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Shani Shingnapur

Shani Shingnapur Temple

Shani Shingnapur Temple

Shani Shingnapur is the name of a village in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra; the village is known for its popular temple of Lord Shani – Shri Shaneshwar Devasthan Shani Shingnapur the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn.

Shingnapur is also known for the quality, that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft was reported in the village until 2010. The Shani Shingnapur temple is believed to be a “jagrut devasthan” that translates into “alive temple”, meaning that a deity still resides in the temple icon. Villagers believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft.

“Swayambhu” is the presiding deity here. This means the ‘self-evolved’ deity. The temple has a promising purity in its atmosphere. It is significant and lately gained prominence because it lifted the ban on women’s entrance in the temple.

History of Shani Shingnapur Temple

Ahmednagar’s population is known popularly as the place of saints. There are four legends around this temple.

“There is God, but no temple.”
“There is a home, but no door.”
“There is a tree, but no shade.”
“There is fear, but no enemy.”

The story of the swayambhu statue handed down from generations through word of mouth, goes something like this: When the Shepherd touched the stone with a pointed rod, the stone started bleeding. The shepherds were astounded. Soon the whole village gathered around to watch the miracle. On that night Lord Shanaishwara appeared in the dream of the most devoted and pious of the shepherds.

He told the shepherd that he is “Shanaishwara”. He also told that the unique looking black stone is his swayambhu form. The shepherd prayed and asked the lord whether he should construct a temple for him. To this, Lord Shani Mahatma said there is no need for a roof as the whole sky is his roof and he preferred to be under open sky. He asked the shepherd to do daily pooja and ‘Tailabhisheka’ every Saturday without fail. He also promised the whole hamlet will have no fear of dacoits or burglars or thieves.

Significance of Shani Shingnapur Temple

  • The shrine for Shani consists of a five and a half feet high black rock installed on an open-air platform, which symbolizes the god Shani.
  • In the times of Acharya Udasi Baba, there would be only three people visiting the shrine. Namely, Dagdu Changediya, Hastimal Chnagediya and the mother of Badri Tokse. They too used to come only on Saturday. Now, daily there are over 13000 visitors.
  • Unlike other pilgrimage centres, devotees here can perform puja or abhishek or other religious rituals themselves.
  • One of the unique aspects of the village Shingnapur is that houses here have no door- frames or locks on them for safety.
  • A Trishula (trident) is placed along the side of the image and a Nandi (bull) image is on the south side. In front are the small images of Shiva and Hanuman.
  • Generally, the temple has 30–45,000 visitors a day, which swells to around three lakh (i.e. three hundred thousand) on amavasya (the no moon day), believed to be the most auspicious day to appease Shani.
  • According to a 400-year tradition, women are restricted from entering the inner sanctum. On 26 January 2016, a group of over 500 women, led by activist Trupti Desai, marched to the temple under the group “Bhumata Ranragani Brigade”, demanding entry into the Inner sanctum. They were stopped by the police.
  • In a landmark judgement on 30 March 2016, the Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra government to ensure that women are not denied entry to any temple. On 8 April 2016, the Shani Shingnapur trust finally allowed the women devotees to enter the sanctum.

Timings of Shani Shingnapur Temple

The temple remains open 24 hours a day throughout the whole week.

Festivals at Shani Shingnapur Temple

  • Shri Shaneshchar Jayanti, the special day of God Shani’s birthday, is celebrated with great gusto and devotion.
  • From ‘Chaitra Shuddha Dashami’ to ‘Chaitrya Vadya Pratipada’, continuously, the chanting of God’s name and ‘Granthraj Dnyaneshwari Parayan’ is being performed.
  • From 1991, on Aashadi Ekadashi of every year, from Shanishingnapur to Pandarpur, Shaneshwar Palki is taken on foot with great fanfare. In this, all the trustees and devotees participate.
  • Similarly, from 1991, during Ekanaathi Shashti of every year, all the trustees and devotees participate in taking Shaneshwar Palki on foot, with great fanfare, from Shanishingnapur to Paithan.

How to reach Shani Shingnapur Temple

  • By air: The nearest International Airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, which is four and a half hour drive from Shirdi. Flights to major Indian cities like, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur connect to the location and can be availed on a regular basis.
  • By rail: One can travel from any corner of India to Shani Shingnapur. For this, the suggested railway stations are Ahmednagar, Rahuri, Shrirampur and Belapur. From these railway destinations, there are S.T. buses, Jeeps, Taxis etc. facilities to Shani Shingnapur.
  • By road: one can utilize the State Transport Bus services, taxis, bus services. Shingnapur is a village situated at a distance of 6 kms from Ghodegaon on Aurangabad Ahmednagar road in Maharashtra. It is 84 Kms from Aurangabad and 35kms from Ahmednagar.

Hotels nearby Shani Shingnapur Temple

  • Daiwik Hotel, Shirdi near Pimplewadi road is a notable place to check in. It offers great dining experience and is reviewed to be a nice accommodating place.
  • The Temple View Hotel at Nagar Mnamad road is at close proximity to the temple. Travellers often checks in for its convenient location and well suited accomdation.

Places to visit near Shani Shingnapur Temple

  • At around 70 km from Shani Shinganapur, Shirdi is situated which is the famous place of Shri Sai Baba. Saibaba has spent most of him life in Shirdi Village. Millions of visitors daily visit Shirdi temple to take blessings from Sai Baba.
  • The Ajanta and Ellora caves are considered as the greatest historical monument in the Maharashtra, India; which are located at about 79 km southwest from Shinganapur.
  • 143 km from the Shani Shinganapur, Nashik city is positioned and is famous for its religious culture. There are many places to see in the Nashik city; some of which include Muktidham, Pandavleni Caves, Sula Vineyards, Kalaram Temple, Naroshankar Temple, Sundarnarayan Temple, Shri Kailas Math etc.

Khandoba Temple

Khandoba Temple at Jejuri

People have been visiting various places to pay their respects to various deities across the world. Tourism has been redefined once again through religious purposes.  By the Biblical period, these vital religious centers serve not only an essential constituent of the cultural landscape but have also become major players in local marketing too. Religious travel and tourism have become an important aspect of the industry and all major travel organizations are offering comprehensive packages to clients as well. In the contemporary world, the tourism market has expanded significantly and hence it includes sub-niches that range from luxurious travel plans to backpacking and from religious institutional travel to volunteer-oriented experiences. Traveling on a pilgrimage does not merely refer to visiting a particular destination, but it is also coupled with a humanitarian cause. While people may go to a particular place to worship a specific deity, the travel also has additional attractions. Jejuri is a city in Maharashtra that comes under the Pune district. It is famous for being the abode of Lord Khandoba. This town is popular for being the home to one of the most sacred temples in the state and hence this place is also called as the Khandobachi Jejuri. The Khandoba Temple is situated in the Jejuri town which lies in the south-eastern region of Pune. It is a very popular temple which stands favorite among the tourists for not only its brilliant architecture but also for the legends that are associated with this sacred place of worship.

Khandoba Temple

History and Legend of Khandoba Temple

  • According to the legends, the story starts with Aurangzeb attacking the sanctuary amid one of his crusades when he conquered another fort named the Daulat Mangal Fort which is close to this spot. He saw the Jejuri fortress (which was enclosing the sanctuary) post conquering the Daulat Mangal fort. He wanted to conquer the Jejuri Fort too and therefore reached with his armed force to this fort. However, he found that the strong doors were shut. So he needed to break the walls of the fort in order to invade. He then requested to make a hole in the wall by putting an explosive precisely at the spot where the Savalaksha Bhunga lies now.
  • At this time, there a large swarm of bees appeared from the hole in quick succession. These honey bees attacked the armed force of Aurangzeb with loud noise by covering every warrior’s body. So the soldiers informed this to Aurangzeb who was completely paralyzed. At this time, a Hindu soldier informed him about the power of Lord Khandoba who is ever watchful to protect his fans. He then recommended that by showing up before the Lord is the only way to resolve the problem. So, Aurangzeb made an offering of One Lakh and a quarter coins to God Khandoba. At the point when the offering was made, the honey bees vanished soon. So Aurangzeb did not know how it happened, but rather understood that God was so intense that he had to bow down before Khandoba.
  • Jejuri has additionally been a truly imperative spot as Shivaji met his dad Shahaji here after a long stretch. The meeting is actually very important as both of them talked about the methodologies that can be used against the Mughals. At that period, Jejuri was one of the major hill forts in the southern region.

Significance of the Khandoba Temple

  • Khandoba otherwise known as Khanderao, Khanderaya, Malhari Martand and Mallu Khan is a territorial Hindu divinity, revered as Martanda Bhairava, a type of Shiva, mostly in the Deccan level of India.
  • The worship of Khandoba started during the 9th and 10th centuries from a folk deity into a composite of God having the qualities of Shiva, Bhairava, Surya and Karttikeya Skanda. He is defined either as a Lingam or as a picture riding a bull or a horse.
  • The temple of Khandoba at Jejuri has been built on the top of a small hill. A devotee needs to climb almost 200 steps to reach this holy place.
  • It is considered to be among one of the important Gods who is more significantly worshiped by Dhangar, the oldest tribes in Maharashtra.
  • Moreover, the pilgrims believe that the Lord Khandoba is also the God of Sakamabhakti i.e. the God who fulfills all the desires of his devotees.
  • The competition of handling the sword on Dussera Day is very popular at Jejuri because the participants have to lift the sword high for the maximum time.
  • One can without much difficulty, see the view of Saswad and Dive Ghat if the climate stands suitable. The pilgrims can enjoy the number of “Deep Mala “( Light Stands of Stones ) while climbing the slope. Jejuri is truly well known for its old Deep Mala. The sanctuary over the slope is beautiful. Despite the fact that it is a simple temple, yet it still looks lovely. The sanctuary can be partitioned into Mandap and Gabhara. The two bells and icons in the sanctuary are gorgeous.
  • The idol of the Khandoba shrine stands equally amazing. There are various weapons like sword, damaru and paral which are historically important. People visit Jejuri to see the crystal stands too.
  • Some of the common terms include ‘Khandobacha Yelkot’ and ‘Jay Malhar’. There are many sculptures situated in and around this sacred place of worship.

Khandoba Temple Timings

  • The temple remains open for its devotees from 6 A.M. to 8 P.M.
  • Devotees can offer prayers at all days in a week.

Khandoba Temple Food Timings

  • The temple offers Prasad to the devotees after 2 P.M.
  • Pilgrims can also offer Prasad to the deity in the form of fruits and dry sweets.

