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Weekend Getaways from Mumbai: Asthavinayak

 
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Weekend Getaways from Mumbai - Asthavinayak
| Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Routes |

Asthavinayak Yatra for a weekend break may seem a bit out of the box given the number of choices that are abound, yet the very fact that most of us are constantly in need for salvation, and definitely look to getaway from it all, the yatra is just another way to realize both. The eight Asthavinayaks are located in and around Pune, which makes the Asthavinayak yatra a perfect and unique weekend break.

The Asthavinayak Yatra is an easy trip that will take about 3 days to cover. The best way to start is to make Pune your base and to continue from there. Do keep in mind that the yatra is not a round trip and that you will be required to come back each time to Pune for night halt. Check hotels in Pune

'Asthavinayak' means 'Eight Ganesha' and with Lord Ganesha being the main deity associated with the state, no wonder that Maharashtra would have the largest number of temples dedicated to the Sankat Mochan or the Destroyer of Obstacles as Lord Ganesha is often called. Most of these eight temples are concentrated in and around Pune notably at Moregaon, Siddhatek, Pali, Mahad, Theur, Lenyandri, Ozar and Ranjangaon are collectively known as Asthavinayak. Each of these temples has their own individual legend and history which are as distinct as the murti or idol of the Lord itself.


Day 1
Sri Varadvinayak Temple, Mahad
Sri Varadvinayak Temple, Mahad

Start your Asthavinayak Yatra from Mahad, a pretty village located some 24 km from Karjat in the Raigarh district and the Khalapur Taluka of Maharashtra. Mahad is famous for its temple of Sri Varadvinayak (the bestower of boons). Legend has it that Mukunda - the wife of Rishi Vachaknavi desired the handsome prince Rukmangada, who however rejected her but Indra in the disguise of Rukmangada accepted her amorous moves and a son named Grutshmadha was born out of this union. When Grutshmadha learned about the story of his birth he cursed his mother to become a jujube tree and prayed to Ganesha in Bhadrakavana for absolution of sins of everyone concerned. His wish was granted and Ganapati came to reside at Mahad as Varadvinayak (the bestower of boons). Varadvinayak also gave Grutsamad the ultimate knowledge of the universe, who then went on to establish the Ganapatya cult.

The Swayambhu idol of Shri Varadvinayak flanked by Riddhi and Siddhi is seated on a throne facing east with its trunk going towards left side. There are also two more statutes of the Lord in the nave - one is of marble with its trunk turned to the right while the other is smeared with vermillion (sindoor). A lamp (nandadeep) in this temple is said to have been burning uninterrupted for over a hundred years.


How to reach Mahad

Mumbai - Mahad is 63 km, on Mumbai - Panvel - Khopoli road, 6 km before Khopli a road towards right of Hal village goes to Mahad.

On Mumbai- Pune railway line, Mahad is at a distance of 24 km from Karjat & at a distance of 6 km from Khopoli

Regular State Transport buses & Municipal Corporation buses are available from Khopoli and Karjat.


Sri Ballaleshwar Vinayak Temple, Pali
Sri Ballaleshwar Vinayak Temple, Pali

From Mahad, proceed to Pali to visit Sri Ballaleshwar Vinayak - the only Ganesha temple where the Lord is known by the name of his devotee. Pali is located 30 km from Karjat, near the village Nagothane. As per the story, Lord Lambodara is said to have come down in the form of a Brahmin to save his ardent devotee - a young boy named Ballal from the beatings of his father Kalyan Seth and local villagers. After relieving him of his distress, he took up abode permanently at Pali with the name Ballal Vinayak.

Unlike most temples, the Prasad offered at the Sri Ballaleshwar Vinayak Temple is not the Modak - the Lord’s favorite but Besan Laddu.

The east facing idol of Lord Ballaleshwar Vinayak shaped in form of letter 'shree' with its trunk turned left and flanked by his consorts Riddhi and Siddhi is housed in a temple (built by Nana Phadanavis in 1760) that has two sanctums. An interesting feature of the temple is its construction which is done in such a way that the first rays of the sun (dakshinayan: southward movement of the sun) after the winter solstice falls directly on the image.

Behind the Sri Ballaleshwar Vinayak Temple is the West facing temple of Shri Dhundi-Vinayak which houses the idol that is said to have thrown away in the water by Ballal's father when the latter was worshiping it. Another legend associates Dhundi Vinayak as the elder brother of Ballal Vinayak and hence it is mandatory to first worship Shri Dhundi-Vinayak and then Shri Ballaleshwar.

Hot water springs at village Unheri, 4 km from Pali can be visited on your trip to Sri Ballaleshwar Vinayak. Bhoraidevi on Sudhagad Fort, 15 km away from Pali is another place worth checking out.


How to reach Pali

Pali is 40 km from the Khopoli-Shil Phata Road, off the Mumbai-Pune highway, about 11 km before Nagothane on the Mumbai-Goa highway.

From Mumbai via Panvel & Khopoli, Pali is at a distance of 124 km

From Pune via Lonavla & Khopoli, Pali is at a distance of 111 km.

Regular bus service is available from Mumbai, Pune, Khopoli, Karjat & Panvel to Pali.


Sri Mahaganapati Temple, Ranjangaon Ganapati
Sri Mahaganapati Temple, Ranjangaon Ganapati

Next, proceed to Ranjangaon from Pali for a glimpse of the Sri Mahaganapati Temple. Ranjangaon is a small sleepy village located 50 km from Pune, en-route to Aurangabad. It has a shrine dedicated to Sri Mahaganapati who is considered as one of the most powerful representation of Lord Ganesha whom even Lord Shiva invoked during his battle with the demon Tripurasura. Thus, Mahaganapti is also known as Tripurarivade Mahaganpati.

It is believed that the original idol of Mahaganapati called Mahotkat with 10 trunks & 20 hands is hidden in the temple basement, though temple authorities deny this.

The Sri Mahaganapati Temple dates back to the period of Peshwa Madhav Rao. Here, the Lord Vinayak is depicted as seated on a lotus and flanked by his consorts Siddhi and Riddhi. As with the other Ashtavinayak idols, the image of Mahaganpati also faces east with its trunk turned towards the left. Like the temple of Sri Ballaleshwar Vinayak, temple at Ranjangaon is also built in the same way so that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol during the Southward movement of the sun. Nearby the Sri Mahaganapati Temple is a temple of Lord Shiva at Bhimashankaram.

Within a distance of 20 km from Shirur on Pune – Ahmedabad Highway, samadhis of Saints Limbraj Maharaj, Shri Nilobarai and Shrikshetra Pimpalner can be visited.


How to reach Ranjangaon

The temple is situated 50 km from Pune on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway in the village of Ranjangaon. Another way is through the Pune-Nagpur highway viz., Pune-Koregaon-Shikrapur-Ranjangaon.


Accommodation at Ranjangaon Ganapati

Advance booking needs to be done for accommodation. Devotees can contact Shri Gajanan R Purohit - Siddhatek, Post Jalalpur, Taluka Karjat, District Ahmednagar. Phone-02489- 22760 & 22316.


Day 2
Sri Chintamani Vinayak Temple, Theur
Sri Chintamani Vinayak Temple, Theur

Begin your Day – 2 of the Asthavinayak Yatra from Pune to reach Tehur, 20 km away. Theur is located at the confluence of the Mula, Mutha & Bhima Rivers. It is said that Lord Ganesha helped sage Kapila to get back his gem from the greedy prince Guna or Gunaraj. The sage who had got the gem after worshipping Shiva at Talaiaalankaadu near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu had used it to cook up a sumptuous meal for the prince and the prince enamored by it had stolen it. However when Vinayak restored the gem to the sage he refused to take it back and began to worship Ganesha as Chintamani Vinayak.

As with most of the idols, the image of Sri Chintamani Vinayak also faces east with its trunk positioned to the left and with diamonds as his eyes. The idol is housed in a temple that has a North facing archway and a hall made of wood. This hall is said to have been built by Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa just before his death.


How to reach Theur

One may take Pune-Solapur Highway, after Hadapsar and Loni at a distance of 3 km from Loni a small road to the left leads to Theur.

Regular buses ply from Sarasbag or Poolgate bus stand of Pune to Theur.


Sri Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Siddhatek
Siddhi Vinayak Temple

From Theur, drive a few kilometers to reach Siddhatek located some 200 km east of Pune on the banks of river Bhima. Siddhatek is known for its Sri Siddhi Vinayak Temple. It is said that Lord Vishnu was able to defeat the demons Madhu and Kaitabh only after propitiating Lord Ganapati and hence the name.

The idol of Siddhatek Siddhi Vinayak is the only one to have its trunk positioned to the right. Rules for performing pooja of Siddhi Vinayak are observed very strictly and devotees are not allowed to do pooja personally.

