Shri MoreshwarAshtavinayak Ganpati Temple Moregaon
Shri MoreshwarAshtavinayak Ganpati Temple Moregaon is one of the eight major temples of Lord Ganesha which constitutes the divine Ashtavinayak temples in Maharashtra. Moreshwar Ganpati Temple is located in Morgaon at a distance of 79 km from Pune via the village Chaufala on the Pune-Sholapur Highway.
Moreshwar 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.
Moreshwar 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.
Sanctum: The idol of Mayureshwar is in the garbhagriha or the sanctum in which only the main priest can enter. The idol is facing east. The deity is three eyed, seated, and his trunk is turned towards the left. The eyes and the navel of the deity are studded with precious diamonds. On the head are seen the fangs of Nagaraj. The deity is flanked by brass idols of Siddhi and Buddhi who are considered the consorts of Ganesh. In front of the deity stand a mouse and a peacock.
The original idol is actually much smaller than it seems but continuous anointing of the idol with the vermilion has increased the size. It is believed that this layer of vermilion falls down on its own every 100 or 150 years, revealing the actual idol.
Just opposite the main gate are a tortoise and a Nandi facing the deity in the sanctum. The presence of a Nandi in a Ganpati temple is rare as Nandi is the conveyance of Lord Shiva
When one enters the temple premises one first sees the mooshak (mouse - Ganesha's means of conveyance) holding two laddos between his paws.
There are certain sacred trees in the temple premises, like Shami, Mandar and Tarati trees. Out of these the Shami tree is significant as it is referred to in the legend of Moraya Gosavi, a sage who did penance under his tree and Lord Ganesha gave him a glimpse. Thus it is believed that the wishes of a person can be fulfilled if he performs penance under this tree.
Apart from this there are many idols in the compound of the Mayureshvar temple. In the right corner one can see the idol of Yogindracharya. Some of the other idols are Shami devi, Mandar Ganesh, Durga Devi, Shukla Chaturthi Dev, Bhrushundi, Krishna Chaturthi Devi, Moraya Gosavi, Lord Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi, Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati, Moda Ganesh and Pramod Ganesh etc. the most important of these subsidiary deities is the image of Nagna Bhairava who is looked upon as the guardian of Lord Mayureshvar. It is believed that the pilgrimage to Mayureshvar is incomplete if a devotee does not worship Nagna bhairav first.