Festivals celebrated at the Khandoba Temple

  • On Dussera, an annual festival is organized on a large scale. Khandoba Palanquin procession is the main event during this occasion. This is carried from the Kadepathar cliff to the main shrine. After the procession, nearly at dawn, a 30 feet Ravanimage is burnt. A fire cracker show is organized and the experience it provides is one of its kinds.
  • Mahasivaratri is another event that is celebrated with pomp by the devotees. Pilgrims gather in the temple since early morning and offer pooja to the Lord. People worship throughout the night and sadhus chant hymns.
  • Some other festivals that are observed in this temple include Ram Navami, Diwali etc.

Poojas and Rituals of Khandoba Temple

  • Abhishek is performed on the Swayambhu Linga in the early morning at 5 A.M.
  • The Lord is offered garlands, incense sticks, Bilva leaves, sweets, and fruits. Lamps are lit and the Shiva mantra “OM Namah Shivaya” is recited.
  • When a devotee offers milk or water to the Shivalinga, it flows in a particular direction. This sacred water should not be crossed.

How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Air- Traveling by air is considered to be the best option for people who want to travel in less time. For such travelers, the Pune Airport is the nearest airport in order to reach the Khandoba Temple. There are cab services available from the airport for commuters.
  • By Train- Railways is the backbone when it comes to Indian mode of transportation. Every day there are numerous passengers who travel by train. And, Jejuri can also be reached from any location in India. There are many express and passenger trains that halt at the Jejuri Railway Station. From there, one can hire a taxi or opt for a bus to reach the auspicious temple.
  • By Road- For people who love to travel by roads, the Khandoba Temple is easily connected with all the national and state highways. Driving is approx 200 km from Mumbai to Jejuri road. While driving, it is vital that you take the Pune Expressway (drive approx 110km on Expressway) exit to Mumbai Pune Bypass road (drive approx 40km keeping right) then turn left to Angraj road ending in Jejuri road.

Hotels in Maharashtra: Where to stay

There are various kinds of accommodation available for tourists who visit the state of Maharashtra. From luxurious to budget hotels, there are many options for the travelers. The rent of the rooms depends on the one selects. The rooms are generally well furnished and equipped with all modern facilities. Some hotels even have private balconies for guests to retire. It is always advisable to book your hotels in advance if you plan to reside near the Khandoba Temple. There are not many hotels available in that region. For people who love pampering, choose your accommodation that provides personalized spa services. In general, all the leading hotels offer pickup and drop services to the airports and major railway stations for their clients.

Where to eat

Maharashtra cuisine is generally spicy in nature. People in this region prefer vegetarian food but all the international restaurants offer nonvegetarian eating options as well. Some breakfast options that are relished by both the tourists and the natives alike include poha, upma, samosa, and jalebi. Vada pav and Misal pav are distinct to this region. For a more comprehensive meal as lunch, one can either order separate dishes or opt for a Thali system. A Thali basically refers to a complete meal which comprises of rice, roti, dal, vegetables, pickle, dahi, salad and a sweet. And individuals who would prefer to opt for fine dining; there are many leading restaurants that offer international cuisines at a competitive price range. From Mexican to Thai and Italian, there are assortments of options for people who love to gorge on unique dishes every time.

Nearby Temples

  • Aangameshwar Mandir- It is a perfect destination for people who want to plan a pilgrimage tour with your dear ones. World standards, extraordinary architecture, innovative layouts, and well-thought execution make the place a highly coveted point of tourist interest. This temple at Saswad is quite popular among the devotees.
  • The Yamai Devi Temple- Itis situated in a hill complex at Pune in Maharashtra. The top of the hill can either be reached by using the steps that begin at the bottom of the hill or by car utilizing a somewhat unsafe road. The icon of Devi Mahishasur Mardini Yamai in black stone is almost around 2 meters high and is in a cross-legged sitting position. The sanctuary is the family place of worship for countless families. The highest point of the sanctuary has pictures and icons of different Hindu gods.
  • Vithal Rakhumai Temple- It is the fundamental center of worship for Vitthal, accepted to be a form of Bhagwan Krishna or Vishnu and his consort Rakhumai. It is the most visited sanctuary in Maharashtra. The Warkaris begin walking from their homes to the sanctuary of Pandharpur in gatherings called Dindi to reach on Aashadhi Ekadashi and Kartiki Ekadashi. A dip in the holy river of Chandrabhaga on whose banks Pandharpur lives is believed to wash away all the sins of the devotees. All the devotees are permitted to touch the feet of the idol of Vithoba.
  • Rokdoba Hanuman Mandir- It is a famous and popular temple that is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Pilgrims who visit the Khandoba Temple definitely pays a tribute to this shrine as well. It serves as a prominent sightseeing attraction and there is also a Lord Rama temple located nearby this temple. Although visitors throng the temple all around the year but it is during special occasions like Ram Navami and Dussera that the numbers go up. People stand in the queue to offer pooja and seek blessings of the Almighty. There are special poojas that are performed in this temple during that time. The temple remains open on all days in a week.

Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur

Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur

In our busy and hectic work schedules, traveling can be referred to as the breath of fresh air. Apart from some relaxation, we come to know about varied cultures and their traditions. And for people looking for some spiritual motivation, pilgrimage tours serve as the best option. There can be many reasons for people to opt for these kinds of tours. Apart from their love to explore new places, everyone likes to visit sites that are of spiritual importance or where miracles have taken place. There are many incidents which took place and have been vividly explained in spiritual epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. And people love to witness the era by visiting such locations. Another possible reason for making a plan for pilgrimage tours is to meet saintly people and observe the way of their living. The sages can actually help us by sharing their company, imparting spiritual knowledge and realizations. Pilgrimage or Darshan refers to a process of worshiping the Deity in the Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur in a spiritual state of communication by being ready to receive holy revelations.

In India, divinity and spirituality are present in every child as the people have strong faith in the supreme power and hence we try to find places of worship. And if one visits Maharashtra, then a visit to the famous Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is a must for all the travelers. It is a religious treat for devotees who wish to visit Tirupati Balaji but are unable to do so because of some reason.  This temple is situated at Ketkawale near Narayanpur. This is around 40-45 km from the city of Pune in Maharashtra.

Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur

History and Legend of Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur

  • The Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is a replica of the original Tirupati Temple located in the southern India.
  • From the idol to the wood work, Sanctorum, priests and even the laddu makers, everybody seems to pay respect to the actual abode of the Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala.
  • Since this temple is built during the contemporary times, this sacred place of worship does not have any history of the Chikka Tirupati Temple near Bangalore. It is located just off the Pune-Bangalore highway near Kapurhol.

Significance of the Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur

  • The Venkateshwara charitable trust had built the present shape of the temple from 1906 to 2003.
  • Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is built on 10 acres of land and is enclosed by Sahyadri hills. This temple is well maintained and is very clean.
  • The famous shrine was created by the V H Group at a cost of Indian National Rupees 27 Crores.
  • The entrance of the shrine is huge and it is beautifully crafted with stones.
  • There are images of Lord and extraordinary work painted on the top surface of the main temple.
  • A pilgrim needs to go barefoot in the temple premises. Additionally, photography and videography are strictly prohibited inside this holy place.
  • The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara and one can see a Hundi situated outside the shrine to contribute the money to different activities.
  • There are many smaller shrines located inside the temple area which is dedicated to various deities. These are very beautiful and are made out of either marble or black stones.
  • Vehicle parking is free and a token is provided to all the visitors who provide a token once you park your vehicle. And, due to strict security measures, people are not allowed to take any kind of luggage or bags inside the temple premises. However, for people carrying their luggage, there is a provision to store your bags as well.
  • Monsoon is the best time to visit this temple as both the drive will be comfortable and the even standing in the queue for darshan is also convenient.
  • The dining hall is located towards the back of the temple and one has to walk around 200 meters.  A typical Andhra meal is served to all the devotees. You take the plate and get the food served and sit on the carpets that are laid down. A meal of pachadi/chutney, kesari, kalanda sandam (Mixed Rice) like puliyotharai/vaangi bath, rice and gravy is served. One can also enjoy the meal with a second helping. The dining hall is also well maintained and is cleaned as when people move.

Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur Timings

  • Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur remains open for all tourists from 5 A.M. to 8 P.M.
  • It remains accessible on all days in a week.

Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur Food Timings

  • Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur offers free Prasad and meal for all the devotees.
  • Maha Prasad coupon is also available within the temple premises between 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.
  • Laddu is offered to the pilgrims who visit this temple.
  • A pilgrim can also offer Annadanam, sweets and Pongal to the Lord for a nominal amount.

Festivals celebrated at the Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur

  • Tamil New Year is observed with great decorations and pomp by the devotees. Pilgrims gather in the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings of the Almighty on this auspicious day. The crowd starts thronging the holy place since early morning.
  • Ram Navami and Deepavali are some of the popular festivals that are celebrated in this temple with great fervor.
  • Chitra Pournami, Vijaya Dashami, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Kanu Pongal and Gudi Padva are also observed by people of all ages inside the temple.

Poojas and Rituals at Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur

  • There are different kinds of pooja that are offered in this temple premises.
  • While Suprabhatam starts at 5 A.M, the morning pooja is performed between 6:30 A.M. to 8:15 P.M. The afternoon pooja starts at 10 A.M. and the evening rituals at 6 P.M. The Shuddhi or Ekantseva takes place at 8 P.M onwards.
  • On Fridays, there are special programs in the form of Abhishekam which takes place from 7:30 A.M. to 8 A.M. and Unjalseva that is organized from 5 P.M. to 5:45 P.M.
  • The daily Naivedyam is offered to the deity from 10:30 A.M. to 11:15 A.M.
  • The Saliampu – Netradarshan takes place on Thursdays between 9 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. And the Poolangi Seva is observed from 5 P.M. to 5:30 P.M.

How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Air- For visitors traveling by air, the Pune Airport is the nearest airport that is located near this temple. From buses to taxis and private cabs, there are different modes of transportation available from the airport in order to reach this famous shrine.
  • By Train- This famous place of worship is located at a distance of 42 km from the Pune Railway Station. One can look for buses or private cabs to reach the Prati Balaji Temple.
  • By Road- To reach Balaji temple from Pune, you need to take Pune-Solapur highway route and drive towards Solapur. Try not to take flyover, take the left street and reach Hadapsar Bus stand. And from there, one needs to travel a long way to reach the Saswad village. After moving ahead of the village, one can witness the lush green environment. This street will also take you to your destination, Balaji sanctuary.

One can also opt for the Mumbai-Bangalore expressway. When you cross the tunnel, you will come across Shindewadi and Khed Shivapur. After some travel, you will reach the Bhor-Saswad intersection. The sanctuary is only 4 km from this place. You can recognize the sanctuary on the left side. You have to go through a little street to achieve the spiritual destination.

