The meaning of Ashtavinayak is "eight Ganeshas". The term Ashtavinayak also refers to a pilgrimage to the eight temples in Maharashtra that house eight idols of Ganesh viz. Ballaleshwar at Pali, Chintamani at Theur, Girijatmaj at Lenyadri
Mahaganpati at Ranjangaon, Moreshwar at Morgaon, Siddhivinayak, at Siddhtek, Varad Vinayak at Mahad, Vighneshwar at Ozhar. One of the most popular Gods in India, lord Ganesh or Ganpati is considered a symbol of wisdom and a bringer of good luck. In this article I have given some information about the Asthavinayak Darshan.
Lord Ganesha AshtaVinayak Darshan
Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular Gods in India. Lord Ganesha or Ganapathi is considered as the symbol of Wisdom and good luck. Ganesha or Ganapathi is extremely popular God in India. The people in India worship him asking for Siddhi, success in all the activities and Buddhi, the intelligence. Lord Ganesha is worshiped whenever a new venture is started.
The Ganesh Chaturdhi festival is celebrated with extra grandeur in Maharashtra State. Thousands of devotees visit the Vinayak temples in Maharashtra.
The elephant head God Ganesh is also known by various names like Ekadanta, Vinayaka, Ganapati, Heramba, etc. There are a number of various temples dedicated to the god of wisdom across the country. Every auspicious ceremony has to start by invoking Lord Ganesha.
The major temples dedicated to Ganapati are: Ashta Vinayak temples, Siddhi Vinayak, Vatapi Ganapati, Pillayaarpati Ganapati etc.
AshtaVinayak Temples in Maharashtra
The AshtaVinayaka or eight Ganeshas are the temples located in Maharashtra State. The AshtaVinayaka Darshan or the pilgrimage covers all the eight holy temples of Lord Ganesha in Maharashtra. These eight temples are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, are related to various episodes from the Puranas and other legends. and these deities are collectively known as AshtaVinayakas.
According to the ancient religious scripts, our life is not completed without a visit to AshtaVinayak and we have to visit Moreshwar of Moregaon first. Then we have to visit Siddhatek, Pali, Mahad, Theur, Lenyadri, Ozar, Ranjangaon and then again Moreshwar will end the Ashtavinayak darshan. All these eight temples of AshtaVinayak are Swayambhu ( self-originated). There are different names for Lord Ganesha at these places. The different names of Lord Ganesha are Moreshwar, Mahaganpathi, Chintamani, Vighneshwar, Girijatmak, Siddi Vinayak, Ballaleshwar and Varad Vinayak. These Temples are located at Morgaon, Ranjangaon, Theur, Ozhar, Lenyadri, Siddhtek,Pali and Mahad respectively,
All these eight places are situated in Pune, and Raigad districts. Out of the 8 places, 6 of the AshtaVinayak Temples are located in Pune district, and 2 in Raigad District but all these temples are very near to Pune city. Let us now see the details of each of these temples.
Moreshwar Temple at Morgaon
Moreshwar or the Mayureshwar or the peacock rider is located at Moregaon in Maharashtra. It is believed that Moreshwar slew the demon Sindhu in response to the pleas from the Gods.
Moregaon is a small village situated at a distance of 50 Kms. from Pune City on the way to Aurangabad in Maharashtra state. Moregaon houses the shrine of Mayureshwar Vinayak who is one of the AshtaVinayakas. Moregaon is situated on the banks of the river Karha in Baramati taluk in Pune District. The shape of this place is like a peacock, and there were a number of peacocks at this place. Hence this place was called as 'Moregaon'. According to ancient religious scripts, Moreshwar is the first and the last temple to be visited in AshtaVinayak Darshan tour or pilgrimage.
Maha Ganapathi Temple at Ranjangaon
Maha Ganapathi temple is one of the AshtaVinayakas located at Ranjangaon. Ranjangaon is a small village located at a distance of 50 Kms. from Pune City on the way to Aurangabad in Maharashtra State.
It is said that the original idol of Maha Ganapathi is hidden in the cellar in the basement. It is also known that it has 10 trunks and 20 hands. The temple is facing east has very huge and beautiful entrance gate. We can see the idols of Jay and Vijay, the door keepers near the gate way.
The Maha Ganapathi at Ranjangaon of AsthaVinayak is the most powerful representation of Lord Ganesha. It is said that after invoking this form of Ganapathi that Lord Shiva killed the demon Tripurasura and so he is also called as Tripurasurivade Maha Ganapathi.
Varad Vinayak Temple at Mahad
The Varad Vinayak temple is one of the AshtaVinayaks located at Mahad which is situated on the high way linking Mumbai and Pune cities.
