Mahad Ganpati Varad Vinayak Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh and is one of the Eight Ashtavinayak Temples of Pune in Maharashtra. The temple is in Mahad village, Raigad district. Varad Vinayak means the Lord who grants boons and wishes. Moreover, If one has to follow a sequence when visiting the Ashtavinayak Temples, the Mahad Ganpati Temple comes fourth.
Mahad Ganpati Temple History
Subhedar Ramji Mahadev Biwalkwar built the Mahad Ganpati Temple in the year 1725.
Legend of Varad Vinayak: During his hunting trip, Prince Rukmaganda of Koudinyapur stopped at Rishi Vachaknavi’s hermitage. The Rishi’s wife Mukunda admired the handsome prince and tried to seduce him, but the righteous Prince refused. But, Lord Indra saw the plight of the lovesick Mukunda. Therefore, he impersonated Prince Rukmaganda and fulfilled her desire. Mukunda soon gave birth to a son Gritsamada, who grew up to be a great scholar.
Then, Gritsamada was once invited to a debate along with great Rishis. One of the Rishis refused to debate with Gritsamada as he was not a true Brahmin. But a surprised Gritsamada questioned his mother and learned about his birth. In a fit of anger, he cursed that she will turn into a thorny plant. Mukunda, in turn, cursed Gritsamada that he will have a demon child. When the two were cursing each other, a celestial voice said that Gritsamada was Lord Indra’s son. Both mother and son could not reverse their curses. Therefore, Mukunda turned into a thorny plant.
A repenting Gritsamada retreated to Pushpak forest and performed penance to Lord Ganesh. Pleased with his prayers and devotion, Lord Ganesh appeared before him and granted him a boon. Gritsamada requested that he be recognised as a Brahmin and also that Lord Ganesh stay in this forest and bless the people. Hence, Lord Ganesh granted his two wishes and stayed in the forest. So, Gritsamada called Lord Ganesh as Varad Vinayak or the Lord who grants wishes.
Significance of Mahad Ganpati Temple
The Varad Vinayak idol at Mahad Ganpati Temple is self-manifested. The Lord’s idol was found in an immersed position in a lake in the year 1690 by a Ganesh devotee named Paundkar
The Varad Vinayak idol at Mahad Ganpati Temple faces east and the trunk is turns left.
Lord Varad Vinayak at Mahad Ganpati Temple is accompanied by consorts Riddhi and Siddhi
The sanctum sanctorum had a Nandadeep or a perpetual oil lamp, which is believed to burning continuously since 1892
Devotees can come into the sanctum sanctorum and directly worship the Lord at Mahad Ganpati Temple
Further, Mahad is a scenic village and offers an excellent ambience for people who wish to meditate
Gagangiri Maharaj, a spiritual leader did penance on the water of a nearby dam
According to beliefs, Gritsamada created the Ganana Twam. The mantra is a very powerful chant when praying to Lord Ganesh.
Mahad Ganpati Temple Timings
Mahad Ganpati Temple opens at 6 am and closes at 9 pm.
Poojas and Rituals at Mahad Ganpati Temple
Lord Varad Vinayak is worshipped only three times a day at Mahad Ganpati Temple.
Devotees who pay a fee of INR31,000 have an opportunity to worship the Lord for the entire day. Moreover, no priests or officials will interrupt the devotee during his prayers.
Rituals performed at Varad Vinayak Temple
The Mahad Ganpati Temple performs Sahastravartan and Ekadashan rituals on behalf of devotees. The priest offers Holy ash and Prasad to devotees who do the rituals.
Festivals at Mahad Ganpati Temple
Bhadrapath: Lord Ganesh’s birth celebrations known as Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi is a key festival in the state of Maharashtra. In Mahad, Lord Varad Vinayak’s birthday is a five-day festival from Bhadrapath Shudh 1 to Bhadrapath Shudh 5 (August –September)
Magh: The Magh Utsav is an important festival at the Varad Vinayak Temple. The celebrations take place from Magh Shudh 1 to Magh Shudh 6 (January – February).
How to reach Mahad Ganpati Temple: Road, Rail and Air
By road – Mahad Ganpati Temple is just 63 km from Mumbai and 85 km from Pune. The Mahad bus stand is well connected to major cities in Maharashtra by the state-run bus services.
By rail – The nearest railway stations are in Khopoli and Karjat. All Express Train Services halt at Karjat Station. Several buses and shuttle services operate from these stations to Mahad village.
By air – The nearest airports are in Mumbai and Pune and they are equidistant to Varad Vinayak Temple. The airports are approximately 75-80 km from Mahad.
Where to stay
Mahad has a Bhakta Niwas or Pilgrim’s rest house with clean rooms at very nominal rates. Mahad doesn’t have any hotels, but devotees can either choose between the rest house of stay at Mumbai / Pune.
Where to eat
The Mahad Ganpati Temple offers Prasad for devotees. Villagers and priests also offer Thali meals which are pre-booked. Also devotees who make day trips to Mahad can also choose to eat at Mumbai/Pune where one can find excellent food options.
Gagangiri Ashram, Khopoli: According to beliefs, Gagangiri Maharaj, a prominent spiritual leader did penance in Khopoli and nearby forests. He attained Samadhi at his Ashram in Khopoli which attracts devotees. The ashram is 21 km from Mahad Ganpati Temple
Shankar Mandir, Khopoli: Nana Phadnavis, built an oval shaped reservoir and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple does not have an idol, but an image which visitors worship. Mahasivarathri festival fair attracts a lot of devotees to this temple. The Shankar Mandir is 28 km from Mahad Ganpati Temple
Other Ashtavinayak Temples
Mayureshwar Temple, Morgaon: Devotees begin and end their journey at the Mayureshwar Temple. The temple got its name after the legend of Mayureshwar – Lord Ganesh riding a peacock, who defeated a demon at this place. It is in Morgaon, 155 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Siddhatek: Lord Vishnu appeased Lord Ganesh at this place before slaying the demons Madhu and Kaitabh. Moreover, Lord Siddhi Vinayak is the only idol with the trunk pointing towards the right. It is in Siddhatek, 185 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
Ballaleshwar Temple, Pali: This temple derives its name from Lord Ganesh’s devotee Ballal. Also, it is the only Ganesh Temple whose name is after a devotee. It is in Pali, 37 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
Chintamani Temple, Theur: Lord Ganesh retrieved the invaluable jewel – Chintamani from a greedy demon and given it back to sage Kapila. Then, the sage rewarded Lord Ganesh by placing it around Lord Ganesh’s neck, hence the name Chintamani Vinayak. It is in Theur, 105 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
Girijatmaj Temple, Lenyadri: Goddess Parvathi performed penance at this place to have a child. Her prayers were answered when Lord Ganesh was born. The temple gets its name from the words Girija (Parvathi) and Atmaj (son). It is in Lenyadri, 146km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
Vighneshwar Vinayak Temple, Ozar: Lord Indra sent Vighnasur the demon to disturb King Abhinandan’s prayer. The troubled devotees turned to Lord Ganesh who defeated the demon at this place. It is in Ozar, 133 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
Mahaganapati Temple, Ranjangaon: Lord Shiva worshipped Lord Ganesh here before proceeding to defeat the demon Tripurasura. It is in Ranjangaon, 172 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.