Hotels in Maharashtra: Where to stay

The Prati Balaji Temple provides accommodation facilities for all their devotees. Apart from that, there are various lodging options for all the tourists who reside to stay as well. For people who are traveling alone, sharing rooms or renting a dormitory serves as a great alternative option. However, individuals who love some pampering can put up at high-end hotels too. From the luxurious spa to private lounges and international cuisines, there are loads of services that are available for clients to enjoy. Some even provide complimentary breakfasts to the tourists along with pickup and drop services. So, whatever be your choice, there’s always an option for every kind of traveler when one plans for accommodation. But it is always advisable to book your rooms in advance in order to avoid any last minute delay. And as the place gets crowded during monsoons, people traveling during that time should plan their visit in advance.

Where to eat

Maharashtrian cuisine is famous for its spicy content. Wheat, rice, jowar, fruits, and vegetables comprise mainly of their staple diet. Generally, Maharashtrian have considered their food to be more severe than that of different locales in India. In spite of the fact that, in view of financial conditions and culture, meat has been less used. However, all major restaurants offer both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. And if one would love to taste the international cuisine, there are many eateries that provide customized options as well. The eating joints also arrange for music on special days and occasions. Apart from the food, the ambiance of the hotels is also very good.

The food is competitively priced and hygiene is greatly considered in the preparation of the dishes. While Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Poha, and Upma serve as awesome breakfast options, the Thali is a complete meal with respect to lunch. Generally, rice, roti, vegetables, pickles, salad, dahi and dal comprises in a Thali. Kokum and Buttermilk are great drinks that people love to have after their meals.

Nearby Temples

  • Bhuleshwar- It is renowned for being a thirteenth-century sanctuary of Lord Shiva on top of a hill. The sanctuary is distinct with regard to its design. From outside it appears to more as a mosque than a sanctuary because of its similarity to Islamic design like circular tomb and minarets. Legend says that it was done like this so sanctuary is not destroyed by the invaders. Nonetheless, the carvings inside are marvelous and practically identical to one finds in Ajanta and Ellora yet many of them stands broken. There are portrayals of scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata on either side of the sanctuary like “Sita-Haran”, “Bharat-Milap” and so on.
  • Baneshwar- Baneshwar temple is arranged in a secured protected zone. It was very quiet and peaceful over there. The sanctuary complex has two tanks which have fish and turtles that are loved and fed by the visitors. There is a Shivling plunged in water where the devotees are said to dip coins. It is said that if the coin lands on the top of the Shivling, then it is a good sign. Beyond the sanctuary lies the recreation center with nursery, sitouts and so on where families can unwind and make merry. In addition, there is also a small bio diversity knowledge center that was well made.
  • Ek Mukhi Datta Mandir- This is a very famous temple for pilgrims visiting Pune. This temple is popular amongst the pilgrims and many people visit and pay a visit all around the year. A tree of “Audumbar” is present there and it is very old and consecutively worshiped by the devotees. There is also an old temple of Narayaneshwar. This temple has 3 sculptures which are very pretty and they are believed to have belonged to the ‘Yadav’ era. People throng to this temple to see the Padukas i.e. footwear of Lord Datta here. These were set in the sanctum by Lord Datta himself before he exited for Samadhi. Numerous devotees come to Narayanpur on the eve of Guruvar and Pournima occasions. The number increases rapidly in the event of Datta Jayanti which is celebrated with great pomp by the devotees who offer pooja to the Lord since early morning.

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad

Aurangabad district in Maharashtra State is a famous place with many tourist attractions and religious sites as well as temples. The Ajanta Caves are one of the most popular and most visited places in Aurangabad district with an extravagant monument. Having 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves that have existed since 2nd century, these caves are exquisite structure that includes sculptures and paintings. They are a great example of the richness of Indian art and painting. These caves are also masterpiece of the Buddhist religious art and have figures of Buddha and depictions of mythological Jataka tales. The architecture of the Ajanta caves is worth witnessing and the caves are cut in the side of a large cliff which is the south side of U-shaped gorge on the river Waghur. They are along the modern pathway that runs across the cliff and were originally reached by the individual ladders from side of river 10–35 m below. The Ajanta caves have been built extravagantly in two phases and the construction started by the 2nd century BCE. The second group of these caves was built in 400–650 BCE. This is a protected monument and is cared by the Archaeological Survey of India. The site has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ajanta caves

History and Legend of Ajanta Caves

  • This region was previously forested heavily and the caves were hidden in the heavy forests that were later discovered by a British officer in 1819. The buildings are Buddhist monastic that represent many monasteries. These caves have been numbered from 1 to 28 and some of these are unfinished but some have been barely begun. Many of these caves were hidden under the rubble and round the gorge, there are numerous waterfalls and these are audible when the river is high that are audible from outside these caves.
  • These caves have the best of the early Indian wall-paintings and there are not many such survivals from areas of the modern Indian region and they are believed to be related to approx. 5th century paintings in the Sigiriya region in Sri Lanka. Ajanta Caves have elaborated architectural carvings that are considered rare.
  • A little after being rediscovered, the caves became famous due to their exotic setting and the impressive architecture and also due to the unique paintings. These caves were originally in the territory of princely state of Nizam of Hyderabad and Ghulam Yazdani who was the founder of the archaeology department of Hyderabad State in 1914 had played a major role to conserve and research this site. He had also published series of monographs on the caves. This site was considered adventurous till the Nizam’s government had built a modern path in between these caves among the many other efforts that had been made in order to make the site an easy visit.

Significance of the site and the Ajanta Caves

  • The site boasts of the best mural paintings in the country that have survived from earlier and later caves. The paintings also include court-led paintings that are well preserved. Some of the later paintings also concentrate on the Jataka tales that show the previous lives of Buddha as king. These paintings have since deteriorated significantly and a majority of these caves are the vihara halls that were used for prayer and also for living. Such caves are also called as monasteries. There are also some other plainer rooms that were used for sleeping and also for other activities.
  • The earlier caves have been built on eastern end of these horse-shoe shaped regions, and now the caves are in less prominent position. Ajanta Caves have been fully inaugurated that are important for the worship by the devotees of Lord Buddha that has an image in central shrine. The cliff of the first cave has steeper slope than other caves and this provides it a tall and a grand facade. Some caves only have left remains as the fine carving have been carelessly thrown down into the slope into the river but some have still been lost and they may have been presumably carried away in the monsoon torrents.
  • The carvings on the cave are surfaces embellishments and have scenes from life of Buddha along with decorative motifs. There also is a two pillared portico and the cave also has a front-court along with porch that has simple cells on its both ends. Most areas of these porches had been once covered with the murals and some fragments remain on the ceiling of the cave. On the rear wall to the house, a shrine has been carved with an impressive and elaborate seated image of Buddha and his hands have been made in dharmachakrapravartana mudra.
  • The temple has four cells that are located on all the walls and these have paintings that are in fair state in terms of preservation. The paintings depict mainly didactic, ornamental, and devotional scenes that are from Jataka stories that date back to Buddha’s former existence when he was a bodhisattva. The paintings have depicted life of Gautama Buddha and also of his veneration. The caves have two famous individually painted images and also life size figures of bodhisattvas that are Padmapani and Vajrapani that are placed on either side of entrance to Buddha shrine.
  • The paintings are on every surface of these caves except the floor but the art work has eroded in some places due to decay and also due to human interference. Many areas thus are painted walls, pillars, ceilings that are fragmentary. The narratives of the paintings are mostly based on the Jataka tales that are depicted on the walls. The paintings inform the community mainly of the teachings of the Buddha and of his life through the successive rebirths.
  • Some of the caves have also been saved from volcanic eruptions and thus still contain some major volcanic remains that also increase the attraction and significance of the site. This is today the most popular and most visited tourist destination in the Maharashtra state and is extremely crowded at the time of holiday. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation had in 2012 announced their plans to add this site to ASI visitor centre. They are also trying to get a better idea of these paintings and decipher them.

Ajanta Caves Timings

Ajanta Caves are open on all days except Tuesday and are open till sunset. The entry fees per person is Rs. 10/- and Rs 25./- are charged for clicking pictures and videography inside the caves.

How to reach by Rail Road and Air

Aurangabad is one of the most popular tourist hubs and thus has many visitors especially in the holiday season. The past glory and heritage of this city are the main attractions of Aurangabad. The Ajanta and Ellora caves are a major tourist attraction of the city and these caves are recognized as world heritage by UNESCO. Some other places to visit are the spectacular Mughal monuments, Bibi ka Maqbara and many other sites are extremely enjoyable in the city.

The caves also have a dedicated archaeological museum that is also a well noted tourist spot in the city. This place also has many historical and cultural places. The city has many ways to be reached and can be reached through multiple means of transport. Aurangabad is well connected by all major means like air, rail and road as per the tourist’s convenience. The city’s airport connects to all major cities and traveling to this city through air can be a very comfortable option while one can also travel by rail to the city.

By Air: Aurangabad has regular flights from all other major cities of the country and the major airport is the Chikkalthana Airport.

By Rail: Aurangabad is also well connected to all other major cities of India via regular trains. The major stations are Aurangabad, Rotegaon, Chikalthan, Mukundwadi Halt.

By Bus: One can get regular buses to the Aurangabad city from all other major cities of the country. The major bus station is Aurangabad.

The city is well connected and has efficient connectivity by all means of transport to various cities. There are a number of buses connecting Aurangabad to other cities and the journey is a comfortable one.

Hotels in Aurangabad

There are many 3, 4, and 5-Star hotels in Aurangabad that are extremely comfortable and have great services. The major hotels in the city include Hotel Atithi, Lemon Tree Hotel Aurangabad, VITS Hotel, Green Olive, Vivanta by Taj Hotel Oberoi and J P International. All the above hotels are extremely spacious and comfortable with all facilities. The tourists visit Ajanta caves and museums mostly in the holiday season and that is when the hotels are jam packed.

Nearby Attractions and Temples

The major attractions of the city of Aurangabad apart from the Ajanta and Ellora Caves are as follows:

Bibi Ka Maqbara: The place is situated about 3kms from the main city and is the resting place of Aurangzeb’s wife, Rabia-ud-Durrani. This place is an imitation of Taj Mahal, Agra. The burial site or the Maqbara is situated in middle of spacious Mughal garden that has axial ponds and fountains along with broad pathways and clean pavilions.

Panchakki: The 17th century water mill is situated at distance of about 1km from city. The water mill is famous for the vast underground water channel that traverses about 8kms. The mesmerizing artificial waterfall and beautiful water fountains increase the beauty of the place and thus is one of the most visited sites of the city.

Gates in Aurangabad: The most interesting place to visit in the city is the 52 ‘gates’; they have a local history and are visited most often. The historical gates increase the legend of the place and thus are one of the most visited sites of the city.

Naukhanda palace: Built by Malik Ambar, the massive portal gateway is a grand palace in the city with nine apartments. The interior buildings have five zananas, a Divan-i-Aam, a Divan-i-Khas, a masjid and a kacheri and each of this is provided with a garden and also with a cistern.

