Pali Ganpati or Ballaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is one of the eight Ashtavinayak Temples of Pune in Maharashtra. The temple is located in Pali village, Raigad district. Ballaleshwar means the God of Ballalesh. It is interesting to note that this is the only temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha named after his devotee. If one has to follow a sequence when visiting the Ashtavinayak Temples, the Pali Ganpati Temple has to be visited third.
Pali Ganpati History
- Pali Ganpati was is believed to be originally built in the 11th century
- Moreshvar Vitthal Sindkar is also associated with the temple construction in 1640
- The Pali Ganpati was originally made of wood and was renovated in the year 1760 by Moropant Dada Phadnavis during the reign of Peshwas
- Legend of Balleleshwar: According to Ganesh Puran, Kalyansheth was a successful businessman in Pallipur. His son Ballal was a devout child who spent most of his time praying and worshipping Lord Ganesh. One day he invited all the children from his village for a special Pooja. Ballal and his friends kept one large stone and worshipped it as Lord Ganesh. The children were so engrossed in their prayers that they did not return home for days. This irritated the villagers who complained to Kalyansheth. He came to the Pooja and destroyed the stone and tied Ballal to a tree as punishment.
- Ballal cried and prayed to Lord Ganesh who appeared before him as a Sadhu. Ballal identified the Sadhu as the Lord himself and asked for his blessings. He also requested the Lord to always be with him and stay in this place. Lord Ganesh embraced Ballal and vanished into a stone. The stone became the Lord Ballaleshwar idol.
- Legend of Dhundi Vinayak: The large stone which Ballal’s father Kalyansheth threw to the ground was known as Dhundi Vinayak. This is believed to be self-manifested or swayambu and is worshipped before Lord Ballaleshwar.
Significance of Pali Ganpati temple
- Lord Ganesh is widely regarded as the remover of obstacles. Devotees believe that Lord Ballaleshwar provides a faster solution to their prayers.
- The Pali Ganpati Temple faces east and perfectly planned to ensure the rays from the winter solstice’s rising sun fall directly on the main idol
- Lord Ballaleshwar is accompanied by his consorts Riddhi and Siddhi on his either sides
- The Dhundi Vinayak has a separate shrine and is one of the rarest idols to face west
- Since the children of Pali village worshipped the large stone, the Dhundi Vinayak is always worshipped first
- Ballaleshwar is believed to be the only idol of Lord Ganesh that is dressed up in Brahmin attire
- Lord Ballaleshwar’s eyes and navel are supposedly made of diamonds
- Lord Ballaleshwar’s idol is 3 ft tall and remarkably resembles the shape of a nearby mountain
- The Pali Ganpati temple structure is made of concrete with molten lead. This is regarded as a unique feature.
- Visitors can also see some of the construction equipment such as the churning wheel that are kept on display
- The temple has two sanctums – the inner sanctum measuring 15 feet and the outer sanctum measuring 12 feet
- The temple also includes two beautiful lakes which are fully tiled
- A devotee by name Krishnaji Narayan Pinge constructed eight pillars in 1910. The pillars are located in the front of the temple and symbolise the eight directions
Pali Ganpati Temple Timings
- Pali Ganpati Temple is open from 5:30 am to 10 pm
Pali Ganpati Temple Sevas
Daily Pooja: 5:30 am – 10:00 pm
Chaturthi: 6:00 am – 9:00 am
Festivals celebrate at Pali 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 Pali, Lord Ballaleshwar’s birthday is celebrated as a five-day festival from Bhadrapath Shudh 1 to Bhadrapath Shudh 5 (August – September)
- Jeshath: Similar to Bhadrapath, the Dhundi Vinayak Utsav is celebrated as a five-day festival from Jeshath Shudh 1 to Jeshath Shudh 5 (May – June)
- Shravan: Janmashtami or Krishna Ashtami, Lord Krishna’s birthday is celebrated here with a Dahi Handi event during Shravan( July- August)
- Holi: The colourful festival of Holi is celebrated here in the month of Phalgun (February/March), on Phalgun Shudh Poornima
- Aashad: Chaturmas symbolises Lord Vishnu’s four months slumber. The beginning of Chaturmas is celebrated in the month of Aashad (June-July). Devotees can participate in Puram Pravachan program during this period.
- Ashwin: The Dusshera festival is celebrated here on Ashwin Shudh 10 (September/October). During the festivities, Lord Ballaleshwar is taken on a palanquin procession across the village.
- Kakad Aarti: A special Kakad Aarti is performed at 5:00 am before Lord Ballaleshwar from Ashwin Vadhya 1 to Karthika Shudh Poornima
- Magh: The Magh Utsav is an important festival at the Ballaleshwar Temple. The celebrations are held from Magh Shudh 1 to Magh Shudh 6 (January – February). During this period, Bhajans, Kirtans and several programs are conducted by the devotees.
How to reach Pali Ganpati Temple
By road – Pali enjoys good roads and several buses operate from Mumbai, Thane and Pune. One can reach Pali via the Mumbai – Goa highway which is just 8 km away from the village. You can also take the Mumbai – Pune Highway which is 35 km from Pali.
By rail – The nearest railway stations are in Khopoli and Karjat. Several buses operate from these stations to Pali village.
By air – The nearest airports are in Mumbai and Pune at a distance of 105 km and 127 k respectively. Both airports are well connected to all major Indian cities.
Where to stay
Since Pali is a well-known pilgrimage site, several accommodate options are available to meet the needs of pilgrims. The Ballaleshwar Temple charitable trust also runs a dharmashala or Bhakta Niwas and provides accommodation at a nominal cost.
Where to eat
There are several eateries and restaurants in and around Pali. Devotees also partake the food provided at the Ballaleshwar Temple.
- Sudhagad Fort: The Sudhagad Fort houses a shrine dedicated to Goddess Bhorai. This shrine is believed to have been installed by Bhrigu Maharishi. The Sudhagad Fort is 15 km from the Ballaleshwar Temple.
- Gramdevata Vardayini Temple, Usar: Lord Rama is believed to have been blessed by Goddess Vardayini at this place. This temple is 9 km from the Ballaleshwar Temple.
- Uddhar: This is the place where Lord Rama’s devotee, Jatayu had fought Ravana after he had abducted Sita. The place has hot springs and a pond. The water from the pond has the ability to dissolve bones and devotees perform Asthi Visarjana here. Uddhar is 14 km from the Ballaleshwar Temple
- Siddheshwar Temple: The Siddheshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses a self-manifested Linga. The temple is over 350 years old and is 3 km from Pali.
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, 193 km from the Ballaleshwar 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, 156 km from the Ballaleshwar Temple.
- Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad: This temple is the fourth in the list of Ashtavinayak Temples. Lord Ganesh is referred to as Varadha Vinayak, the Lord who grants boons and wishes. The Varadha Vinayak Temple is in Mahad, 37 km from the Ballaleshwar 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, 140 km from the Ballaleshwar 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, 180 km from the Ballaleshwar 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, 252 km from the Ballaleshwar 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, 230 km from the Ballaleshwar Temple.