Mahad is a small village set in the hilly regions of Konkan in Raigad District. The Varad Vinayak is one of the AshtaVinayaks in Maharashtra. The Varad Vinayak fulfills all the desires of the people who visit this famous temple. This place was also known as Bhadrak or Madhak in olden days. We can see a Nandadeep (Lamp) which is alighten for the last 107 years in this temple.
The idol of Shree Varad Vinayak was found by Shree Dhondu Paudkar in 1690 AD in a lake. This idol was kept in a nearby temple for some time. The temple of Varad Vinayak was built later on in 1725 AD by Peshwa Sardar Ramji Mahadev Biwalkar.
Chintamani Vinayak Temple at Theur
The Chintamani Vinayak is one of the AshtaVinayaks situated at Theur in Haveli Taluk in Pune district. This is one of the most important Ashtavinayak temples near Pune City.
The Theur village is along the river MulaMutha. The Lord Ganesha as Chintamani Vinayak at this Astavinayak temple near Pune is the god who brings peace of mind to us. It is believed that Lord Brahma, the creator meditated here to subdue his wavering mind. All his worries (Chinta) were removed here, the idol is called as Chintamani Vinayak. This place is called as Sthavar (stable) or Theur. Theur is the nearest place of AsthaVinayak temples from Pune city. Theur is one of the most popular place of Asthavinayak temple near Pune city.
Girjaatmaja Vinayak Temple at Lenyadri
The Girijaatmaja Vinayak is one of the AshtaVinayaks situated at Lekhan Hills, at a distance of around 160 Kms. from Pune on the way to Nasik. Lenyadri is the only place among all the Asthavinayaka temples near Pune which is located on a mountain and in the vicinity of the Buddhist caves.
Lenyadri is located to the north of Pune city, along the banks of Kukdi river. Girijaatmaj Vinayak refers to the Ganesh as the son of Parvathi. Girija is another name for Parvathi. and Atmaj means son.
There are 18 Buddhist caves on the mountain, and Girijatmaaj Vinayak's Temple is in the eighth cave. These caves are also called as Ganesh Caves. We can reach this temple only after climbing around 300 steps. This temple is carved out of single stone and faces south.
Vighneshwar Vinayak Temple at Ozhar
The Vighneshwara Vinayak is one of the AshtaVinayaks situated at Ozhar is regarded as the slayer of the demon Vighnaasura. Vighneshwar Vinayak Temple is situated on the banks of the river Kukadeshwar. The Vighneshwar Vinayak temple is the only temple with golden dome and pinnacle among all the Ashtavinayak temples near Pune.
Vighneshwar Vinayak temple is the seventh Ganesha temple which has to be visited during the AsthaVinayaka Darshan. This place is about 9 Kms. away from Narayangaon on the Pune-Nasik Road at Ozar. This temple is east facing and has diamonds in the eyes, on forehead and in naval.
Balleshwar Vinayak Temple at Pali
The Balleshwar Vinayak is one of the Ashta Vinayaks situated at Pali is the only Ganesha who is famous by the name of his devotee and who is dressed up as a brahmin. Balleshwar at Pali is the third Asthavinayak to be visited.
Balleshwarvinayak shrine is in Raigad District, 30 Kms.away from Karjat and 110 kms from Pune,in Maharashtra. Balleshwar Vinayak is associated with the legend of a young boy,Ballal and his devotion to Ganapati.
Pali is a small village which is situated between fort Sarasgad and River Amba flowing on other side. Lord Ganesh remained in the stone worshipped by Ballal on being pleased by the devotin of Ballal and hence this temple is called as Balleshwar at Pali. Balleshwar Vinayak temple at Pali is the only Ganesha among all the Asthavinayak temples near Pune who is famous by the name of his devotee and who is dressed up as a brahmin. This temple is also east facing.
SiddhiVinayak Temple at Siddhatek
The Siddhivinayak is the second Ganesha temple to be visited during Asthavinayak Darshan. The Siddhivinayak is one of the Asthavinayak temples which is situated at Siddhatek. The Asthavinayak temple at Siddhatek is considered to be a very powerful deity. There is a belief that it was here where Lord Vishnu acquired Siddhi.
The temple of Siddhi vinayak which is one of the asthavinayak temples is situated at Siddhatek which is 20 Kms. away from Daund in Maharashtra near Pune. The deity at this temple is associated with the legend of Vishnu Ganesha during their battle with demons. The idol of Siddi Vinayak is facing North and we can see Jay and Vijay on either sides. We can see the trunk turned down right side of the deity.
Siddhtek is a remote little village along the river Bhima in the Ahmednagar district.