5 Manache Ganapati of Pune City: Ganesh Festival

The Ganesh Festival has always held a special place in every Punekar’s heart. Though celebrated all across India and in some parts of the world, the Pune Ganesh Festival holds its own charm right from its beginning over a century ago.

The city of Pune, where Lokamanya Tilak started the Ganeshotsav in 1893, celebrates this festival with same vigour and energy even after 125 years.

5 Manache Ganapati: Let us have detailed look at the 5 Ganapati mandals or groups which get the honour of leading the Ganapati procession.

Kasba Ganapati: Kasba Ganapati is given the honour to lead the Ganesh festival procession.

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Decorated Ganesh Idol on Ganesh Chaturthi day

In 1893 when Lokamanya Tilak started  the Ganesh Festival for common people, there were only 3 groups (Mandals) taking part in the procession. The following year this increased to a large number of around 100 Mandals or groups.

Lokamanya Tilak offered the honour of first place to Kasba Ganapati.

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Rangoli decoration at the Kasba Ganapati Temple

Kasba Ganapati obtained an important stature in the history of Pune around 400 years ago.  When Jijabai came to Pune, she was notified of a Ganapati idol in a rough-cut form (not having any specific shape or size), which was found during ploughing a field. She decided to install it and build a temple around the same. One of the 8 families which came to Pune with Jijabai was the Thakar family. They were made the care takers of the temple. Today 16th generation of the same family looks after the Kasba Ganapati temple.

As per the information board near the entrance of  the temple, the temple construction took place around 1626AD.

The temple seems to be having two clear distinct parts, the main hall and the sanctum sanctorum. If one observes carefully, it is noticed that the temple is built on the ruins of some earlier temple of a different era.

During a recently held heritage walk, Mr. Anurag Vaidya of ‘FirastiMaharashtrachi’ pointed out this clear distinction in the building structure between the main hall and the sanctum sanctorum.

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The temple contains a wooden hall (sabhamandap) decorated with beautiful columns and houses a gallery on the upper floor. This structure typically outlines the style of the Peshwa era.

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The sanctum sanctorum is made in stone. On the pradakshina marg, one can see the typical lotus petal designs at the base which was a prominent design style for temples during reign of the Yadava rulers (around 12th or 13th century).

The Ganapati idol in this temple is now decorated with diamonds in its eyes and a ruby (Manik) in its navel. Whenever there is a marriage, thread ceremony or any other auspicious occasion in Pune households, the first invitation is given to Kasba Ganapati and prayers are offered to Lord Ganesh to help accomplish the rituals and tasks without any difficulties.

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The temple is closed from 12 noon to 4 pm. During the Ganesh Festival a huge pandal is erected in front of the main temple and a small Ganesh idol is brought in a palanquin with a grand procession. Accompanied by the playing of Dhol and Tashas, the idol is installed in this pandal with proper rituals. People flock to this place to see this idol and visit the main temple and to seek blessings. The main temple is also decorated with lights, rangolis and offers a majestic view. It is maintained by the Thakar family (considered to be 16th generation of Thakars) who were one of the 8 families which came to Pune along with Jijbai and young Shivaji.

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It is also recommended to visit this temple on other days than the Ganesh festival days as one gets to sit quietly inside the temple and experience and observe the idol and study the temple structure in a peaceful manner.

 

Manacha Dusra Ganapati: Tambadi Jogeshwari Ganapati:

This gets its second rank as the Tambadi Jogeshwari goddess is regarded as the deity of the town.

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This temple is one of the oldest temples built in the city around the year 1545 by Triyambak Bendre.

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Every year the idol is immersed and new idol is made. The Gulunjkar family makes the idol every year. It is the fourth generation of the Gulunjkar family which makes the idol
for the Tambadi Jogeshwari Ganpati.

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Guruji Talim Mandal:

Guruji Talim is situated on Laxmi road. This Mandal gets a good support from shop owners and cloth merchants located nearby.

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This mandal was started by Nanasaheb Kasgiwale, Bhiku Shinde, Shaikh Lalabhai, and Vastad Nalband in 1887 and was backed by a training centre for wrestlers called as Guruji Talim.
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Guruji Talim Ganapati idol is in Bal Ganesh form.

During the Hindu Muslim riots of 1893 this mandal played an important role in spreading the communal harmony. Hence this mandal was given the honour of the third place by Lokamanya Tilak in the procession.

 

Tulshibaug Ganapati Mandal:

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Tulshibaug Ganpati Mandal was started in 1901. The large idol which we see today is  the 15 feet fibreglass idol. It  was made in 1975 by D.S. Khatavkar. This Ganapati is considered as the 4th Manacha Ganapati. It is installed in the famous shoppers paradise of Pune ‘Tulshibaug’.

 

Kesari wada Ganpati:

Earlier, this Ganesh mandal festival was celebrated in the Vinchurkar wada and from 1902 it was shifted to Kesariwada (Gaikwad wada).

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Many cultural events are conducted during the Ganesh festival at Kesariwada. This Ganapati is given the fifth place in the world famous Ganpati immersion procession of Pune city.

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Pune,  the cultural capital of Maharashtra is visited by many people to witness this grand 10 day celebration of Ganesh Festival. Lord Ganesha is indeed the most revered and loved Hindu God. A source of lots of energy, happiness, joy and satisfaction.The God of all arts, the remover of all obstacles may bless everyone and let each one of us find the true happiness.

