Lord Ganesha is the Lord of wisdom, prosperity, security, happiness, success, education, good fortune, and destroyer of obstacles. Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, he is superior to all Hindu gods and is always worshipped first. There are several temples in India dedicated to the elephant god that devotees must visit at least once in a lifetime. These temples are known for their architecture as well for the history behind them. Here we bring you 10 Ganesha temples in India that are a must visit.
Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai
Built in 1801, the temple is the richest in Mumbai and is also known as ‘Navasacha Ganpati’ meaning ‘Ganesha who bestows whenever genuinely worshipped for a wish. The popular temple was built by Laxman Vithu Patil and was funded by a childless woman named Deubai Patil, who wished that Lord grant children to other barren women. The temple is frequently visited by Bollywood celebrities and politicians. In 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook began his India trip from the temple. The trust committee has also set up online portals wherein devotees can book pujas, make online darshan and give a donation.
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple, Pune
The temple boasts a rich history of over a century. The 7.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide idol is adorned with around 8 kilograms of gold. In the late 1800s, Dagdusheth Gadve a sweet seller and a rich businessman lost his son in a plague epidemic. This left Dagdusheth and his wife in depression. To get rid of the depression their guru Shri Madhavnath Maharaj recommended them to build a Ganesha temple. The construction was completed in 1893. Indian Nationalist leader and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak was a close friend of Dagdusheth and it was here that the idea of celebrating Ganesh festival struck Tilak.
Ganpatipule Temple, Ratnagiri
The 400-year-old Ganpati idol faces the West, unlike most idols, face eastwards, so as to guard the Western gates. It is believed that the idol in the temple is self-evolved. The temple is constructed in a way that the sunlight directly falls on the idol during the month of February to November. Devotees take a ‘pradakshina’ around the hill as a form of showing obeisance.
Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Koil Temple, Tamil Nadu
The temple is located on the 83 m tall rock fort in the Tiruchirappalli. According to the legend, Vibhishana, the younger brother of Asura king Ravana helps Lord Rama to rescue his wife Sita who was kidnapped by Ravana. As a token of love Rama gives him an idol of worship of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu. The idol once places in the land will be in that place forever. As Vibhishana was an asura, the devas didn’t want him to take the idol to his kingdom. They requested Lord Vinayaka to help them. While Vibhishana was on his way he came across river Kaveri and decided to take a dip. Lord Vinayaka took the disguise of a cowherd boy decides to help him. As soon as Vibhishana jumps into the water Vinayaka firmly keeps the idol on the sand. On seeing this Vibhishana gets angry and chases the boy who climbs the rock near the river. Vibhishana gets hold of the boy and hits him on his forehead (one can see the mark even today) but later apologizes when he learns that the boy is Vinayaka. Lord forgives him and reveals that the idol is destined to stay there. Today, the Archaeological Department of India takes care of the maintenance of the temple.
Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple, Chittoor
The temple was constructed in the 11th century by the Chola King Kulothunga Chola I and is known for its historic structure and intrinsic designs. The idol has three colours -white, yellow and red – on its forehead. It is believed that taking a dip in the holy water of the temples helps to get rid of sin and problems. The annual festival of the temple is Brahmotsavam which is celebrated during Vinayaka Chaturthi.
Moti Dungri Ganesh Temple, Jaipur
Built in 1761, the temple is located on top of the Moti Dungri hill and is surrounded by a fort with the same name. The idol is said to be 500-year-old. The structure of the temple is built in the Nagara style and is based on the model of a Scottish castle. There is also a Shiva lingam in the temple complex which is open only once a year on Mahashivratri.
Kalamassery Mahaganapathy Temple, Kerala
The temple is located in North Kalamassery and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha including Subramanian, Navagrahas, Shiva, Parvati, and Rama. The temple is built in 1980 and has a simple construction and covers an area of 5,000 square feet. Since the last two decades, Ashta Dravya Maha Ganapathy Havana and Aanayoottu are organised annually on the first day of Karkkidakom month of the Malayalam calendar. Gajapuja is also organised once in four years.
Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Puducherry
Constructed during the French territory, Manakula Vinayagar Temple is a popular pilgrimage site and tourist destination in Puducherry. The temple has an elephant, where visitors offer a coin to seek blessings from him. There is also a golden chariot in the temple which is made with an aim to collect donations from the devotees. The chariot is made with 7.5 kg gold.
Ganesh Tok Temple, Gangtok
The temple is situated 6 km from Gangtok town and is among the top places to visit in Gangtok. Lush green valleys and Mount Khangchendzonga adds to the beauty of the place.
Ranthambore Ganesh Temple, Rajasthan
No wonder Ranthambore is one of the best tourist places to visit in India. Apart from the national park, the place is also home to Ranthambore Ganesh Temple. The temple is located atop Ranthambore’s historic 1000-year-old fort. The temple is believed to be 6,500 years old. According to a popular belief, the temple received the wedding invitation of Lord Krishna and Rukmani and since then there is a tradition of sending wedding invitations and gifts to the temple.