Ozar Ganpati Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh is one of the eight Ashtavinayak Temples of Pune in Maharashtra. The temple is in Ozar in Junnar Taluk, in Nashik District. If one follows a sequence when visiting the Ashtavinayak Temples, the Vighneswar Vinayak Temple comes seventh. Since Lord Ganesh defeated a demon named Vighnasur at this place, the Lord became popular as Vighneswar Vinayak – The one who removes obstacles.
History and Legend of Ozar Ganpati Temple
The Ozar Ganpati Temple was built during the reign of Peshwas. Chimaji Appa, military commander of the Peshwas covered the shikhara with gold retrieved from Vasai Fort. Then in 1967 Appa Shastri Joshi, an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesh renovated the temple again.
Legend of Vigneshwar: According to the Puranas, a king by name Abhinandana performed a sacrifice, during which he missed out on making an offering to Lord Indra. So, the angry Lord sent Lord Yama to create chaos and stop the sacrifice. Then, Lord Yama took the form of a demon Vighnasur – the one who creates obstacles. Vighnasur not only disturbed the sacrifice but also created several obstacles for all good deeds in the universe. Therefore, the people and sages approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva with their problem. The Lords advised the people that they request Lord Ganesh for his help.
Hence, the people started worshiping Lord Ganesh, and pleased with their prayers, the Lord appeared and defeated the demon in a fierce battle. Then the demon requested Lord Ganesh that he be called as Vighneshwara – the one who removes obstacles. The overjoyed people installed an idol of Lord Ganesh at Ozar and addressed him as Vighneswara Vinayak.
Significance of Ozar Ganpati Temple
Vighneshwar Vinayak, as the name suggests, means the Lord of Vighna or the Lord who removes obstacles
Also, another name for the temple is Vighnahar Temple.
The temple entrance features four Muniputras or sons of saints. The first and fourth Muniputras hold a Shivlinga in their hands. This signifies that Lord Ganesh greatly reveres his parents and that, devotees who revere the Lord should also have the same devotion to their own parents
The entrance also features two saints holding holy books and chanting. This suggests and encourages devotees to chant hymns while entering the sanctum sanctorum
The Vighneshwar Vinayak idol is believed to be self-manifested and is covered in vermillion
Moreover, the idol has a left-turned trunk. Also, the eyes have emerald while the Lord’s forehead and navel have diamonds
The Lord is accompanied by his consorts Riddhi and Siddhi
A Seshnag and a demon is there on the top of the Lord’s idol. The demon was a local deity called Vastupurush
Ozar Ganpati Temple is east-facing. The temple has small rooms for meditation. The rooms are called Owaris.
The temple walls have beautiful murals and sculptures that are a treat for the eyes.
Ozar Ganpati Temple Timings
Daily: 5:00 am – 11:00 am
Angarkhi: 4:00 am – 11:00 pm
Poojas and Rituals of Ozar Ganpati
Maha Aarti: 7:30 am
Maha Prasad: Mornings – 10 am and Afternoons -1:00 pm
Madhyan Aarti: 12 noon
Shejaarti – the last Aarti of the day: 10 pm
(The temple doors remain closed after Shejaarti)
Rituals for Ozar Ganpati Temple
Atharv Shirsh Abhishek
Bramhnaspati Supt Abhishek
Pavamaan Supt Abhishek
Sahastra Avartan Abhishek
Maha Rudra Abhishek
Tah Hayaat Abhishek
Atharv Shirsh Abhishek
Festivals at Ozar Ganpati Temple
Bhadrapat: Lord Ganesh‘s birth celebrations known as Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi is a key festival in the state of Maharashtra. In Ozar, Lord Vighneshwar Vinayak’s birthday is celebrated in a big way during Bhadrapat Shudh (August / September). During this festival, the people of all nearby villages gather together and organise celebrations on a grand scale.
Magh: Magh Shudh (January/ February) is another important time for festivities at the Vighneshwar Vinayak temple. The second day of the festival features an auction for wrestling ring. The person who wins the auction bid gets the privilege to inaugurate the first match.
Kartik Purnima: Kartik Purnima is celebrated during the month of November/ December. During this five-day festival, several Deepmalas are lit up at the temple.
How to reach Ozar Ganpati Temple
By road: Ozar is nearly 85 km from Pune and 8 km from Junnar. There are several State-run bus services operating from Pune and Mumbai. However, they don’t directly connect with Ozar. Travellers are required to disembark at Junnar and take taxis or auto-rickshaws to Ozar.
By rail: The nearest railway station is at Pune, at 85 km from Ozar. The Pune station connects well to major Indian cities.
By air: The nearest airport is at Pune, which is well connected to all major Indian cities.
Where to stay
The Vighneshwar Vinayak Temple Trust runs a Bhakta Bhavan which offers rooms and dormitories at nominal charges. There are quite a number of hotels offering accommodation options for all budgets. Pilgrims may also choose to stay at Pune, which is 85 km from Ozar.
Where to eat
Ozar has a good number of restaurant options. One can choose from dhabas to street food kiosks and restaurants serving popular Maharashtrian delights.
Shivneri Fort and Temple: Shivneri Fort is the birthplace of Chatrapathi Sivaji. The fort is visible from the Vighneshwar Vinayak Temple and also houses a small temple dedicated to Goddess Shivani. Devotees travelling to Ozar and Lenyadri Ashtavinayak temples also stop at this Fort as it is a place of interest.
Other Ashtavinayak Temples
Mayureshwar Temple, Morgaon: Devotees begin and end their journey at the Mayureshwar Temple. The temple got its name from the legend of Mayureshwar – Lord Ganesh riding a peacock, who defeated a demon at this place. It is in Morgaon, 165 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak Temple.
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. TIt is in Siddhatek, 150 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak
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, 250 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak
Varadha Vinayak Temple, Mahad: Lord Ganesh is Varadha Vinayak, the Lord who grants boons and wishes. It is in Mahad, 150 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak Temple.
Chintamani Temple, Theur: Lord Ganesh 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 the name Chintamani Vinayak. It is in Theur, 105 km from the Vigneshwar 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, 87 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak