Shree Laxmi Nrusinh Temple, Pune

We are always in a hurry to reach some destination. As our entire goal is to reach that destination at the earliest, we always (well most of the time) miss the important milestones which are on the way. I have passed by this particular road in Sadashiv Peth at least 1000 times during the past so many years but never got a chance to visit this  Laxmi Nrusinh Temple. This time, I planned it explicitly to visit this temple during the break of a sports event.

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Shree Laxmi Nrusinh Mandir is located just opposite to Pune Vidyarthi Gruha. It is a two-storied structure with wooden pillars typical to Peshwa Era architecture. From outside one can notice the balcony with a railing supported by balusters and beautifully carved arches.

Though situated on a busy road a single step inside the temple changes the entire atmosphere. Suddenly the hustle and bustle of the busy road fade away and a calm soothing feeling grips your mind.

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This temple is dedicated to Nrusinh or Narsinha which is considered as the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. There are very few temples of Lord Narshinh.

History of the temple: This temple was built in 1774. This idol has been brought from Kashi 250 years ago. A very learned brahmin who was an expert in ‘Vedic Literature’, Ganeshbhat Joshi installed this idol on Ashadh Shudha Dashmi Shake 1696 that is in the year 1774. One can see the exact date written on the exterior pillar of the temple.

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The story goes like this. Mr.Joshi had come to Pune from Sangmeshwar taluka of Ratnagiri district in search of work. Shree Narsinh was his family deity. He had no idol of Narsinh to worship in Pune and this made him very sad. One day he had a vision that Lord Narsinh is in a cactus bush at Kashi. He went to Kashi with his wife. Though the journey was tedious, he really got this beautiful white marble idol there. He installed this idol in Pune and constructed a small beautiful temple. It is said that Peshwa had shown interest in constructing this temple and offering him the right to worship but he insisted that God has come to him so he needs to take care of God.  He constructed a beautiful temple out of which old entrance gate, wooden hall and original sanctum sanctorum can be seen even now. Wooden hall is decorated with intricately carved wooden columns and various frames of different gods are put on the columns. When I visited the temple I  saw a few students studying in this peaceful atmosphere which was a very pleasant sight. The Sanctum sanctorum contains the white marble idol of Narsinh which is shown seated in the lotus position. It is four-handed and supporting goddess Laxmi with one hand sitting in his lap. A carved arch is seen behind the idol with a silver snake covering the idol with its hood.

Currently, the tenth generation is looking after the temple management. Though the temple is private, it is open for devotees.

A short video to give you an inside peek of this temple.

 

 

Lord Narsinh: 4th Incarnation of Vishnu: As per Padma Puran on the 14th day of Shuklapaksha of the Vaishakh month of Hindu calendar, Bhagwan Narsinh appeared. He was having half-human and half-lion form, thus the name Narsinh. As per the Puranas, Bhakta Prahlad was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. His father, demon Hiranyakashyapu considered himself superior to even Gods and had become unruly and boastful. He had received a blessing that he cannot be killed by a human or bird or animal, he cannot be killed with water or wind or with any weapon, he could not be killed during the day or the night neither at home nor outside. Due to this blessing, he had become boastful and was committing atrocities against his subjects. He did not spare even his own son and started torturing him for worshipping Lord Vishnu. To destroy this demon and stop the suffering Lord Narsinh came to his rescue. He appeared from a column at the twilight in half human and half lion form and killed Hiranyakashyapu on his lap, exactly at the door with his nails. Thus Hiranyakashyapu was not able to get any benefit of his blessing and the Lord saved his ardent devotee Pralhad.

To calm the fierce form of  Narsinh, Sandalwood is applied to these idols, and also water and food donations take place at various temples of Narsinh across India.

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The main place of Lord Narsinh is considered in the Prahladpura temple in Multan of present-day Pakistan. Based on Bhakta Prahlad, the name of the place is called Prahladpura and it is believed that Nrusinh killed Hiranyakashyapu at this place.   Mr.Anant Joshi from the current generation had visited this place a brought some soil and brick from this place as a souvenir of this sacred place.

Interesting facts related to this temple.

Freedom fighter Vasudev Balwant Phadke used to stay here. It is said that in this time he had kept his sword in front of Swami Samarth of Akkalkot to get his blessings. As per the records, Shreedharswami and Balgandharv have also visited this place.

It is feared that this historical temple might be lost due to the road widening project so currently there is a movement going on to stop this.

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Hope this temple which an important part of our heritage stays safe and sound and future generations would be able to see it.

Reference:
पुणे व प्राचीन धार्मिक स्थाने
by D.D.Rege

*The best way to reach this place is to catch a bus and get down at S.P.College. The temple is within a walking distance from this place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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