Ashtavinayaka means "eight forms of Lord Ganesha". Ganesha is the deity of unity, prosperity, learning and remover of obstacles. The Ashtavinayaka yatra or pilgrimage covers the eight ancient holy temples of Ganesha which are situated around Pune, Maharashtra. Each of these temples has its own individual legend and history, as distinct from each other as the murtis in each temple. The form of each murti of Ganesha and His trunk are distinct from one another.
"1Moreshwar TempleMorgaon, Pune district"
"2Siddhivinayak TempleSiddhatek, Ahmednagar district"
"3Ballaleshwar TemplePali, Raigad district"
"4Varadavinayak TempleMadh, near Khopoli, Raigad district"
"5Chintamani TempleTheur, Pune district"
"6Girijatmaj TempleLenyadri, Pune district"
"7Vighnahar TempleOzar, Pune district"
"8Mahaganapati TempleRanjangaon, Pune district"
ASHTAVINAYAKA -1 of 8 - Moreshwar
Shri Moreshwar or Mayureshwar Temple is situated along the Karha River in the Morgaon village in the Baramati Taluka of Pune district in Maharashtra. This region is also known as the Bhuswananda.
Moregaon Village is said to have received its name as once upon a time the shape of this place was like a peacock and there was an abundance of peacock birds in this region. Literally Moregoan means ‘Village of Peacocks’ and is a combination of two words (more which means Peacock and goan means village).
As per the legend Lord Ganesha riding a peacock in the form of Mayureshwara slew the demon Sindhu in response to pleas from the Gods. This is the first Temple to be visited during the Ashtavinayaka Temple Pilgrimage. It is believed that after the darshan at all the 8 Vinayakas, one more visit to Mayureshwar completes the divine pilgrimage.
There is a Nandi (Shiva's bull mount) sitting in front of this temple entrance, which is unique, as Nandi is normally in front of only Shiva temples. However, the story says that this statue was being carried to a Shivamandir nearby during which the vehicle carrying it broke down and the Nandi statue could not be removed from its current place.
ASHTAVINAYAKA -2/8 - Siddhivinayak
Shri Siddhivinayak Temple at Siddhatek is situated off the Pune-Solapur highway at a distance of about 200 km east of Pune, Maharashtra.
This temple is located on the banks of Bhima River in a remote little village called Siddhatek in Karjat Taluka in Ahmadnagar District.
As per the legend, it was on the Siddhatek Mountain that Lord Vishnu invoked Lord Ganesha during his battle with the demons Madhu and Kaitabha and acquired Siddhi from him.
As per another legend, Sage Bhrushandi and Vyas had performed penance and attained Siddhi here. This Ganesh Temple is on the hill top facing north and built by the Peshwas.
ASHTAVINAYAKA -3/8 - Ballaleshwar
Shri Ballaleshwar Temple of Pali is situated in the Sudhagad Taluka in Raigad District and it is approximately 110 kms from Pune.
The name Ballaleshwar came from a child called "Ballal", an ardent Ganesha devotee. He prayed and invoked the Lord in everything he did, his devotion was so pure that the Lord relieved him from the punishments his parents gave due to his influence on his friends which disturbed their studies. Later his parents realised their wrongdoing and got pardoned by the Lord.
This Temple is situated between the historical Sanrasgad Fort on one side and River Amba flowing on the other side. There are two lakes in front of the temple.
The original Temple was a wooden temple which was renovated in 1760 to a new stone temple. One specialty of this temple is that during sunrise the rays of the sun falls directly on the Ganesh Idol.
ASHTAVINAYAKA -4/8 - Varadavinayak
Shri Varada Vinayak Temple is located three kilometers off the Pune-Mumbai highway near Khopoli in Mahad village of Raigarh District in Maharashtra.
Varadavinayak literally means ‘the bestower of boons’. It is believed that Lord Ganesh as Varada Vinayak fulfills all the desires of his sincere devotees and also grants them boons.
The Varadavinayak shrine is associated with the legend of Prince Rukmangada, Indra and Sage Grutsamad. Sage Grutsamad got his curse relieved here. He is known for his sloka "Gananaan Tva Ganapathim havamahe...".
The idol of this Temple Varada Vinayak is a swayambu (self originated) and was found in the adjoining lake in an immersed position in 1690 AD. This Temple is said to be built in 1725 AD by Subhedar Ramji Mahadev.
Devotees are allowed inside the garba griha and worship the Lord here. It is believed that if the coconut received as prasad during Ganesh Chaturthi is consumed, one will be blessed with a male child.
ASHTAVINAYAKA - 5/8 - Chintaamani
Shri Chintaamani Vinayak Temple is in Theur (Theyoor) in Pune District of Maharashtra. In this shrine Lord Ganesh as Chintaamani brings peace of mind and drives away all the vignaas.
As per the legend, Lord Ganesha is believed to have restored the precious Chintamani jewel from the greedy Prince Guna who stole it from Sage Kapila. However the sage refused to take the gem back and began to call Lord Ganesh as Chintaamani Vinayaka. Since the incident took place under a Kadamba tree this place also came to be known as Kadambanagar.
Another legend regarding this place is associated with Lord Brahma. It is said that once Lord Brahma was feeling restless and called upon Vinayaka to ease his mind. As Lord Brahma’s worries (Chinta) were removed by the Ganesha at this place Lord Ganesh came to be known here as Chintaamani Vinayaka.
ASHTAVINAYAKA - 6/8 - Girijatmaj
Shri Girijatmaj Vinayaka Temple
is situated at the Lenyadri Mountain in a Cave on the banks of River Kukdi, around 95 kms from Pune, Maharashtra.
‘Girijatmaj’ means Ganesha the son of Girija (Goddess Parvati). According to the Legend Goddess Parvati who had a strong desire to have Vinayaka as her son performed penance for 12 years in the caves of Lenyadri to fulfill her wish. Pleased by her devotion, on the day of Bhadrapada Shudh Chaturthi when Goddess Parvati was worshiping an idol of Lord Ganesha, he manifested himself as her beloved son and lived there for 15 years.
It is believed that Lord Ganesha after growing up from here, moved to Morgaon village and got the name Mayureshwar after killing Demon Sindhu.
ASHTAVINAYAKA - 7/8 - Vighnahar
Shri Vighnahar Temple of Ozar is in the banks of Kukadi River which is in Junnar District and around 85 kms from Pune. The Deity of this shrine is known as Vigneshwara which means ‘remover of all obstacles’. It is believed that after visiting this place God takes away all your problems.
As per the Legend a demon by name Vignasura was troubling the Sages. Responding to the prayers of the Sages Lord Ganesh fought with the Demon Vignasura who surrendered to Ganesha and agreed to stop his misdeeds. In connection with the surrender of Vignasura the Sages installed an idol of Vigneshwara at Ozar on Ganesh Chathurti day and offered worship.
ASHTAVINAYAKA - 8/8 – Mahaganapathi
Shri Mahaganapati Temple is in Ranjangoan about 50 kms from Pune, Maharashtra.
Ranjangoan means Village of delighted ones.
According to the Legend, Lord Shiva invoked Ganesha at this place before fighting the Demon Tripurasura. Therefore the Ganesha idol of this Temple is also known as Tripurarivade Mahaganapathi.
The Mahaganapati Temple is east facing and has a huge and beautiful entrance gate. The Idols of Jay and Vijay are present near the gateway. The temple is constructed in such a manner that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol.
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