India is a land of various cultures and religions. People irrespective of one’s caste and creed dwell together which makes it a secular nation. Lord Ganesha is the most loved and admired God among the Hindus. Not only the Hindus, but people of all religions consider Lord Ganesha to be auspicious and Siddhi-data. The deity symbolic icon consists of an elephant head with a curved trunk and huge ears on a big human body.
Devotees from all over the world offer Laddus, popular Indian sweets to the God. It is also his favorite offering. Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular symbols associated with Hinduism. According to legends, Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva, the destroyer in the Holy Trinity of Gods and Goddess Parvati who is one of the many incarnations of Devi Shakti.
Lord Ganesha is worshiped before any puja or festivity. In fact, every ritual is incomplete without worshiping the Almighty. While his head represents the holy Atma of the body, the body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of the human beings. The Almighty’s head is an epitome of wisdom and prudence.
The trunk symbolizes Om, the holy sound symbol of the cosmic reality. The Lord holds a goad in the upper right hand which helps him to guide human beings onto the eternal path. It is also a symbol of the removal of all hurdles along the way. In addition, the noose on the Lord’s left hand is present to capture and get rid of all the difficulties. There are many Ganesha temples all around India, but your trip remains incomplete without visiting the auspicious shrine of Ganesh Temple at Morgaon Ganpati in Maharashtra. Currently, this famous pilgrimage destination is under the administration of the Chinchwad Devasthan Trust that operates from Chinchwad.
History and Legend of Morgaon Ganpati
As per the historical records, there was a prominent Ganapatya saint named Morya Gosavi. He worshiped at the Morgaon Ganesha temple before relocating to Chinchwad. There, he built a new shrine. This temple along with other temples near Pune enjoyed royal patronage from the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire during the 18th The rulers who worshiped Ganesha as their family deity donated land and money to this temple.
As per Anne Feldhaus, the date of this temple stands disputed. It does not go back to the seventeenth century when the Morya Gosavi popularized it.
According to Ganesha Purana, Lord Ganesha incarnated as Mayureshwar who had six arms and a white complexion. He was born in the Treta Yuga for the purpose of killing the demon named Sindhu. The demon caused hardship to the people of the Universe and Gods pleaded to Ganpati for help. The Lord came down on a peacock mount and waged a battle against Sindhu and later vanquished him.
Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, installed the original image of the lord. Later, the Pandava princes installed a copper image during the course of their pilgrimage.
There is another legend which states that this place had a large number of peacocks. Hence the name is Morgaon or the Village of Peacocks. The presiding God is Moreshwar.
Another significant Ganapatya legend states that Lord Brahma along with Vishnu, Shiva, the Divine Mother Devi and Surya meditated at Morgaon to gain knowledge about their creator and the purpose of existence. Then Lord Ganesha appeared before them in the form of an Omkara flame and blessed them.
Significance of Morgaon Ganpati Temple
A huge stone boundary wall encloses the sacred place of worship with minarets at all the four corners of the temple. The four gates which depict four ages face a cardinal direction with an image of Ganesha.
Each of the four Ganesha forms is related to an aim of life and also accompanied by two attendants.
The main entrance of the shrine faces the north direction.
This beautiful courtyard has two Deepmalas and a 6-foot mouse that sits in front of the temple. An enormous structure of Nandi faces the Lord on the outside of the Morgaon Ganpati Temple gates.
Recently there is an assembly hall which is the home to the deities of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi. This, in turn, paves a way for the central hall that was built by the Patwardhan Rulers of Kurundwad.
Morgaon Ganpati temple’s ceiling stone is made up of a single stone and the Garbhagriha houses a central image of the Lord facing the north direction.
The space around the assembly hall contains 23 different idols symbolizing various forms of Lord Ganesha. These idols include the images of the eight forms of the God as explained in Mudgala Purana.
Morgaon Ganpati Temple Timings
The temple opens at 5 A.M. and closes at 10 P.M.
It remains closed from 12 noon to 3 P.M.
Morgaon Ganpati Temple Food Timings
Pilgrims are offered Mahaprasada from 12 Noon to 2 P.M. on a regular basis. This facility is provided by the Devasthana. This temple also accepts Annadana fund.
The temple also offers Cashew nuts and Groundnut Laddus as Prasad to the devotees.
Festivals celebrated at the Morgaon Ganpati Temple
Ganesh Jayanti or the festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesha sees thousands of devotees assembling in the temple premises.
Every year people from distant places gather in this place to offer prayers and seek blessings from the Almighty. It falls in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada and the celebrations last for more than a month. Devotees can offer a donation to the Chinchwad Deosthan Trust and collect the receipt. The Prasad can be sent to the pilgrims by post.
The devotees also celebrate Vijayadasami with great fervor.
Some other festivals observed in this temple include Shukla Chaturthi, Krishna Chaturthi, and Somavati Amavasya.
Poojas and Rituals at Morgaon Ganpati
Devotees worship Lord Ganesha with great dedication in this temple. The God awakens at 5 A.M. and the priests perform the divine cleansing pooja. Then they perform Panchopachara pooja, Naivedya, and Dhoop aarti at 7 A.M. Maha Pooja is performed at 12 Noon and at 3 P.M, the divine cleansing pooja takes place. The priests offer the Aarti of the Avarana Deities to the God at 8 P.M. and then perform the Maha Aarti at 8:30 P.M. Finally they perform the final aarti at 10 P.M.