Salim Ali Lake & Bird Sanctuary: The Salim Ali Sarovar which is popularly known as the Salim Ali Talab, is a major place of interest that is located near Delhi Gate right opposite the Himayat Bagh in Aurangabad. The site is located in northern part of the city and was known as the Khiziri Talab during Mughal Period. The place was renamed after the well known ornithologist and naturalist Salim Ali. The site also has a bird sanctuary and also a garden that is well maintained by the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation.

Aurangabad Caves: The caves are situated at a distance of 5kms, and are nestled amidst the hills. These 12 Buddhist caves date back to 3 A.D. and are of particular interest as there are Tantric influences that are evident in the iconography and also in the architectural designs of these caves. The caves also offer a panoramic view of the whole city as well as of the imposing Maqbara.

Aurangabad has always been held as a town of great importance due to the history and legend associated with it. The popular tourist destination in the country has a lot to offer to the visitors. The town holds major significance in terms of history as well as mythology and is an important Buddhist site. The place has a lot to offer to the tourists and they back a lot in term of spiritualism as well as heritage and thus they keep coming back to experience the utmost enjoyment.

Morgaon Ganpati

Morgaon Ganpati Mandir

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. Hindus are a majority among the religions and Lord Ganesha is the most loved and admired God among the devotees. 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 said to be 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. One will be amazed to know that the Almighty’s head is believed to be 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.

Morgaon Ganpati

History and Legend of Morgaon Ganpati

  • As per the historical records, there was a prominent Ganapatya saint named Morya Gosavi who used to worship at the Morgaon Ganesha temple before relocating to Chinchwad where 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 was 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.
  • The original image of the Lord was built out of precious metal and was installed by the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma. It was later that the Pandava princes installed a copper image during the course of their pilgrimage.
  • There is another legend stating that as this place was populated by peacocks giving the place its Marathi name, Morgaon or the Village of Peacocks. The presiding God was named as 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. It was then Lord Ganesha appeared before them in the form of an Omkara flame and blessed them.

Significance of Morgaon Ganpati Temple

  • The sacred place of worship is enclosed by a huge stone boundary wall 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 is located facing in 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 is positioned facing 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

  • Morgaon Ganpati temple opens at 5 A.M. and closes at 10 P.M.
  • Morgaon Ganpati temple 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. Annadana fund is also accepted in this temple.
  • The devotees are offered Cashew nuts and Groundnut Laddus as Prasad.

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.
  • Ganesh Chaturthi is another huge festival that is celebrated with great pomp. Every year people from distant places gather in this place to offer prayers and seek blessings from the Almighty. It is celebrated 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.
  • Vijayadasami is also observed with great fervor by the devotees.
  • Some other festivals that are observed in this temple include Shukla Chaturthi, Krishna Chaturthi, and Somavati Amavasya.

Poojas and Rituals at Morgaon Ganpati

  • Lord Ganesha is worshiped with great dedication in this temple. The God gets awake at 5 A.M. and the divine cleansing pooja is performed. This is followed by 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 Aarti of the Avarana Deities is offered to the God at 8 P.M. and the Maha Aarti takes place at 8:30 P.M. The final aarti is performed at 10 P.M.
  • A ritual called as Abhyanga Snana is performed every Saturday after the aarti at night.
  • Special pooja is also performed on special occasions like Sankasta Chaturthi at the rise of the Moon.
  • Alamkara pooja is a special ritual where devotees offer Apati leaves to the Lord on Vijaya Dashami.

How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By 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.
  • By 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.
  • By Road– This place is well connected by roads from Pune as well. There are special buses called as Astha Vinayak darshan which takes tourists to all the eight temples. It is run by Government of Maharashtra and also by private operators.

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: 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, 87 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak
  • 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, 160km from the Girijatmaj 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, 180 km from the Girijatmaj 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, 146 km from the Girijatmaj
  • 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, 110 km from the Girijatmaj 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, 87 km from the Girijatmaj
  • 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 Mahaganapati Temple is located at Ranjangaon, 86 km from the Girijatmaj.

Nearby Temples

  • Shree Khandoba Temple- Khandoba, otherwise called Khanderao, Khanderaya, Malhari Martand and Mallu Khan is a local Hindu God who is worshiped as Martanda Bhairava, a form of Shiva, primarily in the Indian Deccan Plateau. The Lord is depicted either as a Lingam or as a picture riding a bull. The preeminent focal point of Khandoba love is Jejuri in Maharashtra. The legends of Khandoba found in the text Malhari Mahatmya furthermore described in folk songs, revolve around his triumph over evil spirits Mani-malla and his marriages.
  • Rokdoba Hanuman Temple- This is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is a symbol of strength and dedication towards one’s Lord. People come here to seek blessings and offer prayers. Besides, there is also another temple built nearby the Hanuman temple. This is devoted to Lord Ram, who was the Guru of Hanuman.
  • Baleshwar Mandir- This famous temple was built by the rulers of the Chand dynasty. It is a beautiful specimen of stone carving and architecture. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is also called as Baleshwar. There are two different sanctuaries in the compound of Baleshwar, one committed to Ratneshwar and other to Champawati Durga. One can also find a fresh water resource situated close to the temple premises.
  • 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. The Goddess of Jejuri is worshiped with intense dedication by the locals. There are a large number of pilgrims who visits this pious shrine on a daily basis.
  • Om Shree Datt Mandir- The deity of this temple involves the trinity of Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. They are collectively called as Trimurti by the devotees. The term ‘Dattatreya’ can be split into two parts, namely, ‘Datta’ meaning given and ‘Atreya’ pointing towards the sage Atri, his physical father. It is said that around 100 years ago, one pious lady in the Pune city Late Smt. Laxmibai Dagdu Halwai had installed a Datta Temple as per the advice of her Guru viz. Shri Madhavnath of Indore, who was a great devotee of Lord Gurudatta.

Siddhatek Ganpati

Siddhatek Ganpati Mandir

Hindu mythology dates back to several centuries where Lord Ganesh is worshiped before the start of any puja. Although there are many Ganesh temples located in and around various corners of the nation, the Siddhatek Ganpati Mandir makes way for special significance. Being one of the ‘Ashtavinayaka’ temples in Maharashtra, the Siddhatek Ganpati of Siddhatek is located close to the Daund railway station. This famous holy shrine stands supreme on a hillock being surrounded by dense forests of Babul trees. It is considered to be a sacred tourist destination for pilgrims all around the world.

Siddhatek Ganpati

History and Legend of Siddhatek Ganpati

  • The auspicious shrine is said to have been built by Lord Vishnu. It was later destroyed over time and a cowherd had a vision of this temple who ultimately found the icon of Siddhi Vinayaka. From then on, the cowherd began worshipping the deity and people came to know about this shrine.
  • Siddhatek Ganpati temple in its present form was built by Ahilyabai Holkar, the Philosopher Queen of Indore. Sardar Haripant Phadke was the commander in chief and an official of the Peshwa rulers. He had built the Nagarkhana or the chamber which is the home to Nagaras and a paved road leading to the main door of the temple. He was given this post after worshipping the deity for 21 days and daily circling the temple 21 times.
  • The Ganapatya, a particular sect of people that worships Ganesha as the Supreme Almighty, Saint Morya Gosavi, and Narayan Maharaj are depicted as having worshipped at the temple where they attained siddhi.
  • As per the legends, the ‘Mudgala Purana’ describes the events relating to the beginning of the Creation. Lord Brahma is said to have been emerged from the lotus that rises from Lord Vishnu’s navel. While creating the universe, Vishnu was in his yoganidra and two demons rise from the dirt in his ear. The demons, namely, Madhu and Kaitabha disturb the process of creation which made Lord Vishnu to rise from his sleep. Vishnu was unable to defeat them and asks Lord Shiva for help. Shiva points to him that he has forgotten to invoke Lord Ganesha before the fight. Consecutively, Vishnu performs penance at Siddhatek and invokes the God of beginning and obstacle removal. Ganesha being pleased defeated all the demons and it is in this place that Vishnu acquired siddhi and the place was named Siddhatek.

Significance of the Siddhatek Ganpati

  • Siddhatek Ganpati is built along the river Bhima and is located in Karjat taluka of Ahmednagar district.
  • The Ganesha idol is seen here with his trunk to the right side and is named as Siddhi Vinayaka. Usually, the trunk is seen on the left side and it is believed that the right trunked Ganesha is very powerful and also hard to please.
  • This is the only Ashtavinayaka shrine that has the trunk of the deity to the right side.
  • This holy place of worship is also considered as Jagrut Kshetra by the natives.
  • The temple is made of black stones and is located facing the north direction.
  • The Garbhagriha or the sanctum is 15ft in height and 10 ft in width. It has Jaya-Vijaya, the gatekeepers of Vishnu’s abode adjoining the main idol of Siddhivinayaka.
  • The temple has a dome-shaped ceiling and the deity and the Ganesha image is believed to be self-existent. This is a natural icon in the form of an elephant.
  • Devotees can see the icon seated cross-legged with his consort siddhi located nearby. The Almighty remains covered with flower garlands and sindoor paste.
  • The idol is covered with brass with the trunk turned towards the right direction.
  • The sanctum also has a Shiva-panchayatana along with a shrine dedicated to Goddess Shivai.

Siddhatek Ganpati Mandir Timings

  • Siddhatek Ganpati remains open from 4 A.M. to 9:15 P.M.
  • Siddhatek Ganpati remains closed from 12:30 P.M. to 2 P.M.

Siddhatek Ganpati Mandir Food Timings

  • Siddhatek Ganpati deity is offered khichdi in the morning at 10 A.M.
  • Mahabhog is also presented before the God at 12:30 P.M. It is then distributed among the devotees who visit the temple.

Festivals celebrated at Siddhatek Ganpati

  • There are many festivals that are observed in this temple premises. Thousands of pilgrims visit the shrine to take part in the sacred festivities. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival is observed with great pomp from the first to the fifth day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival is observed on the fourth day herewith.
  • Another important festival that draws visitors from all across India can be referred to the Ganesh Jayanti festival. It is another popular occasion that celebrates the birthday of Ganesha on the fourth day of the Hindu month of Magha. Pilgrims observe this festival from first to the fifth day of this month. The Palki of Ganesha is also taken for three continuous days during this occasion.
  • Among numerous festivals that are celebrated in this pious shrine, a festival and a fair is also organized on Vijayadasami and Somavati Amavasya, a no-moon day that falls on a Monday.

Poojas and Rituals at Siddhatek Ganpati

  • There is a definite way of worshipping the deity on a regular basis. The rituals start as early as 4:30 A.M. with Saharan Puja. Then the idol is bathed and decorated with fresh flowers and incense sticks.
  • This is followed by an offering of khichdi made to the deity at 10 A.M.
  • Another puja called as Panchamriti is presented to the Almighty at 11 A.M.
  • The most important meal if the day in the form of Mahabhog is offered to the God at 12:30 P.M.
  • There is another puja that is performed post sunset and the Dhooparti are finally completed at 8:30 P.M.
  • There can be additional puja and time of the rituals might be changed on special occasions and festivities.

