various names of Lord Ganesh for various places.

Shri Mayureshwar, Morgaon

The temple, built from black-stone during the Bahamani reign, has four gates (It is supposed to have been built by one of the knights named Mr. Gole, (from the court of Bidar's Sultan). The temple is situated in the centre of the village. The temple is covered from all sides by four Minarets and gives feeling of a mosque if seen from a distance. This may have been done to prevent attacks on the temple during mughal periods. The temple has 50feet tall wall around it.

There is a nandi (Shiva's bull) sitting in front of this temple entrance, which is somewhat odd as nandi is normally in front of the Shiva temples. However, the story says that this statue was being carried to some Shiva mandir during which the vehicle carrying it broke down and the nandi statue could not be removed from its current place.

The idol of Lord Ganesha, riding a peacock, in the form of Mayureshwara is believed to have slain the demon Sindhurasur at this spot. The idol, with its trunk turned to the left, has a cobra (Nagaraj) poised over it protecting it. The idol also has two other idols of Siddhi (Capability) and Buddhi (Intelligence).

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 Copper 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 Karha in the village of Moregaon. 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.

Shri Chintamani, Theur

Ganesha is believed to have got back the precious Chinatamani jewel from the greedy Guna for sage Kapila at this spot. However, after bringing back the jewel, sage Kapila put it in Vinayaka's (Ganesha's) neck. Thus the name Chintamani Vinayak. This happened under the Kadamb tree, therefore Theur is known as Kadambanagar in old times.

The lake behind the temple is called Kadambteertha. The temple entrance is North facing. The outer wooden hall is built by Peshwas. The main temple is supposed to have been built by Dharanidhar Maharaj Dev from the family-lineage of Shri Moraya Gosavi. He must have built this around 100 years before Senior Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa built the outer wooden hall.

This idol also has a left trunk, with carbuncle and diamonds as its eyes. The idol faces the East side.

Theur's Chintamani was the main worshipped god of Senior Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa. He suffered from tuberculosis and died at a very young age (~27years). He is supposed to have died in this temple. His wife, Ramabai went as Sati with him on 18 November 1772.

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.

Shri Siddhi Vinayak, Siddhatek

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

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

It is believed that the two saints Shri Morya Gosavi and Shri Narayan maharaj of Kedgaon received their enlightenment here.

The temple is North-facing and is on a small hillock. The main road towards the temple was believed to built by Peshwa's general Haripant Phadake. The inner sanctum, 15feet high and 10feet wide is built by Punyashloka Ahilyabai Holkar. The idol is 3feet tall and 2.5feet wide. The idol faces North-direction. The stomach of the idol is not wide, but Riddhi and Siddhi idols are sitting on one thigh. This idol's trunk is turning to the right.The right-sided-trunk Ganesha is supposed to be very strict for the devotees. To make one round (pradakshina) around the temple one has to make the round trip of the hillock. This takes about 30 minutes with moderate speed.The stone pathway is built from the Badami-Castle which was attacked by Peshwa general Haripant Phadake soon after he became the general.

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. On Pune-Solapur railway, Daund Railway station is 18Km from here.

Shri Mahaganapti, Ranjangaon

Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripurasura here. The temple was built by Shiva where he worshipped Ganesha, and the town he set up was called Manipur which is now known as Ranjangaon.

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 (during the Southward movement of the sun), the temple bears a distinct resemblance to the architecture reminiscent of the 9th and 10th Centuries and faces the east. Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa used to visit this temple very often and built the stone sanctum around the idol and in 1790AD Mr. Anyaba Dev was authorised to worship the idol.

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

Shri Vighneshwar Vinayak, Ozhar

The history encompassing this idol states that Vighnasur, a demon was created by the King of Gods, Indra to destroy the prayer organized by King Abhinandan. However, the demon went 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 demon should not go to the place where Ganesha worshipping is going on. In return the demon asked a favour that his name should be taken before Ganesha's name, thus the name of Ganesha became Vighnahar or Vighneshwar (Vighna in Sanskrit means a sudden interruption in the ongoing work due to some unforeseen, unwarranted event or cause). The Ganesha here is called Shri Vighneshwar Vinayak.

The temple faces east and is surrounded by a thick stone wall. One can walk on the wall. The main hall of the temple is 20feet long and the inner hall is 10feet long. This idol, facing the east, has its trunk towards the left and rubies in its eyes. There is a diamond on the forehead and some jewel in the navel. Idols of Riddhi and Siddhi are placed on the two sides of the Ganesha idol. The temple top is Golden and is possibly built by Chimaji Appa after defeating the Portuguese rulers of Vasai and Sashti. The temple is probably built around 1785.

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. The temple is situated on the banks of river Kukadi. Via Mumbai-Thane-Kalyan-Bapsai-Saralgaon-Otur, Ozhar is 182Km.

Shri Girijatmaj, Lenyadri

It is believed that Parvati (Shiva's wife) performed penance to beget Ganesha at this point. Girija's (Parvati's) Atmaj (son) is Girijatmaj. This temple stands amidst a cave complex of 18 caves of Buddhist origin. This temple is the 8th cave. These are called Ganesh-leni as well. 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 temple hall is 53feet long, 51feet wide and 7feet in height.

The idol faces north with its trunk to the left, and has to be worshipped from the rear of the temple. The temple faces south. This idol seems to be little different from the rest of the Ashtavinayak idols in a sense that it appears to be not very well designed or carved like the other idols. This idol can be worshipped by anyone. There is no electric bulb in the temple. The temple is constructed such that during the day it is always lighted up by the sun-rays!

The idol faces north with its trunk to the left, and has to be worshipped from the rear of the temple. The temple faces south. This idol seems to be little different from the rest of the Ashtavinayak idols in a sense that it appears to be not very well designed or carved like the other idols. This idol can be worshipped by anyone. There is no electric bulb in the temple. The temple is constructed such that during the day it is always lighted up by the sun-rays!

Shri Varada Vinayak, Mahad

The handsome Prince Rukmangad refused sage Vachaknavi's wife Mukunda's illicit call, and was cursed to suffer from leprosy. Mukunda was satisfied by Indra who deceived her as Rukmangad and she bore a child by name Grutsamad. When Grutsamad came to know about the real story he cursed his mother Mukunda to become the tree of Bori and she in turn cursed him to bore a demon son named Tripurasur, the one who was defeated by Shiva after praying the Ranjangaon Ganesha. Grutsamad after getting cursed went to the forest of Pushpak and worshipped Ganesha. Sage Grutsamad is famous for the mantra