The 3 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide idol of Siddhi Vinayak is housed in a 15 feet high and 10 feet broad sanctum sanctorum said to be built by Devi Ahilyabai Holkar. The idol is said to be a Swayambhu (self-existent, created by nature & not by human hands) that faces north with his trunk turned towards right. Riddhi & Siddhi are represented as sitting on one lap of Lord Vinayak who incidentally is represented as being not much pot bellied. One has to make a pradakshina (circumnavigation) around the temple which is located on a hill rock.


Accommodation

Accommodation is available near the temple. Rate for single room for one day is Range from Rs.100/- to Rs. 251/.


How to reach Siddhatek

Daund is convenient railway station on Pune - Solapur railway line. (Dhund is at 78 km from Pune via Hadapsar-Loni-Yavat-Chaufula & Patas). Daund-Siddhatek is 18 km. State transport buses stops at Shirapur, 1 km before Siddhatek. By walking down a kilometer from Shirapur one has to cross the river Bhima by boat to reach Siddhatek. An interesting fact that as you cross the river and reach on the other side (Siddhatek), you’ve crossed from Pune district to Ahmednagar district.

From Mumbai you can go to Siddhatek via Patas, Bhigwan and Rashin.

Siddhatek via long route of Daund-Kashti-Pedgaon (without crossing river) is at a distance of 48 km.


Sri Mayureshwar Vinayak, Moregaon

An interesting feature of the temple is the presence of the Nandi bull which is unique, since Nandi is usually associated with Shiva. According to a story, the statue was being carried to some Shivamandir during which the vehicle carrying it broke down and the Nandi statue could not be removed from its current place.
Usually the peacock, the cobra and the spear is associated with Kartikeya but at Moregaon these are attributed to Gajanana, another name of Lord Ganesha.

Sri Mayureshwar Vinayak, Moregaon

Moregaon located 50 km from Pune; en-route to Aurangabad will be your last stop for the Day – 2 before the night halt at Pune. Moregaon houses an idol of Lord Ganesha as Mayureshwar Vinayak or the peacock rider who slew the demon Sindhurasur in response to pleas from the Gods. After killing the demon, the Lord then settled down there as Mayureshwar or Moresh.

At Moregaon, the deity armed with a spear is represented in a sitting posture, facing east with the trunk turning left & smeared with vermillion mixed in oil. The lord is flanked on both sides by Riddhi and Siddhi and with a cobra (nagaraj) encircling his head. In front of the idol are the Mooshaka (Rat) & Mayura (Peacock). The idol of Vinayak was consecrated by Lord Brahma twice before the present idol made up of atoms of sand, iron & diamonds was installed by the Pandavas. This idol is placed behind the one that is currently worshiped.

The temple of Moregan built from black-stone during the Bahamani period is situated in the centre of the village. It is surrounded by a 50 ft high enclosure and covered from all sides by four pillars thereby giving the appearance of a mosque from a distance. The temple also has four gates- the eastern gate is that Lakshmi Narayan; the southern gate is that of Parvati & Shankar; Kama & Rati reside on the western gate while the northern gate belongs to Mahivaraha.


How to reach Moregaon

There are various routes going to Moregaon:
State transport buses are available from Pune's Swargate bus depot.

On Pune-Solapur highway 56 km from Pune, Moregaon lies on the right side of Chaufula. Moregaon via Pune-Hadapsar-Loni-Chaufula-Supa is at a distance of 79 km.

Another route leading to Moregaon via Hadapsar-saswad-jejuri covers 64 km.

On Pune-Solapur railway line, get down at Neera Railway Station & go to Moregaon by bus.

On Pune-Daund railway line, get down at Kedgaon & go to Moregaon by S.T.


Accommodation

Devotees can stay at the Dharmashala of the temple trust located near the temple. For details contact Mr. Kumar Wagh, Durvankur, Moregaon, Tal. Baramiti, Dist. Pune. Phone: 02112- 79752


Day 3
Sri Vigneshwara Temple, Ozar
Sri Vigneshwara Temple, Ozar

Day – 3 of the Asthavinayak Yatra will begin by driving to Ozar located on the banks of the Kukdeshwar River. Ozar is at a distance of about 100 km from Pune en-route to Nashik is the place where Lord Vinayak resides as Vighneshwar (remover of all obstacles). Legend has it that Lord Ganapati came down to battle the demon Vigneshwara who was created by Lord Indra to destroy the yagna of King Abhinandan. However, Vigneshwara went a step ahead and start destroying all the yagnas being organized by the sages. Distressed, the sages in the area sought Lord Vinayak for help. Vignaasura on being defeated sought the god’s forgiveness which was granted to him on condition that he should not go to the place where Ganesha worshipping is going on. Vigneshwara agreed but asked a favor that his name should be taken before Ganesha's name, thus Ganesha became Vighnahar or Vighneshwar and hence the practice of invoking Ganesha’s name before anything new is being started.