How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Air– The nearest airport to reach this famous temple is Pune Lohegaon Airport. This is located at a distance of 10 km from Pune. All major domestic airlines fly to this place.
  • By Train- A traveler can also pave the way for traveling through train services as well. Daund Junction Railway Station is located at only 18 km away on the Pune-Sholapur line is a major halt for long distance passenger trains.
  • By Road– There are many public and private bus services available from Daund and Pune to reach this village called Shirapur. It is only a kilometer away from Siddhatek. There are boat services to reach this auspicious place of worship. There is also an alternate route comprising of 48 km from Daund-Kashti-Pedgoan. There are also many buses that travel from Pune directly to Siddhatek during the morning.

Hotels in Maharashtra: Where to stay

There are many budgets as well as luxurious hotels available for rent during your visit to this sacred place of worship. You can choose the place of accommodation as per to your needs. For example, if you are a single traveler and looking to save up on your budget, then dormitories or sharing rooms are a great alternative. For people traveling with families, there are double, triple and four beds available for rent. Irrespective of the size of your room, all modern amenities are available in the hotels. From private balconies to basic electronic gadgets and free internet, the hotel staff is dedicated to providing all sorts of comfort to meet the requirements of a modern day traveler. The prices of the rooms depend on the kind of room one chooses to stay. On an average, the hotels provide a good discount if one books the rooms in advance. They also offer free pickup and drop services from the airport and the railway stations as well. Some lodging providers also offer complimentary breakfast options to their clients.

For people looking to stay at Siddhatek, prior booking is a must. It is hard to find a place to stay at this place in the last minute. One can call the temple priest, Shree Gajanan Purohit to make prior arrangements near the temple. The price charged is very moderate so that every traveler finds it budget friendly.

Where to eat

Maharashtra offers an array of exotic dishes for tourists who visit this place with their near and dear ones. The state generally offers spicy food but one can ask the chef to customize it as per their needs. There are many good eating joints that provide both traditional and international cuisines at a competitive price range. From Thai to Mexican to Italian and Chinese, there is a wide spread for food lovers to choose from. For people looking to experiment with traditional Indian dishes, a Thali fulfills the purpose. It is a complete meal comprising of vegetables, rice, dal, roti, curd, salad and pickle. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are available for tourists.

In addition, the people of Siddhatek are very friendly and cordial in nature. One can try the conventional jhunka-bhakri meal by paying a small amount to the natives.

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 Moregaon, 160 km from the Girijatmaj 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, 87 km from the Vighneswar Vinayak.
  • 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, 180 km from the Girijatmaj 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, 146 km from the Girijatmaj
  • 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, 110 km from the Girijatmaj 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, 87 km from the Girijatmaj
  • 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 Mahaganapati Temple is located at Ranjangaon, 86 km from the Girijatmaj.

Nearby Temples

  • Vishal Ganpati Mandir- This temple as the name suggests is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It is a 100-year-old temple made up of white marble. It presents a spectacular sight and the idol is red in color. The Ganesha is found in sitting posture and has a Shivalinga coiled by a snake that originates from the navel. There are many tourists who never leave the Ahmednagar city without paying a visit to this temple.
  • Shani Temple- This is another popular shrine located in Shingnapur village which is 35 km away from the Ahmednagar city. This is famous and unique owing to its legendary stories and distinct features. One of the unique things about this temple is that there is no idol present in the temple. Only a black stone is erected on a beautiful platform. The native’s belief that this stone has extraordinary powers which protect the village from all sorts of evil.
  • Shirdi Sai Baba TempleThis is another famous tourist destination that needs no introduction. Being located only at a distance of 80 km from Ahmednagar, thousands of devotees throng to this place every day. Shirdi Sai Baba was a famous saint who was widely considered as the reincarnation of God by the pilgrims. And as the name suggests, this temple is located in Shirdi itself.
  • Renuka Temple- The famous Renuka Temple is only 3 km away from the Ahmednagar Railway Station. This shrine is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is counted among few of the temples that enjoy huge adulation and respect among the local people. As it is a Devi temple, the Navaratri festival is observed with lots of fervor. During this sacred festival, many devotees gather in the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings of the Goddess.
  • Siddheshwar Temple- Being located 40 km from the Ahmednagar city, this beautiful temple has both a grand architecture along with a natural atmosphere. This popular shrine, in fact, needs no introduction among both the devotees and the tourists visiting this holy place. It is dedicated to Lord Siddheshwar and is additionally very famous among the Lingayat community from the southern state of Karnataka.

Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir

Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir: Confluence of Scenic Beauty and Devotion

Matheran is a famous hill station in the district of Raigad in the town of Karjat. It is the smallest hill station in India that attracts lakhs of tourists every year. Matheran is a beautiful tourist destination that attracts many tourists to visit it. The beautiful old british style architecture is preserved in Matheran. For those who want to savor the delights of this scenic beauty, the 38 peaks offer the best views of the hill station. There are indeed many view points in Matheran which will give the panoramic view of the plains below. It offers stunning views of the Sahyadri ranges  and an amazing view of the lights of Mumbai. The various tourist attractions in this place are worth paying for the one who loves the nature beauty. Till date Matheran has maintained and retained the 19th Century colonial ambience. One of the oldest temples located in the hill station of Matheran in the state of Maharashtra in Western India is the Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir. It is one of the few places where there is a presence of Swayambhu Linga which means that it is not build by anybody. The main deity of this temple is Pisharnath who is the village deity. Due to this, the temple is of great significance for the people. The Lingam appears to the devotees as the shape of “L” and it is largely covered with sindhoor. As a result of natural phenomena the stones or the ice forms itself into the shape of Shiva Linga. This temple is located at a height of about 2625 feet above the sea level and is the only hill station in Asia that is free of automobiles. It is located on the banks of a lake which is now known as ‘Charlotte’.

Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir

History and Legend of Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir

  • The shivling in the Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir dates back to such a long time that nobody knows how old it is. Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir  itself is in a dense forested area and the location of the temple is very old. The lingam of Shiva here is considered to the family deity of the folks in the village and they come here to offer prayers at times of all ceremonies and functions.
  • The three main powers which are worshipped by Hindus as their Trimurthis and the most important of these Trimurthis is lord Shiva or Mahadev that is considered to be biggest of all Devs. The most common form of Shiva that is found is most temples is the Linga and there are a few places where there is the presence of the Swayambu Linga. The Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir is one such Swayambu Linga and so this becomes a significant place.
  • During the British era, this hill station was a place for the colonial rulers to escape the hot and humid weather. It was a beautiful escape from the city life. The local railway station for which is built by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy in 1907 is one of the main attractions of this hill station.

Significance of the Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir

  • Like many Hindu temples, Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir is not constructed with distinctively identifiable features like spires and towers. Besides, the temple is a small red building made out of wood and brick and has a tin roof above it that is built at two different levels. The four walls of the temple are set with windows extending from one end of the wall to the other, and the main entry is gated with a massive thick wooden door. It is believed that devotees can attain iha-para saukhyamsor joys of the mortal and immortal world by praying at this temple. It has great significance among the pilgrims and devotees.
  • The villagers here still follow a culture and they believe that this Shiv Ling is what protects them from all of the trouble and guards them through the day and the night. There is a strong belief about the bad forces that haunt these woods and so, the importance of the shrine becomes multifold as the people come here to pray for their safety from these forces.
  • The temple is set in a beautiful place and gives peace to the visitors in its silent beauty. The scenic surroundings of the temple only helps to amplify the spiritual purity of the place. It offers not only religious and spiritual enrichment but also an unparalleled scenic beauty and gives a great peace of mind.

Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir Timings

The timings of the temple are for 6.00 AM to 12.30 PM and 4.00PM to 9.30PM for the devotees.One of the best time to visit this temple is from September to November and February to March.

Festivals celebrated at the Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir

MahaShivaratri:

Mahashivratri is celebrated on a grand scale here. It is the hindu festival of India celebrated annually in reverence of the God Shiva. Number of devotees come to visit the temple. It is believed that Lord Shiva goes to meet Lord Rama in the Rama Temple and there is a procession through the market of the hill station.

Ram Navami:

It is celebrated with Lord Rama visiting Lord Shiv in the Temple, again with a procession and celebrations throughout the market. Both those days are of major importance with the localites and the procession of the Gods are done in Palkhis!

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

By Air : Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International airport, which is 187 km away from Raigad, is the nearest airport. All the major airlines have service from Mumbai to all major cities in India and many cities abroad including Singapore, Hong Kong, Colombo and gulf countries. Taxis are available from Mumbai to Raigad and costs about Rs 3,000.

By Train : Vir Dasgaon railway station is the nearest railhead to Raigad. This station is connected to Mumbai and Pune with regular trains. Taxi services are available from Vir Dasgaon to Raigad. A Journey by the railways is recommended as it gives the visitors an opportunity to see the beautiful scenery along the way. Moreover, toy trains plying between Neral and Matheran will drop you at the Matheran railway station itself that gives the visitors an experience of a beautiful journey followed by an arrival at a historical landmark.

By Road:  Taxis are another way to get around town. They can be hired from nearby cities and used for local transport as well. Taxis charge around Rs 1500 per day.  A/C taxis and SUV’s such as Toyota Qualis are also available. State transport offer bus regular and frequent services from Mumbai and Pune to Raigad. Raigad is well connected to all neighboring cities by the public transport buses, including Kolhapur (250 km), Pune (102 km), Mumbai (187 km) and Mahabaleshwar (75 km). Public bus charge is less than Rs 4 per km. If you choose to go by car, Matheran is a short hundred kilometre drive from Mumbai. You can leave your car at Dasturi point and take a pony or a hand pulled rickshaw till the main market place from here.

Local Transport: There is a toy train that takes you to the hill station, then there are hand rickshaws that will take passengers up the hill. The best thing to do would be to trek up Matheran and then visit the temple.

Hotels in Matheran: Where to stay

There are many good hotel in Matheran where one can stay. Starting with all prices.

Where to eat

There are various hotels around that offers a wide variety of food, for vegetarians as well as non vegetarians. There are also small market places besides the road. Chikki of matheran is very famous, which is a confection made of gram flour, jaggery and cashew nut. Nariman Chikki Mart located near the railway station in Matheran, is by far the most popular. For the snacks purpose there is Mumbai’s most famous Vada Pav and other foods like Misal, Usal and Jalebi. Food here is the mixture of Maharashtrian and Gujarati dishes. So there are many restaurants in Matheran that will offer the pure Vegetarian meal.