Priests perform a special pooja on special occasions like Sankasta Chaturthi at the rise of the Moon.
Devotees also perform Alamkara pooja which is a special ritual where they offer Apati leaves to the Lord on Vijaya Dashami. They also perform a ritual called as Abhyanga Snana every Saturday after the aarti at night.
How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air
Air– For tourists planning to visit this auspicious shrine by flight, Pune airport is the nearest destination. One can hire either private cabs or opt for bus services to reach the temple.
Train– Railways connect India in the truest sense. There are loads of people communicating through the train and for them, the Jejuri Railway Station located at 17 km from the temple is the nearest station.
Road– This place is well connected by roads from Pune as well. Special buses called Astha Vinayak darshan take tourists to all the eight temples. Government of Maharashtra and some private operators also run these buses.
Hotels near Morgaon Ganpati: Where to stay
Tourists who would like to stay here can put up at various hotels located near Pune. Although temple guest house is not available but there are various places of accommodation for tourists. For example, pilgrims traveling alone or on a limited budget can opt for dormitories or share rooms. And for people traveling with family, double to triple bedded rooms are also available. There are many international hotels that provide complimentary breakfast options for its clients. One can also customize the menu as per to their taste and requirements. However, it is always advisable to book one’s accommodation in advance. This will not only ensure security but also pave a way for great deals as well. One can also avail the free pickup and drop services of the hotels to avoid any involvement of private cab services.
Where to eat
There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing one’s food. A tourist will never encounter any problem once one visits this place as there are ample numbers of eating joints that provide fresh food at unbeatable prices. Enjoy a 5-course meal coupled with proper ambiance and live music at international restaurants or opt for roadside food that has a rustic charm. Food is entirely one’s decision and whatever your decision is, you will never be disappointed. A tourist will always get the desired cuisine along with specialty food as well.
Maharashtrian cuisine includes lots of options in veggies, dal, and rice, chapatti of two or three varieties and even pickles and papad. Apart from that, there are also healthy snacks and breakfast options available for travelers. Some hotels also have private dining resorts for their clients. So if you want to enjoy such private services, you need to book your stay in advance.
Other Ashtavinayak Temples
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, 87 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak
Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Siddhatek: Lord Vishnu appeased Lord Ganesh at this place before slaying the demons Madhu and Kaitabh. Lord Siddhi Vinayak is the only idol with the trunk pointing towards the right. It is in Siddhatek, 160km from the Girijatmaj Temple.
Ballaleshwar Temple, Pali: This temple is named after Lord Ganesh’s devotee Ballal. This is the only Ganesh Temple named after a devotee. It is in Pali, 180 km from the Girijatmaj Temple.
Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad: Lord Ganesh is Varadha Vinayak, the Lord who grants boons and wishes. It is in Mahad, 146 km from the Girijatmaj
Chintamani Temple, Theur: Lord Ganesh retrieved the invaluable jewel – Chintamani from a greedy demon and gave it back to sage Kapila. The sage rewarded Lord Ganesh by placing it around Lord Ganesh’s neck. As a result, he was as Chintamani Vinayak. It is in Theur, 110 km from the Girijatmaj Temple.
Vighneshwar Vinayak Temple, Ozar: Lord Indra sent Vighnasur to disturb King Abhinandan’s prayer. The troubled devotees turned to Lord Ganesh who defeated the demon at this place. It is in Ozar, 87 km from the Girijatmaj
Shree Khandoba Temple- Khandoba, otherwise called Khanderao, Khanderaya, Malhari Martand and Mallu Khan is a local Hindu God. People worship him as Martanda Bhairava, a form of Shiva, primarily in the Indian Deccan Plateau. They depict the Lord either as a Lingam or as a picture riding a bull. The preeminent focal point of Khandoba love is Jejuri in Maharashtra.
Rokdoba Hanuman Temple- This is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is a symbol of strength and dedication towards one’s Lord. Besides, there is also another temple nearby the Hanuman temple. This is devoted to Lord Ram, who was the Guru of Hanuman.
Baleshwar Mandir- Rulers of Chand dynasty built this famous temple. It is a beautiful specimen of stone carving and architecture. Devotees worship Lord Shiva as Baleshwar. There are two different sanctuaries in the compound of Baleshwar. One for Ratneshwar and the other for Champawati Durga.
Janubai Mandir- It is a sacred destination for tourists visiting Pune in Maharashtra. Being located among the beautiful valleys, it presents for a wonderful sight. Locals worship the Goddess of Jejuri with intense dedication.
Om Shree Datt Mandir- The deity of this temple involves the trinity of Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva collectively called as Trimurti by the devotees. The term ‘Dattatreya’ has two parts. ‘Datta’ meaning given and ‘Atreya’ pointing towards the sage Atri, his physical father. Around 100 years ago, Late Smt. Laxmibai Dagdu Halwai installed a Datta Temple as per the advice of her Guru viz. Shri Madhavnath of Indore, who was a great devotee of Lord Gurudatta.