I love this time of the year. Ganapati Bappa has arrived. The sound of Dhol Tasha around and the pandals are all decorated turn the city into a lively city. The colourful flowers, the sound of Aarti and the yummy fest of ukdiche modak makes it the best festive season of all. So why not travel with Ganpati Bappa?
Lord Ganesha is considered to be the god of Intelligence. He is the god who is prayed first before praying any other god. Ashtavinayak Darshan or visiting the eight pious Ganapati’s is considered very auspicious. And this season is the best to plan for it!
There are many tour companies which arrange a 2 day Ashtavinayak trip from Pune but believe me it’s the best to take out your car or even more better to make a bike trip to these places. The season is best and it’s greenery around. It’s just the perfect time to plan a trip to do the Ashtavinayak darshan.
Route of Ashtavinayak Darshan
The common route that is followed is:
Day 1: Morgaon->Siddhatek->Theur->Ranjangaon
Stay at Ozar or Lenyadri
Ozar -> Lenyadri->Pali->Mahad
Head back to Pune.
You can cover the places in 2 days but you can also make it a 3 day trip to make it at a relaxed pace. Many people make Pune as their base point and travel the next day. Theur is the closest Ganpati to Pune and is at a distance of around 25 KMS from Pune. So you can make Theur as your starting point.
Ashtavinayak Darshan: an experience
Apart from the sacred importance of the Ashtavinayak darshan there are also a certain experiences from a trip point of view which should not be missed:
Trek to Lenyadri:
Out of all the eight places, Lenyadri is the one which stands out because of its beauty. As the name suggests, the place is a Leni which means a cave. The Girijatmaj Ganesh temple which is in one of the cave is located on a mountain and a small trek leads you there. The views from the top are simply amazing and hence do not forget to carry your cameras. However, you will encounter a lot monkeys on the way, so be careful of your belongings.
Siddhivinayak at Siddhatek-:
Shri Siddivinayak Ganapati is very auspicious as it is a right-trunked Ganesha. The right-trunked Ganesha is said to be very difficult to please, but at the same time grants all your wishes. The temple was built in the late 18th century by Ahilyabai Holkar. The temple is made up of stone. It is situated on the banks of the Bhima River. One had to earlier cross the Bhima River by boat to reach the temple but now there is a bridge built which takes you right near the temple. But do not miss the boating at the boat club as it would give you a nice break from your travel! Also, there are many sugarcane farms nearby and hence the natural sweet sugarcane juice is a must have!
Peshwa beauty of Ranjangaon:
The Ranjangaon idol is also called the Maha Ganapati and rightly so as the temple is really huge. You would get a glimpse of Peshwa architecture here as it was built by Madhavrao Peshwa. It is believed that the original Ganesha idol is below the current idol and it has 10 trunks and 20 arms. The idol is called Mahotkat. If you have kids with you then don’t forget to visit the neighboring park which has huge statues of animals.
Shopping around temples:
There are wide variety of shops around the temples and you sometimes get really good stuff at cheaper rates. The toys for kids, earrings, bangles, anklets are a few things you can check out here!
So, how are your preparations for the festival going on? Are you enjoying it? Is Ashtavinayak Darshan trip on your cards? If not, do plan soon, and let us know how you felt after visiting Bappa in all his different forms.