If you want to try the Gujarati thali than Hotel Gujarat Bhavan and Hotel Regal are the best places to go. Hotel Laxmi also offers the traditional Gujarati food but it is less spicy. Besides there are other restaurants Garden View restaurant, Dilawar Bakery that offers you an amazing bakery stuff, Tree Top Restaurant, Deepak Restaurant and many more.

Nearby Temples

Ambarnath Temple: This temple is located on Mumbai-Pune railway line at Akoli. The ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is believed to have been constructed during 1060. The shrine of Ambarnath is believed to have been built by King Mahamandaleshwar. It is among the revered shrines of the region.

Ram Mandir: The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is visited by devotees from different places. The shrine is bounded by the famous market road where one can obtain various accessories and is popular visiting spot.

Shiv Mandir: This temple was built in 1893 by Shri Jagmohandas Samuldas, a Kapol vanik. Mahashivratri  vastly celebrated throughout Matheran, where the Lord Shiva goes to meet Lord Rama in the Rama Temple and there is a procession through the market of the hill station.

Shivaji’s Ladder: Shivaji’s Ladder and its steps look like a ladder and goes down from One Tree hill point to the Matheran valley. It is said that the Chathrapathi Shivaji Maharaj was using the place as a way for his pleasure trips and hunting options in the Matheran hills. It was rediscovered in 1850 by Hugh Mallet the then collector of Thane District under British rule.

Prabal Fort: The historical fort was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from Mughal. It is Located on top of Prabal Hills at 2325 feet above sea level, the fort is located 8 km from Panvel. The fort had two gateways and eleven towers in the fortifications and in the year 1818, the gateways were destroyed in the fights.

Other Tourist attractions include

Charlotte Lake: Also known as Sharlott Lake, Charlotte Lake is the prime source of drinking water to Matheran and was built in 1956. The picturesque lake is nested in lusting greenery and attracts many visitors during monsoon.

Alexander Point: It is Located near post office, other 2-3 points, Towers of Bhivpuri Power House, Karjat Palasdari Lake, Borgaon Village are visible.

Echo Point: Echo Point is the central point of the Matheran and most popular among other points. The point offers a panoramic view of the hill station. Echo point is known for echo of screams and yells can be heard from here.

Panthers Caves (Waghachi Gufa): Panthers caves is group of thirty rock caves. Some of these natural caves are dry and some little bit muddy. It is said that a tiger used to live in these caves. The natural formation of the caves attracts many tourists for exploring the unique entity.

Morbe Dam: The dam is built by Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaranon Dhavari River near Khalapur, Raigad district. Morbe Dam is located around 30 km Matheran and popular for weekend picnic from Mumbai and Pune.

Toy Train: Toy train is essentially the travel attraction of Matheran. Moving through the scenic beauty gives a very and calming experience to the visitors.

One Tree Hill Point: Located on Shivaji road within 3 km from post office. A tent Hill, Chowk Village, Mumbai-Pune Highway and Panvel City are visible from here.

The other tourist attraction includes the Louisa Point, Panorama Point, Monkey Point, Garbut Point, King George Point, Mount Berry, Khandala Point and many other.

Rameshwar Mandir

Rameshwar Mandir: Beautiful Temple of Three Kunds

Rameshwar Mandir is a temple located in Chaul, Maharashtra. It is a very ancient temple of Lord Shiva. The Chaul region is known for its temples. A black sand beach, Revdanda lies about halfway between Nagaon and Kashid. Half of the small town lies in an old Portuguese fort. The village is famous for aromatic flowers known as the ‘Bakuli’. Rice is a major source of livelihood for the local inhabitants, apart from the trees and fishes. There are 365 temples in Chaul, equal to the number of days in a year. Chaul is about 15 Kms from Alibag, and the drive takes us through the picturesque villages of Akshi and Nagaon. There are three prominent temples in Chaul – the Rameshwar Mandir, Datta Mandir and the Hingulja Devi Mandir.

Rameshwar Mandir

History and Legend of Rameshwar Mandir

  • According to lore, the Rameshwar Temple was supposed to have been built in a day by the Pandavas, but they were unable to complete it. Centuries later, Kanhoji Angre (Maratha navy admiral, 1698-1729) completed the work. It is a must to look out for the elaborate samadhi (entombment) behind the temple. Locals are of the faith that it is a memorial to one of the Angres.
  • There were historians who believe that the temple has been built in the Hemadpant style of architecture an architectural style introduced by Hemadpant, the prime minister of the court of Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri. This style of architecture incorporates the use of locally procured black stone and lime and came into use in the thirteen century A.D.
  • Chaul has been populated since 300 B.C., its golden age traversing the reign of the Satavahanas from 2 B.C. to 3 A.D. The Portuguese built the Revdanda Fort in 1524 here and girded it later. Chaul was five times the size it is today.

Significance of the Rameshwar Mandir Temple

  • There are a number of shrines within easy reach of the Rameshwar Mandir. In Revdanda there is another temple the Datta Mandir. The Datta Mandir is located in the Chaul region of Revdanda and is built atop a hill. It is dedicated to “Datta” or the Lord worshipped by the Maharashtrian people.
  • In village the Shitala Devi Mandir is also a worth visiting shrine. The locals believe that goddess “Shitla” protects the village from all problems and calamities. Locals refer to the goddess as ‘AAI’.
  • The main attraction of the Rameshwar Temple are the three kunds.
  • The Mandir has three tanks : parjanya kund, agni kund, and wayu kund, representing three elements of nature – Rain, fire, and air.
  • The temple is a perfect place for tourists to spend time as it is built on a vast land comprising of a prayer hall, sanctum sanctorum and 7.62 meter high summit shaped dome.
  • Rameshwar temple is a typical simple coastal temple that is high on character and history. This temple is a wonderful place to spend some relaxing time and to meditate. The temple complex spreads over a huge piece of land and comprises of a large prayer hall.

Rules to follow at Rameshwar Mandir

The visitors are required to be dress appropriately, as it is a place of worship. Devotees should follow the decorum and not spoil the serene and pure atmosphere of the area.

Festivals celebrated at the Rameshwar Mandir

Pola: Pola is a festival related to bull-worshiping and celebrated by farmers generally in Maharashtra state in India. Pola comes in Shravana month on Pithori Amavasya day which is also called the new moon day. This is mainly celebrated in Vidharbha region. This is the special day for farmers. On this occasion, the farmers’ first give bath to their bullocks, decorate them with ornaments and worships them. It is called Pola because the demon Polasur was killed by Lord Krishna when he attacked Krishna as a child. This is also why children are given special treatment on this day.  Among the smaller villages located near the outskirts of Alibag, small processions appear with paraded cattle. The procession includes a heavy use of bugles and drums. The traditional dish prepared on this day is called Puran Poli.

Nag Panchami: The Nag Panchami or festival of snakes is celebrated on the fifth day of the moonlit fortnight in the month of Shravan. During the festival people bathe the snakes with milk ensuring their families freedom from danger of snakes.There is yet another legend which relates to the victory of Lord Krishna over the Kaliya snake. The same is remembered and celebrated this day. According to myth, ploughing a field is forbidden on this day. Devotees offer milk and honey to the Snake God, Shesh Nag and seek the blessings of the God. People visit temples, and the streets are lined with stalls offering all sorts of religious souvenirs. It is a tradition among women to apply mehendi, designs applied with herbal paints, on their hands.

Ganesh Chaturthi: Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. As per Hindu mythology Lord Ganesh is considered as “Vigana Harta” (one who removes obstacles) and “Buddhi Pradaayaka” (one who grants intelligence).  Celebrated in the month of August or September, this festival goes on for 10 days and envelops the whole of town in a festive vigour.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

By Air: The closest airport to the Rameshwar Mandir in Revdanda is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Int. Airport, which is about 60Km away. The Lohegaon Airport is about 104.2Km away.

By Train: The station of Pen is the closest railway station to Chaul which is 46 km away from Chaul. The nearest railway station to the Rameshwar Mandir in Revdanda is the Mumbai Central Railway Station. It is about 2 hours away from Revdanda.

By Road: Chaul is well connected via road network with other cities of Maharashtra. And you can use private vehicles. The best way to reach Revdanda is by road. Revdanda is on the same road as Alibaug. Alternatively tourists can also take a ferry service and get off at Mandwa Jetty and take a bus or an auto rickshaw from there to Revdanda.

By Sea: One can reach through the Gateway of India by catamaran to Mandva jetty then  Alibag and finally reach Revdanda.

Hotels in Rameshwar: Where to stay

Accommodation facilities are available in Revdanda. There are a few guest houses in the village. Alibaug not far from Revdanda presents a lot of exciting resorts and hotels where tourists generally put up. The Rameshwar Mandir is not very far from Mumbai. Tourists can have a wide range of selection of accommodation in Mumbai. The temple can be reached within about 2 hours from Mumbai.

  • Kumarwadi Farm: Near Rameshwar Mandir, Choul, Alibaug 402203, India
  • Suhasini Villa: Chaul, Maharashtra 402203
  • Rembrandt Villa: Opp. Mahalaxmi Mandir, Alibaug – Revdanda Road, Village Bagmala, Nagoan, 402204 Revadanda
  • Vasundhara Cottage: Gharat Ali, Shitala Devi Road, Taluka Alibag, District-Raigad, Chaul
  • Sun Rise Villa: Palav Fata, Naigaon, Alibaug
  • Dolphin House Beach Resort: 317, Nagaon Bandar Road, Nagaon, Alibag
  • Palms Cottage: Nagaon Bandar Road, Alibaug, Pen
  • Karpewadi: Suruche Ban, Satad Bandar, Dist. Raigad, Nagaon, Maharashtra 402203
  • Mira Villa: Vartak Nagar, Nagaon, Maharashtra 402204
  • Kaivalya Farms: Kaivalya Farms, Village Palhe, Nagaon
  • Sanman Holiday Home: Raigad, Maharashtra 402201
  • Elysium Resorts (Revdanda): Village Yesade, Ahead of Birla Mandir, 6KM ahead of WelSpun Industry, Revdanda – Roha Road, Alibag

Where to eat

There are variety of food that is offered in the nearby hotels. One can enjoy the vegetarian as well as the non vegetarian meals. There are variety of snacks and bakery products that are offered. There are also restaurants that offers amazing chinese cuisine

Nearby Temples

Kanakeshwar Forest(temple): Kanakeshwar situated near  Alibag on Konkan coast. Kanakeshwar temple is situated in midst of forest so dense that the interior is impermeable to sunlight. The temple is situated on a small hill near the village of Mapgaon which is almost 12 km from Alibag. The hill is almost 1200 feet high and one has to climb 700 – 750 steps to reach the temple. The hill and the surroundings are good to visit. One can see the hilly region and the forest on the hill. The other places to see near Kanakeshwar are the Maruti Temple, Gaymandi (Sculpture of a Cow), Temple of Devi Putrabai, Gaymukh and the plateau of Vyaghreshwar (a small temple of Lord Shiva) etc. The temple of Kanakeshwar is very beautiful; it is a Hoysala style structure built in 1764. A water tank, called a “Pushkarni”, has water almost throughout the year.

