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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Khunya Murlidhar Temple

Pune city is well known for its rich heritage and its strong connection with history. Every nook and corner of the city speaks volumes about golden past. Every road in the main city area has a story to tell.

Adding to the curiosity are the temples in Pune with its uncommon names like Upashi
Vitohbha, Dulya Maruti, Patrya Maruti, Jilbya Maruti Mandir etc.
(Do check the link given at the bottom of the blog for additional info on this)

A closer look

The peak with its decorative

One of such strikingly different names to outsiders is Khunya Murlidhar temple. Murlidhar who with the soothing tones of his ‘Murli’ i.e. Flute has the power to calm the world, the Shrikrishna who played the important part of messenger of peace before the war of Mahabharat, the embodiment of ‘perfect man’, a political strategist who pledged not to use any weapon during the Mahabharat war,  how his temple got such a name?

This name ‘Khunya Murlidhar’  is basically given based on the events which took place in the temple.

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Temple Exterior View

 

History:

Sadashiv Gadre was one of the moneylenders in Second Bajirao Peshwa’s kingdom. Sadashiv Gadre built this temple in 1797 after he had a dream in which Murlidhar (Krishna) appeared in front of him and and instructed him to make the idols and build a temple in this place.

Gadre hired a sculptor named Bakhatram from Jaipur to make the beautiful idols. Peshwa Bajirao II happened to see these idols and liked them very much. He asked Dada Gadre to give him the idols, this demand was declined by Gadre and he asked the Khare family of Trimbakeshwar to worship the idols and install them in the temple overnight.

Accordingly, on 6 May 1797, Gadre shifted the idols from his home to this temple in the early morning and started the religious ceremony to install them here. Peshwa Bajirao came to know about this and sent a few British soldiers that were newly deployed in Pune to stop Gadre. But there was a defense in place as Gadre had deployed a few Arab soldiers that he had at his service to protect the temple.

Paintings and description on walls

Paintings and description on walls

While the religious ceremony was going on inside the temple, a battle raged outside between the British soldiers and the Arab defenders resulting in bloodshed and a number of deaths outside. As these murders (Khoon) happened outside, the temple got its name (Khunya) Murlidhar.

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The main Hall of Khunya Murlidhar

Enraged by this, the Peshwa imprisoned Sadashiv Gadre in jail in Ahmednagar and confiscated all his properties. Gadre was in jail for 23 years and Khare family took care of the temple and the daily worshiping of the idols during this time. For his dedicated work, Gadre decided to handover the temple management and its surrounding area to the Khare family, which they are doing till date and the seventh generation of the Khare family currently manages the temple. Khare Vaidya, (expert of Ayurveda) is well known in #Pune to provide a traditional medicine for jaundice which has cured over thousands of people over the past many decades.

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Other interesting facts:

Many other interesting stories are attached to this temple. Being a #Punekar by birth I have heard this story from many other natives. It is said that the Chaphekar brothers hatched the plan to assassinate Rand in this very temple. The brothers used to conduct secret meetings in the temple to plan the attack and assassination.

It is also said that a person staying close by, named Dravid, heard about this plan and tipped off the British about it which resulted in the capture and hanging of the Chaphekar brothers. It is also said that Dravid was also murdered later as revenge for passing on the information to Britishers.

 

 

The Temple architecture:  The temple consists of courtyard, main Hall and sanctum sanctorum. The main hall is decorated with beautiful wooden pillars and decorative chandeliers. One can see some beautiful pictures, paintings on the wall. The main sanctum sanctorum of the temple is built in black basalt rock and the hall around it is built using a wooden frame structure. This hall has excellent carvings on the walls and columns that depict the typical artwork popular during those time.

Paintings

 

The idol:
The idol of Shrikrishna is also unique and is seen standing on one leg and the support of the thumb of the other leg without any other support.The idol of Radha Krishna is carved out of white marble. In the temple do observe the Eagle which represents the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
Every Janmashtami this temple is decorated with beautiful flowers, garlands, rangoli and diyas. This Janmashtami make sure to visit this temple and experience the eternal magic of Shrikrishna.

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An interesting read:

One can read many interesting stories behind different names of temples in Pune on the following link.

View at Medium.com