Ganesha is revered as one of the main deities along the Western Coast of India. Like the rest, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great pomp and show in Goa. The devotion along the coast can be seen in the eight forms, Ashtavinayak means eight Lord Ganeshas.
Recognising this religious fervour, the GTDC launched Ashtavinayak Darshans that offers devotes a reasonable and hassle-free journey to all the eight temples.
What You See
Mayureshwar Ganpati: Mayureshwar is about 80km from Pune. Here the Ganesha is depicted in seated posture with the trunk turning left. He has four arms and three eyes. He holds a noose and elephant goad in his upper hands, while his lower right rests on his knee and the other one holds a modak.
Siddhivinayak Ganpati: Siddhivinayak temple is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. This temple holds a place of eminent importance among Bollywood celebrities, politicians and businessmen, who are often seen thronging in large numbers to seek the blessings. In Maharastra, he is known as ‘Navasacha Ganpati’, the one who fulfils the wishes when prayed wholeheartedly.
Chintamani Ganpati: Another important temple along the route is Chintamani Ganpati in Theur. The idol is said to have self-emanated at this place and is facing east. His eyes sparkle with diamonds, trunk face left and seated on a cross-legged position.
Mahaganapati: The Mahaganapati temple in Ranjagaon is 50kms from Pune. Mahaganapati has either eight, ten or twelve arms. It is also known as ‘Mahotkat’, who is depicted with 10 trunks and 20 hands.
Girijatmaj: Girijatmaj Ganpati in Lenyadri is located on the Lekhan Hills. Girijatmaj Ganpati is the only Ahstavinayak temple that is situated on a mountain alongside the Buddhist Cave Temples. It’s a long climb up the 307 steps to seek blessings and of the 18 Buddhist Caves in a mountain, he is found in the eighth cave.
Vigneshwar: Vigneshwar, known as the remover of obstacles, is situated in Ozar and about 85kms away from Pune. Vigneshwar temple is the only one among Ashtavinayak temples to have golden dome and a deepmala (a stone pillar).
The idol is said to be studded with precious stones. His eyes are embedded with rubies, his forehead is sparkling with diamonds and his naval with a precious stone.
Varadavinayak: Varadavinayak as the fulfiller of wishes is located in Mahad. The temple is 8 feet long and 8 feet wide.
Ballaleshwar: Ballaleshwar Ganpati is in Pali and is known to answer devotees’ prayers quickly. One can view Ballaleshwar sitting on a stone throne, facing east, and his trunk turned left. The eyes of the Ganpati are studded with diamonds and his naval too. The distinct feature of this temple is the 15-foot-high sanctum and a gigantic bell made in Europe.
The tour is for three days and three nights and is reasonably priced at Rs. 5500 per head inclusive of guide service. The package also includes accommodation transport facility.
The pickup points are Paryatan Bhavan in Patto and Mapusa Residency.