Vikram Vinakyak Temple: Vikram Vinayak Mandir is situated inside the Vikram Ispat premises, which is at a distance of around 20 km from Alibaug. This temple is situated across the Revdanda Bridge and is surrounded by beautiful garden and fountains. Located on a small hillock, the temple can be reached by climbing the well paved stairs. Inside the temple, different idols of gods and goddesses can be seen such as Shiva-Parvati, Lord Surya, Shree Radha-Krishna and Goddess Durga.

Birla Mandir: This is a Ganesh temple of very modern architecture in white marble, situated on a small hill (130 easy steps). This is a place visited by tourists from all around. The entire hill is a temple complex with beautiful gardens & fountains all around. This temple is built by Grasim group near Vikram Ispat factory.

Someshwar Temple: Someshwar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple in Akshi, which is situated at a distance of 3 km from Alibaug. It was built by Satavahana rulers and the structure reflects the architectural style of their ruling period. The Someshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who also was revered as Someshwar. Legend has that Lord Shiva once drank an ocean that was full of poison and converted it into nectar. Pilgrims throng this place to seek the Lord’s blessings.

Shitala Devi Temple (Chaul): Originally it was built with a tiled roof and wooden structure. In 1990, it was renovated into a modern structure. It is a greatly revered shrine. This temple is 14 Km away from Alibag.

Siddhivinayak Temple at Nandgaon: On the way to Murud there is a temple of Ganesh situated at Nandgaon. It is surrounded by lush green coconut and supari plantations. Murud is a typical konkan town mixing rural & urban facilities.

Korlai village & Church: The village is populated by Roman catholic East Indians & local fishermen. Korlai has a rich historical background dating back to 300 years during Portuguese rule. A village church and adjoining convent school are in a typical rural setting and worth a visit.

Sri Datta Shrine: Another very famous hill shrine at Chaul is Sri Datta Mandir with its own Glory which is about 18 kms from Alibag.  One has to climb around 700 stairs to reach this shrine.There is Hingulja Mandir situated near Datta Mandir, a historic temple built by Pandwas. There is five days Mela in the month of December at the occasion of Sri Datta Jayanti. Trekkers would love to visit this ancient temple.

Chaturshringi Temple

Chaturshringi Temple

Amidst the buzz and hustle bustle of one of the most engrossed cities of the country, Mumbai is also the abode of numerous temples in and around the city which contributes to the ethnicity and spiritual grip of the people around. One such magnificent and most visited temples of Maharashtra is the Chaturshringi Temple. Chaturshringi Temple is not only gigantic as the very name suggests but it is also considered to be one of the most visited sacred places of Maharashtra.

The term Chatur stands for four and Chaturshringi literally signifies “mountain with four peaks.” The temple is gigantic and it stands at 90 feet high and 125 feet wide. The temple depicts  “power and faith.” The Chaturshringi temple is located on the gradient of a hill on Senapati Bapat Road. The supervising deity of Chaturshringi temple is Goddess Chaturshringi who is also known as Goddess Ambareshwari. It is said that one has to climb 100 steps of Chaturshringi temple to reach out to the shrine of Goddess Chaturshringi. Apart from the presiding deity Goddess Chaturshringi’s temple, the premises also include temples of Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesha respectively and this includes eight diminutive idols of Ashtavinayaka. However, these respective temples are located on the four detached mounds. It also includes the temple of Vetal Maharaj at the baner pashan end.

Chaturshringi Temple

History and Legend of Chaturshringi Temple

Chaturshringi Temple is one of the oldest temples of Maharashtra and is said to have been constructed during the time in power of the Maratha king Shivaji and the temple is taken care of by Chaturshringi Devasthan trustees. The Chaturshringi temple is considered to be a symbol of power and faith. Numbers of devotees from all over the world often come to visit the temple with love and devotion for the presiding deity every year on a daily basis. The temple has abundant of beauty and importance that even the aged people coup their intricacy and climb 100 steps to reach out to the holy memorial of Goddess Chaturshringi. It is also believed that the primary purpose for the creation of the temple was the utmost devotion and worship towards the supervising deity Goddess Chaturshringi.

The legend of Chaturshringi Temple follows the story of a rich merchant named Durlabhsheth Pitambardas Mahajan. This man was very rich and religious and was also a passionate devotee of Saptashringi Mata. It is also said that he used to travel all the way from Pune to Vani only for the sake of worshipping the presiding Goddess of the temple every year on the full moon day of Chaitra. However, as he grew older his age somewhat hindered him to travel and visit the temple. Following this, because of his true devotion the supervising Goddess appeared in his dream and asked him to bring to light her idol from a mountain in the northwestern region of Pune so that she can stay near her devotee. Following the command of his beloved Goddess, he went there and mapped out that place and in due course experienced miracle when he found an ordinary statue of his beloved Goddess. He then settled on to construct the temple at that place and the entire event led to the foundation of the Chaturshringi Mandir and since then it has been renovated several times.

Significance of the Chaturshringi Temple

The Chaturshringi Temple is of immense significance and is also the centre of attraction for the people and this is why thousands of pilgrims and visitors appear in large numbers everyday for the sake of offering their prayers to the presiding deity. The temple is significant for the following reasons:

  • Maa Chaturshringi temple is devoted to Goddess Chaturshringi who is also known as Goddess Ambareshwari, Mahalakshmee, Mahakalee, Mahasaraswatee. This is also considered to be one of the most popular temples in Pune along with Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai temple. This temple is also one of the oldest temples and is believed to be 250-300 years old.
  • Goddess Chaturshringi and Lord Ganapati are considered to be the benefactor deities of Pune.
  • Chaturshringi Temple is positioned at the slope of a hill on Senapati Bapat Road in aundh, Pune.
  • This temple is preserved and maintained by the Chaturshringi Devasthan Trust. The temple has been maintained in such a manner that each and every bit and piece of the temple appears as new and as fresh as the first time.
  • At the very first visit, the temple offers spiritual and positive vibes to each and every visitor and lures all the visitors with its beauty.
  • The most fascinating feature of the temple is that the Chaturshringi Temple consists of a diminutive scale model of its intact premises exhibited at the entrance.

Chaturshringi Temple Timings

  • Chaturshringi Temple is open for visitors and pilgrims on all days from 6:00AM to 9:00 PM.
  • On Tuesdays the temple closes at 12:00 PM. This is so because Tuesdays and Fridays are considered to be the days of Goddesses and maximum number of devotees visit the temple on these days for worship.

Festivals celebrated at Chaturshringi Temple

  • The most important festival of the Chaturshringi temple is the celebration of Navratri. This festival is filled with vibrance, energy, enjoyment and dedication. This festival is celebrated for nine days where devotees from across the country and world come to offer prayers and homage to the presiding Goddess. This occasion is one of the most auspicious celebrations of Chaturshringi Temple. During this festival, thousands of devotees have the propensity to wait in line for hours till they derive the opportunity to offer their prayers and adorn the Goddess in the main hall.
  • Chaturshringi Temple is embellished in the traditional style enlightened with lights and it literally enthrals the worshippers and visitors.
  • Apart from the traditional rituals, the celebration is also accompanied with a fair that takes place throughout the night at the peak and also adds on to the spirit of the festival.
  • Apart from the mega celebration of Navaratri, festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi are also celebrated every year here.
  • Another important festival celebrated in the Chaturshringi Temple is the “Vat Purnima” during which many women visit the temple and offer prayers to the banyan tree.

How To Reach : Road, Rail, Air

By Road : Buses are available everyday from Mumbai and also from nearby areas. Buses are also available from Satara, Raigad and Ahmednagar.

By Rail: The nearest railway stations are Sivajinagar railway station, Khadki railway station, Dapodi railway station.

By Air: The nearest airports to Chaturshringi Temple are Lohegaon Airport, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Gandhinagar Airport, Kolhapur Airport.

Where to stay

There are many hotels and lodges nearby Chaturshringi Temple which are quite reasonable and avails all the facilities.

Nearby Temples

  • Sree Ayyappa Seva Sangham : This temple is one of the most visited and popular temples in Pune. Thsi temple is located on the peak of the towering hillocks. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. The place where the temple is positioned is also termed as “Sastha Hills” This temple is considered to be one of the most consecrated temples of Maharashtra.
  • Kanifnath Temple : Talking about all the famous and most visited temples in Pune, Kanifnath temple cannot be missed out. The famous temple of Shri Kanifnath Maharaj is positioned around a beautiful fort and this is the reason that the temple is a centre of attraction for all the visitors.
  • Parvati Hill Temple : The Parvati Hill Temple is said to be the highest point of Pune city. One has to climb 100 steps to reach the place of pilgrimage. This temple was built by the third Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao alias Nana Saheb in 1749 and clearly depicts the traditional form of Maratha style of temple architecture. The place also consists of temles dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Bhavani, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya.
  • Bhuleshwar Temple : This is a hindu temple and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Like some of the temples in Pune, this temple is also positioned on a hill and was constructed on the 13th The most significant feature of th temple is that it has classical carvings on the wall and the temple has also been declared as a confined monument. The temple is mostly popular because of the famous folk-tale associated with it. It is believed that when a bowl of sweet pedhas is offered to Shiva Ling, one or more of the sweets tend to disappear. The temple was constructed in 1230 AD during the period of Yadava Rulers by King Krishnadevray and the fort on which the temple is located on Daulatmala Fort which is also referred to as Mangalgad. This fort was built by Murar Jagdev in 1629. The temple also consist of an idol of Lord Ganesha uin a feminine attire and the idol is known as Ganeshwari, Ganeshyani or Lambodari.
  • Ghorwadeshwar Cave Temple : This temple is positioned around 40km from Pune and contain statues of Hindu and Buddhist deities. It is believed that the caves were sculpted out of a single rock formation around the 3rd and 4th century CE. The temples consists of nine rooms for meditation along with the Griha. An inscription on one of the walls in Brahmi script says that Chhaityagriha is devoted with affection by Buddha and Sagha- the daughters of Dhapar who was a disciple of Bhadantsingh. A large cave contains a Shiva Linga that is most visited during the time of Mahashivratri.

Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

Sri Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

The Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai  situated at Prabhadevi, Mumbai is one of the most popular and sacred temples dedicated to Lord Vinayaka. The name Siddhivinayak means “Vinayak who grants one’s wishes”. The Lord is known locally as “Navasacha Ganapati” and “Navasala Pavanara Ganapati”.  In Marathi, it means “Ganapati grants a wish whenever prayed with genuine devotion”.