Do watch a detailed video about these five Ganesha on

Reference: Hindustan Times

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Bhuleshwar: Hidden Treasure

Light and shadow effect at Bhuleshwar

There is always something special about every visit, every trail, every moment and every experience. I visited Bhuleswar twice. First time it was with a group of trekkers and an expert historian and the next visit was with my family. Both the trips were magical and miraculous.

Location:

Bhuleshwar Temple is situated about 53 Kms from Pune and 10 Kms from Yawat. To visit this temple from Pune you need to catch the Pune Solapur Highway. Just before Yawat you will find Kamat hotel on the left hand side and Kanchan hotel on the right hand side if you are going from Pune. Take a right turn and follow the Malshiras road to reach Bhuleshwar temple. Be careful on the inner ghat road. On the way you would see Suhana Masala factory, Nishigandh and Custard Apple plantation, Dwarika Krishi sankalp etc. Take a right turn and you will reach an entrance arch saying Bhuleshwar Vana Udyan. This temple is situated on a hilltop. There are two very sharp turns before reaching the top. Be extremely careful.

On the way to Bhuleshwar

On the way to Bhuleshwar

Nature on the way

Nature on the way

History of this place:

Bhuleshwar temple was built in 1230 AD by Yadava rulers. It was deformed and destroyed by Mughal attackers. In 1629 Adilshahi Sardar Murar Jagdev destroyed and looted Pune completely and he literally deployed donkeys to plough the fields in Pune. He constructed a fort here which was known as DaulatMangal Gadh. He used it to keep a watch on Pune city from this fort. It is said that later Shivaji Maharaj and Peshwas did some restoration of this temple. One can still find some signs of earlier Muslim rule by looking at Eidgah (open air gathering place normally on the outskirts of the city).

Remains of Eidgah

Remains of Eidgah

Now Bhuleshwar temple comes under the Archaeological survey of India and is a protected monument.

Bhuleshwar Temple from outside

 

Once you reach the temple you won’t be able to guess from outside what the temple would be from inside. From outside it has an appearance like a mosque which reflects the social impact on the architecture of that era.

When you enter the temple premises from the first few steps the saga of magical carvings starts.

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Sculptures at the entrance steps

 

Normally Nandi idol is outside the Shiva temple but in this one you will find a big one inside the temple. It is huge and beautiful ornaments are carved on it.

Nandi idol

On the walls there are carvings from Ramayan, Mahabharat etc. The most prominent scenes like Draupadi Swayamwar, Mahabharat war, Shriram Bharat meeting, Kidnapping of Seeta by Ravan,Churning of the ocean etc.

Draupadi Swayamwar

Draupadi Swayamwar(Mahabharat)

 

Bheem fighting with elephants

Bheem fighting with elephants ( Mahabharat)

 

Bhishma on bed of arrows

Bhishma on bed of arrows , Pandavas sitting beside him

Ram and Bharat Meeting

Ram and Bharat Meeting (Ramayana)

 

Samudramanthan

Samudramanthan (Churning of the Ocean)

 

It also has Ganesh, Shankar and Vishnu in Female form.

 

Idols in female form

Idols of Ganesh, Shankar, Vishnu


Each pillar, each carving is unique. Even the borders of each carving are decorated with different designs. On pillars we saw different carvings of Bells, flowers and even inverted cobras (which was quite popular during 12 and 13th century)

 

Elephants on pillars

Elephants on the pillars

Ceiling carving at the entrance

Carvings

In the Pradakshina marg one would see a beautiful light and shadow effect. It gives an individuality to each and every sculpture.

Inside the temple

Bell, Cobra and flower design

Darpan Sundari

Darpan Sundari(Lady admiring herself in mirror)

There is a sculpture of group of artists playing various intruments like flute, Mridangam, Pakhwaj, Shehnai etc. One could understand that there was great recognition, appreciation and respect for art in different forms.

Musicians

Musicians

While we were appreciating the beauty of the sculptures it was causing immense pain to see deformed idols. What wonder the temple would have created if it was intact with all the carvings???

Deformed sculptures

Deformed sculptures

Once you enter the sanctum sanctorum the scene is completely different. All the materialistic emotions of life are displayed outside and once inside the temple there is not even a single carving denoting complete detachment and renunciation of the material world.

Shivling

 

There is also a story associated with this temple that if you offer a pack of Pedhas to this Shivling and keep that pack below the mask of Shiva at least one Pedhha disappears. It is said that many people have experienced this. We have not tried it so can’t comment anything about this.

This place is very much crowded during Mahashivratri and Shravani Somwar but on rest of the days very few people visit this temple. The care taker told us that they are getting different information from different sources. They are collecting it and planning to put a board outside for visitors to get some information.

If you climb down about 50 steps you will reach a water storage of ancient times. It is covered with rocks so water is stored there from many years and very less evaporation takes place. There is also a Shivling here. If you peep inside you will see different compartments of water. Those different compartments might have been used for different purposes like drinking, cleaning, washing clothes etc.

Water storage

It is a unique place where intricately carved sculptures will surely take your breath away. I would recommend that you make a complete one day trip to visit this place and study it in detail. Do take a powerful torch with you to admire the real grandeur of the carvings.

One would simply wonder at the marvelous piece of art the sculptors have created. They have infused life into the life less stones. It is a must visit for art lovers.

Nagkanya

Quick Notes:

Location: Near Yawat on Pune Solapur road about 53 Kms from Pune

Visiting hours : From 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Take care of the last two sharp turns and most important take a powerful torch with you to observe the sculptures in detail.

Do visit Kanchan hotel on your way back (On main highway). It is a beautiful place with innovative interior and earthen decor. Good place to have snacks.