The temple of Sri Vigneshwara faces east and is surrounded by a thick stone wall. The temple has a huge hall, a spacious courtyard, and beautiful sculptural and mural works. The highlight of the temple however is its pinnacle which was built by Chimaji Appa -brother of first Bajirao Peshwa after defeating the Portuguese at Vasai. Like most of the Asthavinayak’s idol, that of Sri Vigneshwara also faces east and has its trunk towards the left. The idol flanked by Siddhi & Buddhi has red rubies as its eyes while the walls of the nave have images of God Brahmadev, God Vishnu, God Shiva, Goddess Shakti and God Surya.


How to reach Ozar

Ozar is in Junner Taluka, Pune and is 85 km from Pune. There are state transport buses and jeeps from Junner to Ozer apart from those running directly between Shivaji Nagar (Pune) to Ozar. Private buses and vehicles reach directly upto the temple because there is the bridge on the Kukadi River.

The distance from Mumbai-Thane-Kalyan-Bapsai-Sarlgoan-Otur-Lenyadri-Ozar is 182 km.


Accommodation

Devotees can contact Shree Vighneshwar Ganapati Devasthan Trust for accommodation. Shir Shtra Ozar Taluka Junner, Dist. Pune, Phone- 02132- 88330.


Sri Girijaatmaja Vinayaka Temple, Lenayadri
Sri Girijaatmaja Vinayaka Temple, Lenayadri

Lenayadri located along the Kukdi River is an important pilgrimage place associated with Ganesha and is the last stop of the Asthavinayak yatra. It is believed that Lord Vinayak spent his initial years in the hills of Lenayadri after he was born to Goddess Parvati after 12 years of rigorous penance. It is said that Goddess Parvati wanted to see Vinayak as an infant and the lord granted her wish by taking birth on the day of Bhadrapada Shudh Chaturthi (Anant Chaturdashi). The boy was subsequently named Ganesha meaning a person who keeps three qualities—Satva, Raja and Tama—under control.

As regards the nomenclature of the name - one of the names of Goddess Pravati was ‘Girija,’ and ‘Aatmaj’ means son, hence the name –'‘Girijatmaj.'

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! Arrangement of Palkhi or Doli can be made at the foothills for devotees not able to climb up so many steps.

Unlike the other Asthavinayak temples, that of Lenayadri stands in a cave complex that houses 18 other caves of Buddhist origin. The temple of Sri Girijaatmaja Vinayaka is in the 8th cave and one has to climb 307 steps to reach there. The temple carved out of a single stone hill faces the south and has huge hall that is 53 feet long, 51 feet wide and 7 feet in height. Interestingly there aren’t any pillars supporting the hall.

Even the idol of Lenayadri is different from those of other Ashtavinayak idols in the sense that they face north instead of East and is to be worshipped from the rear of the temple. No priests are required and anyone can worship the Lord.


How to Reach Lenyadri

Nearest railway station is Talegaon

To reach Lenyadri one has to get down at Junner which is 145 miles from Mumbai. From Junner, Lenyadri is 5 km.

On Pune-Nasik Highway, Lenyadri is at a distance of 94 km from Pune.


Distance and Routes from Pune to Ashtavinayak
From-To Distance Route via
Pune-Theur 25 km. Pune-Hadapsar-Loni-Theur
Theur-Moregaon 70 km. Loni-Yavat-Supa-Moregaon
Moregaon-Siddhatek 65 km. Supa-Choufula-Patas-Daund-Siddhtek
Siddhatek-Rajangaon 92 km. Daund-Kashti-Belvandi-Shirur-Rajangaon
Rajangaon-Ozar 100 km. Shikrapur-Chakan-Rajgurunagar-Narayangaon-Ozar
Ozar-Lenyandri 15 km. Ottur-Lenyandri
Lenyandri-Mahad 134 km. Junnar-Narayangaon-Manchar-Rajgurunagar-Chakan-
Wadgaon-Lonvala-Khopoli-Mahad
Mahad-Pali 42 km. Khopoli-Pali
Pali-Pune 111 km. Khopoli-Lonavla-Wadgaon-Pune
   
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