The initial shrine was small and had a lake next to it. However, the lake was filled up and currently is not part of the temple complex. Currently, the Temple is an imposing six-storied multi – angular structure. The central dome is gold plated while the other domes are plated with Panchadhaatu (five metals- gold, silver, copper, brass and bronze).  The second floor houses the temple kitchen and the fourth houses a collection of more than 8000 books related to religion, philosophy and science.

Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai  also conducts social and cultural activities for the welfare of the society. It  operated a Dialysis Centre, conducts blood and health camps and provides free eye checkups.

Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

History and Legends of the Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

  • The Government documents related to the Temple history state that the Temple was consecrated on 19 November 1801.
  • As per historical records, the original shrine of Sri Siddhivinayak was a small brick structure with a dome-shaped Shikhara.
  • In 1952, a small Hanuman Temple was consecrated within the temple complex. The idol of Lord Hanuman was excavated during a road extension project.
  • A significant legend associated with the temple is that of the famous Sanyasi Saint Sri Ramakrishna Jambhekar Maharaj. He was believed to be an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha. Once, Swami Samarth who was his Guru asked him to procure four divine idols of Lord Ganesha. He asked him to bury two idols in front of the house of another disciple Sri Cholappa. He instructed him to bury the other two in front of Lord Ganesha’s abode.
  • Sri Jambhekar had a vision that a Mandar tree will grow on the place where the idols are buried and after 21 years, a Swayambhu Ganesha will appear at the place. After the occurrence of the tree, the devotion at the place increased manifolds.
  • Later on, Sri Jambhekar Maharaj directed priest Govind Chintaman Pathak to look after the temple duties and rituals. His successors are following the rituals at the Temple till date.

Significance of the Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

  • The representation of the deity, Lord Ganesha is one of the unique features of the Temple. The idol of Ganesha has four hands of which the upper right and upper left hold a lotus and a small axe respectively. The lower right-hand holds a chain of holy beads and the lower left-hand holds a bowl of Modaks. The Goddesses Riddhi and Siddhi who represent sanctity, fulfillment, prosperity and riches flank the God from both sides. On the Lord’s forehead, the third eye of Lord Shiva can be seen.
  • It is believed that anyone who believes in the Lord and prays to him with genuine devotion, will get his or her wishes fulfilled.
  • The Temple is one of the richest temple complexes in Mumbai city, receiving patronage from politicians, Bollywood and businessmen.

Dress code at Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

The Temple does not have a strict dress code but recommends decent clothes for men and women. Shorts and miniskirts are to be avoided. Beachwear and other revealing dresses are not allowed inside the premises.

Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai  Timings

  • Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai opens at 5:30 AM and closes at 9:50 PM from Wednesday through Monday.
  • The Temple opens early at 3:15 AM and closes at 12:30 AM on Tuesdays.
  • The Kakad Aarti or the morning Aarti starts at 5:30 AM (Wednesday – Monday) and at 3:15 AM on Tuesday.
  • The evening Aarti is performed between 7:30 PM to 8 PM.
  • The Shej Aarti starts at 9:30 PM (Wednesday-Monday) and at 12:30 AM on Tuesdays.

Poojas and Rituals at Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

  • Atharva Sheesha Havan – The Havan is performed by a team of priests on behalf of the devotee. The Havan is performed to receive the Lord’s blessings and removing any obstacles in his or her life. The Pooja begins with the Ganesh Pooja, followed by the Punyahavacham, Nandishraddha, Grahmukh and finally the invocation of the God of Fire (Agni). The Navagraha Pooja is performed followed by the offering of the Modakas to the Agni. Following the Pooja, the devotee honors the Brahmin priest for performing the Havan.
  • Panchamrut Pooja – The idol of the deity is bathed with five holy items – Milk, Honey, Sugar, Ghee and Curd. The ritual takes place among the chants of several hymns and shlokas.
  • Ashtottar Nama Pooja – The Pooja involves the recital of 108 names of Lord Vinayaka among chants praising him and invoking his blessings.
  • Shodashopachara Pooja – This is the first step of the ritual of any Pooja that is performed for any God. This Pooja involves 16 steps or parts. These are Upachara, Avahana, Asana, Padaprakshalana, Hastaprakshalana, Achamanam, Snanam, Vastram, Yagyopaveetam, Gandham, Pushpam, Dhupam, Deepam, Naivedyam, Tambulam, Neerajanam and Mantrapushpam.
  • Sahastravartan Pooja – In this special Pooja, a silver image of Lord Ganesha is worshiped. The Shodashopachara Pooja is first performed for the Lord followed by Abhishek with Milk. Ths Pooja is performed for family harmony, healthy and long life, financial happiness and for bearing an heir to a family.
  • Sri Satya Vinayaka Pooja – This Pooja is generally performed by people whose family deity is Lord Ganesha. The auspicious days to perform this Pooja are Tuesdays, Fridays, full moon days, Vaisakha Poornima and Ganesh Chaturthi. In the temple, the Shodashopachar Pooja is performed followed by Sahasra Namam Pooja. Naivedyam is offered to the God after which Aarti is conducted. This Pooja is performed for the birth of a child, financial growth, wedding, and for a prosperous family life.

Festivals celebrated at the Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

  • Ganesha Chaturthi – The biggest celebration dedicated to Lord Ganesha is held in a grand manner at the Temple during August – September. The celebrations last for 10 days and the last day are named as “Ananta Chaturdashi”. In preparation for the festivities, a giant clay idol of the Lord is made 2-3 months in advance. The idol is then placed on a giant pedestal and decorated with garlands. The idol is installed at the temple in a ritual known as the Pranaprathishtha Pooja. Vedic hymns and Shlokas are chanted to appease the Lord. Offerings like coconut, jaggery and modakas are made to the Lord to receive his blessings. The temple receives lakhs of pilgrims during these ten days to catch a glimpse of the majestic deity. On the eleventh day, the idol is taken out in a grand procession amidst singing and dancing on devotional songs. The idol is then immersed in the sea, bidding adieu to the Lord who proceeds to his home in Kailash.
  • Sankashti Chaturthi – The auspicious dates fall on the fourth day of the Krishna Paksha or the waning phase of the moon every month of the Hindu calendar. The day is extremely sacred to Ganesha devotees worldwide, who observe fast on these days. The importance of the day is mentioned in the Puranas like the Narasimha Purana and the Bhavishaya Purana. It is believed that Lord Krishna himself explained the importance of the Pooja to Yudhishthar of the Pandavas. On this day, the temple performs important Poojas to the Lord to remove obstacles in the devotee’s life and grant prosperity. Mahapuja is performed for the deity by reciting the Purush Sukt, Brahmanaspati Sukt, Atharva Sheersha, Ganapati Sukt and the Saraswati Sukt.
  • Hanuman Jayanti – The day marks the birth of Lord Hanuman. The festival is celebrated in the month of Chaithra in Maharashtra. On this day, special religious discourses and Poojas are held for the Lord which begin at dawn and end after sunrise. It is believed that the Lord was born at sunrise on this auspicious day.
  • Akshaya Tritiya – The auspicious day is celebrated in the month of May in the Temple. Special Poojas dedicated to the Lord are performed on the day. It is believed that the benefits of doing Jaap, Yagya, and Punya will never diminish but remain forever with the devotee. Along with Ugadi and Vijayadasami, Akshaya Tritiya is believed to be one of the days that is free from all ill-effects.

Besides these festivals, Gudi Parva, Ram Navami, Ganga Dussehra, Nag Panchami, Gokulashtami, Navarathri and Shivaratri are some of the other joyous occasions celebrated at the Temple premises.

How to reach Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai

  • By Air – The distance from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport to the Siddhivinayak Temple is 15 km and takes about an hour depending on the traffic conditions. One can hire a taxi from the airport to Prabhadevi. Mumbai is the financial capital of India and is well connected to all major cities of the country via major airlines.
  • By Train – Dadar is the nearest railway station and is a ten-minute ride to the Temple complex from here. Local trains ply between Dadar and major railway stations like the CST Terminal, Churchgate and Santacruz. Mumbai CST Terminal is well connected to all major cities of the country.
  • By Road – The city of Mumbai is connected to all major nearby cities like Panaji, Pune, Thane, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Surat via wide national highways. The state transport operated government buses from all important towns and cities of Maharashtra. The private bus service also operates regular buses in and out of the city. The city also boasts of good local transport connectivity by buses and taxis.

Where to stay

A large number of hotels, lodges and guesthouses are available for tourists. Since Mumbai is a coastal city, there are several options of staying in beach front villas and hotels. The pricing of rooms is on a higher side in the city. The city boasts of several five-star hotels such as the Taj, Trident, and the Four Seasons. One can also book guesthouses like the one run by ISKCON.

Where to eat

Mumbai is one of the best cosmopolitan cities to experience a wide range of delicacies. One can find an incomparable range of cuisines like Maharashtrian, Coastal, North-Indian, Mughlai and Muslim food, South-Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Thai and European. The options to taste these delicacies range from excellent seven-star hotels to local cafes and dhabas that are dispersed through this huge city. The chaats are a must have at the Juhu and the Chowpatty beach. Vada Pav and Pavbhaji are a must try. The Khao Gully in Colaba is particularly famous for its Maharashtrian food.

Nearby Temples

  • Mahalakshmi Temple – The famous Mahalakshmi Temple is located 6 km from Siddhivinayak Temple. The presiding deity is Goddess Mahalakshmi as a form of Goddess Shakti or Adi Parashakti. The Temple was built in 1785. The deity is represented by her three forms – Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. The Temple is famous for its yearly grand celebrations of the festival Navarathri.
  • Mumba Devi Mandir – The deity of the famous temple is Maha Amba, known as Mumba in Marathi. The Goddess is the patron deity of the Fishermen of Mumbai, the original inhabitants of the city. The city of Mumbai is named after the Goddess. The original temple dated back to the 15th century. However, it was destroyed and the new structure was built in the 18th century.
  • Sri Radha Rasabihari Ji Temple, ISKCON – The Temple complex is located near the Juhu beach. The presiding deities of the Temple are Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sri Radha Rasabihari and Sri Sita – Ram, Lakshman and Hanuman. The Temple is an architectural landmark and is visited by thousands of devotees and tourists every day.
  • Swaminarayan Temple – The temple dedicated to Sri Swaminarayan is situated in the Bhuleshwar area of Mumbai. The Temple is nearly 100 years old. The Temple follows the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. The tri-spire structure houses the deities Hari Krishna, Gaulokvihari and Radha, Laxminarayan Dev and Ghanshyam Maharaj.
  • Jogeshwari caves – The cave temples of Jogeshwari in Mumbai are some of the earliest cave shrines dedicated to both Hinduism and Buddhism. They date back to 550 AD. The cave complex is used as a temple by the locals who worship the ancient idols of Lord Shiva, Hanuman, Ganesha and Lord Dattatreya. It is believed that the cave also enshrines the footprints of Goddess Jogeshwari who is worshiped by many as Kuladevi.