Ashtavinayaka exactly means “Eight Ganeshas”. Everybody’s wish is to visit these Ashtavinayak temples in Maharashtra at least once in a life time. There are Eight temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha, in Maharashtra linked with various Skandhas in Puranas and other legends; these deities collectively known as Ashta Vinayak.
According to Shastra the AshtaVinayaka darshan sequence is Moregaon, Siddhatek, Pali, Mahad, Theur, Lenyandri, Ozar, Ranjangaon and again Moregaon, here ends the Ashtavinayak Darshan Yatra
Every temple has its own individual legend and history as different from each other as the Idols in each temple.
The form of each Ganesha Murti and His trunk are different from each other.
1 Shree Mayureshwar / Moreshwar, Morgaon:
This temple is situated around 64 Km away from Pune, a small village named Moregaon. Here it is supposed that Lord Ganesha took birth as “Mayureshwar” to kill Sindhu, inhuman was involved in various unhelpful activities. God Ganesh was riding on Peacock so the Name “Mayureshwar”
“Mayureshwar” then killed Sindhu and myths says that his head fall-down here at this village Moregaon. The Temple was build in 14th century by Morya Gosavi.
This is the first Ganesha to visit in Ashtavinayak tour
This temple is at distance of 25 km away from Pune in a small village Theur. Morya Gosavi through meditation attained the siddhi. Morya Gosavi’s son constructed this temple in memory of this event.
3 Shree Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon :
Being the idol in the temple was huge and thus named as “Mahaganpati”. The original vast idol is hidden to prevent it from demolition and replaced by a smaller one. The legend is Gritsamada gave birth to Tripurasua, he was a great worshiper of Lord Ganesha. He soon became powerful destructor and conquered all three worlds. Lord Ganpati then told, “Lord Shiva” can only kill the Tripurasur. Lord Shiva killed Tripurasua, and positioned “MahaGanpati” at Ranjangaon.
4 Shree Siddivinayak, Siddhatek:
The Legends is while Lord Bramha creating the world, Lord Vishnu was sleeping. Two demons came out from Vishnu’s ears to destroy the world formed by Lord Brahma. The demons were Madhu and Kaitaba. Lord Vishnu then fight almost 5000 years in order to get hold of Madhu and Kaitaba but he can’t. Lord shiva then adviced Lord Vishnu to worship Ganpati. Here in Siddhatek hills Lord Vishnu invoked Ganpati, destroyed the demons successfully and sanctified the place Siddivinayak.
5 Shree Vighneshwar, Ozar :
The temple is about 102 Kms away from Pune in a village named Ozar. This temple was believed to built in 1833.
The Legend is King Abhinandana sought to become Indra and performed many sacrifices to become Indra. Knowing this, Indra become angry and sent Kaal (time) in the form of Vighnasura to kill Abhinandana and block every rite that performed by Abhinandana. The common people of Ozar village along-with rest of the world suffered a lot because of this act. Then all the Gods worshiped Lord Ganesha to help them to get rid of it. Lord Ganpati killed Vighnasura. Vighnasura then requested Ganpati to stay in Ozar and use his name as a prefix. God Ganpati accepted to stay at Ozar and since then the temple is named as Shree Vighneshwar Ganpati.
This temple is located at 96 Kms away from Pune in a village named Lenyadri. The temple is located at a hilltop with a pictorial view of the nearby area. This temple is situated in caves on top of a stony hill on the Kukdi river banks at Lenyadri. Here 283 stairs has to climb to reach up the temple premise. Legends is Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva, desires a son, so she worshiped Lord Ganpati for 12 years and finally blessed with Lord Ganpati himself as her son.
It is believed that, Lord Ganapati’s thread ceremony took place here in these caves. the Archaeological Department; Govt. of India has to take care of all these caves. being these steps are not so easy to climb, so its recommended not to go here in the evening.
This is the only Ashtavinayaka temple that is build on a mountain and is set in a Buddhist cave temple. Here Sun rays stays all the daytime in entire Caves of this Temple
7 Shree Ballashwar, Pali :
This temple is being named in memory great devotee Ballal as Baleshwar. Lord Ganesha exposed about himself to Ballal at this place and because of that it become a holy place and is being worshiped by thousands of people. This wooden temple is constructed in such a way that twice each year the sun rays directly falls on the Ganpati’s idol.
8 Shree Varad Vinayak, Madh /Mahad :
This temple is located at 81 Kms away from Pune and 20 kms from Khandala in a village Mahad. Lord Ganesh is named here as Shree Varad Vinayak, the bestow-er of blessings.
Ganesh as Varad Vinayak fulfills all the dreams and desires of devotees and grants all the boons