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Maharashtra: Ashtavinayak Yatra Or Pilgrimage: Day 3

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We got a little late because we had to check out of our hotel this third day being our last of the tour. Our bus was underway around 7am. This morning we were served breakfast at the hotel. Vighneshwar Temple:  Our seventh temple of the Ashtavinayaka tour was the Vighneshwar Temple at Ozhar. It is situated on the banks of Kukadi River, 95 km away from Pune city, just off the Pune-Nashik Highway, in the Junnar taluka of Pune district. The temple is enclosed on all sides by high stone walls, and its pinnacle is made of gold. The Ganesha form worshipped here is called Vighneshwar, ‘Lord of obstacles") or Vighnahar (spelt also as Vignahara, "Remover of obstacles") and is associated with the legend of Ganesha defeating Vignasura , the demon of obstacles. The temple is surrounded by a walled compound with a large gateway flanked by two large stone Dvarapala (gatekeepers) sculptures and a row of four musicians in bas relief on the lintel. One can view the L

Maharashtra: Ashtavinayaka Yatra Or Pilgrimage: Day 2

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We started at 6.20am on Day-2. On the way we were treated to a bonus visit to a Vaishnodevi temple with an underground watery tunnel leading to the altar in Pune city. As the morning sun broke through we were heading for the first Ganapati temple and our fourth of Ashtavinayaka. Chintamani Temple:  We reached our first stop Theur—25km from Pune city around 9am. The Chintamani temple here is believed to be one of the larger and more famous of the eight revered shrines. The main temple hall has a black stone water fountain in it.  Beside the central shrine dedicated to Ganesha, there are three smaller shrines in the temple complex dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu-Lakshmi and Hanuman. Lord Ganesha is worshiped by the name ‘Chintamani’ (‘Chinta’ meaning ‘worry’) in this temple as it is believed he provides deliverance from all worries. Siddhivinayak Temple:  After breakfast at Theur we reached our next pilgrimage Shree Siddhivinayak’s Temple situated in the village of Siddhatek

Maharashtra: Ashtavinayaka Yatra Or Pilgrimage: Day 1

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Ashtavinayaka means ‘eight Ganeshas’. Lord Ganesha is the Hindu deity for unity, prosperity, learning and removal of all obstacles or crisis. These eight Ganeshas are worshiped in eight ancient temples situated in different parts of Maharashtra—most of them around Pune. The Ashtavinayaka Yatra or pilgrimage covers all of these eight temples and the Ganesha idol in each of them has its own distinct local history and legend. It is believed that these idols are created and nourished by nature only and not made by human hands. According to Hindu scriptures one has to visit the eight temples in one go and in a particular sequence. Breaks in terms of stay in hotels are allowed, but one cannot return home in between. As for the sequence most tour packages are made on the basis of convenience of pilgrims and suitability of travel routes. This pilgrimage is considered to be very important in Maharashtra. There are tours from both Mumbai and Pune. From Mumbai the tours take three day