Tour of 8 self-existed idols of Lord Ganesha

Tripoto
3rd Jun 2017
Day 1

Eight idols of Lord Ganesha [source - google]

Photo of Pune, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Ashtavinayaka means "Eight idols of Lord Ganesha." Lord Ganesha is deity of unity, learning, prosperity and removes obstacles. Ashtavinayaka tour refers visit to eight temples of Ganesha in Maharashtra, state of India. Eight temples houses eight distinct idols of Lord Ganesha. This tour needs to be completed in pre-ascertained order. It is believed that tour gets completed by visiting first temple again after visiting all the eight temples.

Mayureshwar, Morgaon [source - google]

Photo of Morgaon, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

The tour starts with visiting first temple at Morgaon about 70km from Pune, city in Maharashtra. Name of Ganesha is Mayureshwar which is combination of "Mayur" and "Ishwar" which means "Peacock" and "Lord". The name of village is derived from same reference that is Mor is Peacock in Marathi. There used to be lots of Peacock in ancient time.

Uniqueness of this temple is there is Nandi (Bull Mount) is sitting at the entrance of temple. Nandi can be seen only in Shiva temple.

How to Reach -

Road - Pune is the major city near to this village. State Transport buses are available from Pune to Morgaon. Route is Pune - Jejuri - Morgaon.

Train - Pune is major railway station near to Morgaon. Pune is well connected to other part of country very well. Further journey needs to be continue by road.

Flight - Nearest domestic airport is Pune(70km) and international airport is Mumbai (270km).

Nearby - Jejuri is one of holy temple in Maharashtra about 17km from Morgaon. Jejuri is on the way from Pune to Morgaon.

Siddhivinayak, Siddhatek [source - google]

Photo of Siddhatek, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Second destination on this tour is Siddhatek. Siddhtek is around 110km from Pune. This temple is situated on the bank of Bhima river. Trunk of idol is towards right direction which is unique among all eight idols. It is believed that right sides trunk Ganesha are very strict for devotees. Name of the Ganesha, Siddhivinayak which means Lord of Perfection.

How to Reach -

Road - If you are traveling in sequence then route is Morgaon - Kedgaon - Daund - Siddhatek. If you are traveling from Pune then route is Pune - Patas - Daund - Siddhatek. State Transport buses are available from Pune to Daund and Daund to Siddhatek.

Train - Nearest railway station is Daund Junction which is about 18km from Siddhatek. State Transport buses are available for further journey from Daund.

Flight - Nearest domestic airport is Pune(110km) and international airport is Mumbai (310km).

Ballaleshwar, Pali [source - google]

Photo of Shri Ballaleshwar Temple, Pali, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Third destination is Pali situated near to Khopoli, a small town near to Mumbai. Name of this idol "Ballaleshwar" is derived from boy's name "Ballala" who save Ganesha. Boy was beaten by his father and village for single minded devotion to Lord Ganesha.

The temple is constructed in such a way that after the winter (dakshinayan : southward movement of the sun) solstice, the sunrays fall on the Ganesha at sunrise. The shape of the idol itself bears a striking semblance with the mountain which forms the backdrop of this temple. This is more prominently felt if one views the photograph of the mountain and then sees the idol.

How to Reach -

Road - If you are traveling in sequence then route is Siddhatek - Pune - Lonavala - Khopoli - Pali (230km). If you are traveling from Mumbai then route is Mumbai - Khopoli - Pali (100km). State Transport buses are available from Mumbai to Khopoli (frequent) and Khopoli to Pali.

Train - Nearest railway station is Khopoli about 40km. Devotees coming from Mumbai can take Khopoli bound suburban train and state transport bus for further journey. Other major railway stations are Panvel and Karjat. State transport buses are available from Panvel and Karjat to Khopoli.

Flight - Nearest domestic and international airport is Mumbai.

Varad Vinayak, Mahad [source - google]

Photo of Mahad, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Next destination on the tour is Mahad which is about 50km from Pali. Ganesha is said to reside here in the form of Varada Vinayaka, the giver of bounty and success. The idol was found in the adjoining lake in an immersed position and hence its weathered look.

How to Reach -

Road - If you are traveling in sequence then route is Pali - Khopoli - Mahad (50km). If you are traveling from Mumbai then route is Mumbai - Khopoli - Mahad (70km). State Transport buses are available from Mumbai to Khopoli (frequent). Autos are available from Khopoli to Mahad.

Train - Nearest railway station is Khopoli about 7km. Devotees coming from Mumbai can take Khopoli bound suburban (local) train and state transport bus or an auto for further journey. Other major railway stations are Panvel and Karjat. State transport buses are available from Panvel and Karjat to Khopoli.

Flight - Nearest domestic and international airport is Mumbai.

Day 2

Chintamani, Theur [source - google]

Photo of Shree Chintamani Temple, Theur, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Fifth destination on the tour is Theur. It is nearest destination from Pune, just 30km from city. Ganesha is believed to have got back the precious Chinatamani jewel from the greedy Guna for sage Kapila at this spot. However, after bringing back the jewel, sage Kapila put it in Vinayaka's (Ganesha's) neck. Thus the name Chintamani Vinayak.

The village of Theur sits at the confluence of three major regional rivers - Mula, Mutha & Bhima.

