Lord Ganesha is the most beloved, worshipped and respected Hindu deity. The son of Shiva and Parvati, Lord Ganesha is regarded as the remover of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences and the god of beginnings. Therefore, Lord Ganesha is always worshipped on special occasions such as starting a new business, beginning of ceremonies and rites, etc. Every year on Ganesh Chaturthi temples wear a festive look. On this day, devotees of Lord Ganesha flock to numerous temples dedicated to the lord to offer their prayers and seek blessings.
Here we present five popular Ganesha temples, which you can visit on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi:
1. Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai
Located in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, Shree Siddhivinayak Temple is one of the richest temples of the city. The temple was built in 1801 by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil. Thousands of Ganesha devotees visit the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha including politicians and Bollywood stars. In 2016 Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, visited India. He began his visit after offering morning prayers at the temple.
2. Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple, Pune
Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple, which is located in Pune, is the second most popular temple in the state of Maharashtra. The temple, which is visited by Ganesha devotees from all over the country, is noted for its intrinsic design and magnificent architecture. Apart from the common man, many celebrities as well as the chief minister of Maharashtra also visit the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha. The temple, which was completed in 1893, was built by Dagadusheth Halwai who was a sweetmaker in Pune and had lost his son to plague.
3. Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple, Chittoor
Vinayaka Temple is a very popular Ganesha temple and is located Kanipaakam in Chittoor district. It is an ancient temple dating back to the 11th century AD. Kulothunga Chola built the temple. It was further expanded in the early 14th century by the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. A large number of devotees visit the temple every year and also take a dip in the holy waters to rid themselves of their sins. Many devotees and tourists visit the temple during Vinayaka Chaturthi to be a part of the Brahmotsavam festival.
4. Ranthambore Ganesh Temple, Rajasthan
One of the most famous Ganesha temples in India, this temple is located in Rajasthan’s Ranthambore district. There is an interesting story behind the temple. According to a legend, the temple received the wedding invite of Lord Krishna and Rukmani. Thereafter, people from all parts of India began sending their wedding invitations to the temple. One of the most popular attractions of the temple is the Ganesh Mela, which is held every year on Ganesh Chaturthi and is visited by millions of people.
5. Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Koil Temple, Tamil Nadu
Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Koil Temple, Tamil Nadu is an ancient Ganesha temple dating back to the 7th century AD. Situated in Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, the temple is perched atop a rock, which is 272 feet high. The temple is of special significance to the Hindu community as it was here that Lord Ganesha placed an idol of Lord Ranganatha. According to mythology, after slaying Ravana, Lord Ram gifted the idol of Lord Ranganatha to Vibhisana. However, Vibhisana was instructed that wherever he placed the idol it would be permanently installed. Vibhisana decided to take the idol to Lanka much to the chagrin of the Gods as he was the brother of Ravana. They entreated Ganesha to stop Vibhisana. When Vibhisana reached the banks of Kaveri he wanted to take a dip in the river but did not want to place the idol on the ground. At that moment Ganesha appeared in the form of a cowherd and offered to hold the idol till the time Vibhasana took a dip. But as soon as the idol was in Ganesha’s hands he placed it on the ground and the idol was installed at the place.
Apart from these, there are many other Ganesha temples located all over the country and visited by numerous devotees all through the year.