It was a family reunion at Indore and the moment was that of celebration and happiness. My grandmother had also joined us. Though an old lady, she still had the taste of travel, and her age hardly seemed to deter her life. She gave a giggling smile as she came to know we will be exploring Indore every weekend. Arey, taley to amio ghurbo toder shonge ( I too will wander around with you all, of course!!), she said with a smile. To add to it, we were in a place called ‘Indore’, the land of the Holkars, characterized by its exotic forts and palaces, artistic temples, mouth-watering food and a relaxed and laid back lifestyle. We would stay here only for six months and so, we had to make sure we didn’t miss out anything before we moved out. The idea was to explore the city every weekend.
However, this trip was a little different from the others, since we would take it on a weekday, precisely Wednesday, the day that happens to be of ‘Lord Ganesha’ as per the Hindu Culture. Our Destination- ‘Khajrana Temple’, a temple of ‘Lord Ganesha’, the most visited heritage spots of Indore. Come Wednesday and it is next to impossible to step inside as people from all walks of life ‘stampede’ inside to take a glimpse of ‘Lord Ganesha’.
A brief history about the Temple:
The Khajrana Temple was constructed under the reign of Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar, the most revered and respected queen during the reign of the Holkar Dynasty, who single handedly ruled the Malwa kingdom after the demise of her husband Khanderao Holkar in 1754.
The height of the Ganesha Statue is more than 8 metres and has been recorded as the highest statue of Lord Ganesha in the world, which makes the spot all the more a matter of pride and importance for the locals. Every Wednesdays and Sundays, the people from all over the town visit the temple, to pray and to seek blessings, for fulfillment of their wishes.
It is believed in the Hindu Culture that Lord Ganesha removes all obstacles and hindrances from a person’s life who wishes to make any new start- a new career, marriage, new house, new school, college so on and so forth… Lord Ganesha is believed to remove all obstacles and inherit happiness and prosperity.
The Trip to Khajrana Temple:
I cranked the engine of my car and we drove off through the busy streets of Rajendra Nagar, a sub-urban area along the Mhow Road, to drive to the other corner of the city. Moving along Agra-Mumbai Highway, the route moves through one of the busiest streets of the city- the Indrapuri Colony. Here’s the brief:-
Total Distance – 17 Kms.
Time it takes: Approx 1 hr,30 mins– you can expect heavy traffic during the evening time.
Tip: Earlier you start, the better, some lanes are really narrow to negotiate in heavy traffic.
We reached the entrance and were met with hordes of sweet shops glittering yellow in the fading evening. The bhog or the offering to Lord Ganesha is believed to be the laddus and the besan laddus will not only trickle your taste buds but also touch your soul.
Being a Wednesday, the temple was crowded and we had to make our way through. The majestic entrance gate was decorated with intricate artistry and depicted the richness of the Holkar Dynasty. The vast effigy of Lord Ganesha was visible from far off, as we tried to make our way inside through the crowd. The inside gate of the temple where the effigy rests is lined with silver plating from outside, giving it a divine finish. The temple bells rocked and clanged as the devotees sung the evening Aarti, enchanting the atmosphere inside.
It was a short burst of glimpse we could take as the crowd was still pouring in from behind. At these rare moments, I could take a shot of the temple inside from one of these angles, a view from one of the side doors as I was not able to find a place to hold ground at the front gates.
As we finished our prayers and literally got pushed ahead, a Shivalingam awaited on the next gallery. Beautifully designed and crafted in white marble stone, it was decorated with garlands in white and yellow colors. Lord Shiva, is the father of Lord Ganesha holds a sacred place, and no Ganesha Temple is considered complete without the presence of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati.
The North West side of the temple next to that of Lord Ganesha showcases Lord Shani, the God of Justice. He is believed to imbibe the acts of truth, justice and respect for the poor and the weak. It is believed that his eye of justice has the capability to destroy all prosperity gathered by unjust means. Due to his furious entity, he often finds a place under a ‘Banyan Tree’ and it is customary to offer prayers on Saturdays. Most people abstain from eating non-vegetarian food, give offerings to the poor in order to seek blessings from Lord Shani.
Finally, it was time for a family photograph, as usual. We stepped out in the courtyard to find a place near the footsteps. Though it was evening, and the birds usually go off to sleep on the trees, the pigeons here don’t. they venture here in the evenings too. The pleasant atmosphere outside and the serenity of the place made the experience even more ecstatic.
It was also time for some more laddus. As a bite of the besan laddu glided in through my mouth, the feeling was no less than ‘Priceless’!!! Oh, and I forgot to mention, I carried about 2 Kilos back home. I wanted to relive this experience over a long time, whenever I tasted the laddus from here.