How to Reach -

Road - If you are traveling in sequence then route is Mahad - Khopoli - Lonavala - Pune - Theur (110km). Pune city transport buses are available to Theur from Pune city.

Train - Nearest railway station is Pune.

Flight - Nearest domestic airport is Pune and international airport is Mumbai.

Girijatmaj, Lenyadri [source - google]

Photo of Lenyadri Caves, Junnar, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Lenyadri Caves [source - google]

Photo of Lenyadri Caves, Junnar, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Next destination on the tour is Lenyadri. This temple is situated in Caves. It is believed that Parvati (Shiva's wife) performed penance to beget Ganesha at this point. Girija's (Parvati's) Atmaj (son) is Girijatmaj.

This temple stands amidst a cave complex of 18 caves of Buddhist origin. The temple is carved out of a single stone hill, which has 307 steps. The temple features a wide hall with no supporting pillars.

This idol seems to be little different from the rest of the Ashtavinayak idols in a sense that it appears to be not very well designed or carved like the other idols. The temple is constructed such that during the day it is always lighted up by the sun-rays.

How to Reach -

Road - This temple is situated in Junner region of Pune district about 100km from Pune. If you are traveling in sequence then route is Theur - Lonikand - Peth - Narayngaon - Junnar - Lenyadri. From Pune, the route is Pune - Chakan - Narayangaon - Junnar - Lenyadri. From Mumbai, route is Mumbai - Kalyan - Murbad - Saralgaon - Lenyadri (155km).

Train - Nearest railway station Pune and Kalyan (Mumbai). From both the places state transport buses are available to Junnar.

Flight - Nearest domestic airport is Pune/Mumbai and international airport is Mumbai.

Vighneshwar, Ozar [source - google]

Photo of Ozar, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Seventh destination in tour is Ozar about 15km from Lenyadri. Junnar is central destination for both Ozar and Lenyadri.

The history encompassing this idol states that Vighnasur, a demon was created by the King of Gods, Indra to destroy the prayer organized by King Abhinandan. However, the demon went a step further and destroyed all vedic, religious acts and to answer the people's prayers for protection, Ganesh defeated him.

The story goes on to say that on being conquered, the demon begged and pleaded with Ganesha to show a mercy. Ganesha then granted in his plea, but on the condition that demon should not go to the place where Ganesha worshipping is going on.

In return the demon asked a favour that his name should be taken before Ganesha's name, thus the name of Ganesha became Vighnahar or Vighneshwar (Vighna in Sanskrit means a sudden interruption in the ongoing work).

How to Reach -

Road - If you are traveling in sequence then route is Lenyadri - Junnar - Ozar. From Pune, the route is Pune - Chakan - Narayangaon - Ozar (90km). From Mumbai, route is Mumbai - Kalyan - Murbad - Saralgaon - Otur - Ozar (170km).

Train - Nearest railway station Pune and Kalyan (Mumbai). From both the places state transport buses are available to Junnar.

Flight - Nearest domestic airport is Pune/Mumbai and international airport is Mumbai.

Shivneri Fort (birth place of Maratha Warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) is just 4km from Junnar.

Mahaganapati, Ranjangaon [source - google]

Photo of Ranjangaon, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade

Eighth place on the tour is Ranjangaon situated on Pune - Nagar highway. Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripurasura here. The temple was built by Shiva where he worshipped Ganesha, and the town he set up was called Manipur which is now known as Ranjangaon.

This temple is contructed in such a way that sunrays directly falls on idol.

How to Reach -

Road - If you are traveling in sequence then route is Ozar - Narayangaon - Pargaon - Malthan - Ranjangaon (70km). If you are traveling from Pune then route is Pune - Shikrapur - Ranjangaon (55km). From Mumbai, Mumbai - Lonavala - Talegaon - Chakan - Shikrapur - Ranjangaon (190km).

Train - Nearest railway station is Pune. State Transport buses are available from Pune. The frequency of buses is very high.

Flight - Nearest domestic airport is Pune and international airport is Mumbai.

This completes visit of all the eight temples of Lord Ganesha but Ashtavinayak tour does not get completed here. Devotees needs to visit first temple (Morgaon) one more time to complete the tour. From Ranjangaon to Morgaon, the route is Ranjangaon - Amble - Pargaon - Kedgaon - Morgaon.

Hotels to stay and restaurants to dine are available nearby the temples at all places. However, all the destinations are villages so the restaurants gets closed early in night.

Duration of this tour depends upon the mode of your travel. If you are traveling with any tour company or personal vehicle, this tour can be completed in 2 or 3 days. But if you are traveling with public transport then it will take 4 to 5 days to complete the tour depending on the frequency and availability of public transport.

Many of the tour companies arranges Ashtavinayak tour from Pune and Mumbai. However, it is not guaranteed that tour companies will complete the tour in above sequence. If you want to visit these temples in pre-ascertained sequence then traveling using personal vehicle is advisable.

Expenses mentioned above is minimum cost require for this tour. This cost can very according to mode of travel, stay and personal expenses.

Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival that reveres god Ganesha. A ten-day festival, it starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, which typically falls in Gregorian months of August or September. The festival is marked with installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stage). This festival is celebrated all over India for ten days. If you want experience this festival, you must visit Mumbai or Pune during those 10 days.

Ganesha Festival Celebrations, Mumbai

Photo of Morgaon, Maharashtra, India by Anil Zagade
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