Mahad Ganpati Temple – Ashtavinayak
- 1 Mahad Ganpati Temple – Ashtavinayak
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 located in Mahad village, Raigad district. Varad Vinayak means the Lord who grants boons and wishes. If one has to follow a sequence when visiting the Ashtavinayak Temples, the Mahad Ganpati Temple has to be visited fourth.
Mahad Ganpati History
- Subhedar Ramji Mahadev Biwalkwar built the 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 was besotted by the handsome prince and tried to seduce him, but the righteous Prince turned her down. Lord Indra saw the plight of the lovesick Mukunda. He impersonated Prince Rukmaganda and fulfilled her desire. Mukunda soon gave birth to a son Gritsamada, who grew up to be a great scholar.
- 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. 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 were taken aback, but were unable to reverse their curses, and 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. Lord Ganesh granted his two wishes and stayed in the forest. Gritsamada called Lord Ganesh as Varad Vinayak or the Lord who grants wishes
Significance of the temple
- The Varad Vinayak idol 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 faces east and the trunk is turned to the left
- Lord Varad Vinayak 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 are allowed to come into the sanctum sanctorum and directly worship the Lord
- Mahad is a scenic and sparsely populated village and offers an excellent ambience for people who wish to meditate
- Gagangiri Maharaj, a spiritual leader is supposed to have done penance on the water of a nearby dam
- Gritsamada is believed to have created the Ganana Twam The mantra is regarded as a very powerful chant when praying to Lord Ganesh
Mahad Ganpati Temple Timings
- Mahad Ganpati Temple opens at 6am and closes at 9pm. Learn more about this temple’s details.
Poojas and Rituals
- Lord Varad Vinayak is worshipped only three times a day
- Devotees who pay a fee of INR31,000 have an opportunity to worship the Lord for the entire day. 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. Holy ash and Prasad are then offered to devotees who do the rituals.
- 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 celebrated as 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 are held from Magh Shudh 1 to Magh Shudh 6 (January – February).
How to reach: 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. Both airports are well connected to all major Indian cities.
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 required to be pre-booked. 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: Gagangiri Maharaj, a prominent spiritual leader is believed to have done 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: This is the first of the Ashtavinayak temples. 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. The Mayureshwar Temple is located at Morgaon, 155 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
- Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Siddhatek: This temple is the second in the list of Ashtavinayak Temples. Lord Vishnu is believed to have appeased Lord Ganesh at this place before slaying the demons Madhu and Kaitabh. Lord Siddhi Vinayak is considered to be the only idol with the trunk pointing towards the right. The Siddhi Vinayak Temple is in Siddhatek, 185 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
- Ballaleshwar Temple, Pali: This temple is the third in the list of Ashtavinayak Temples. As the name suggests this temple is named after Lord Ganesh’s devotee Ballal. This is the only Ganesh Temple named after a devotee. The Ballaleshwar Temple is in Pali, 37 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
- Chintamani Temple, Theur: This temple is the fifth in the list of Ashtavinayak temples. Lord Ganesh is believed to have retrieved the invaluable jewel – Chintamani from a greedy demon and given it back to sage Kapila. The sage rewarded Lord Ganesh by placing around Lord Ganesh’s neck and hence was known as Chintamani Vinayak. The Chintamani Temple is located at Theur, 105 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
- Girijatmaj Temple, Lenyadri: This temple is the sixth in the list of Ashtavinayak Temples. Goddess Parvathi is believed to have 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). The Girijatmaj Temple is in Lenyadri, 146km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
- Vighneshwar Vinayak Temple, Ozar: This temple is the seventh in the list of Ashtavinayak Temples. Vighnasur, the demon was sent by Lord Indra to disturb King Abhinandan’s prayer. The troubled devotees turned to Lord Ganesh who defeated the demon at this place. The Vighneswar Vinayak Temple is located at Ozar, 133 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.
- Mahaganapati Temple, Ranjangaon: This is the last of the Ashtavinayak Temples. Lord Shiva is believed to have worshipped Lord Ganesh here before proceeding to defeat the demon Tripurasura. The MahaganapatiTemple is located at Ranjangaon, 172 km from the Varad Vinayak Temple.