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Ranjangaon (Ashtavinayak)

Earlier known as Manipur, Ranjangaon near Pune is believed to have been created by none other than Lord Shiva. This was after Shiva prayed to Ganesha to make him victorious in a battle with the demon Tripurasur. It is said that this incident took place on the day of Tripuri Pournima, following which Shiva set up Ganesha’s idol in the form of ‘Mahaganapati’. The temple here is now known by that name. It is one of the ‘ashtavinayakas’ (8 Ganeshas) of Maharashtra.

There are several references to Ranjangaon in the Puranas and according to one of the legends Rishi Grutsamada was an ardent devotee of Ganesha. A boy was born out of his sneeze. This red-skinned boy, named Tripurasur, was highly ambitious and cruel too. Grutsamada asked him to worship Lord Ganesha who, pleased with the boy’s devotion, gifted him three cities of gold, silver and iron. Inflated with pride at the grant of this gift, Tripurasur then conquered heaven, hell and earth in his quest for absolute power. The people residing there prayed to Lord Shiva and requested him to relieve them from the demonic ways of Tripurasur. Shiva pitched a fierce battle but could not wield control over the demon because of having forgotten to ask for Ganesha’s blessings before the commencement of the battle. He then prayed to Ganesha to grant him victory. Thus blessed, he destroyed the three cities of the demon with a single arrow.

Located on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway, 51 kilometers from Pune, the majestic temple is the fourth in the ‘ashtavinayaka’ circuit. It faces east and has a huge entrance with two large-sized ‘dwarapalas’ on either side. The temple is designed in such a way that during ‘dakshinayan’ and ‘uttarayan’ (movement of the sun to the south and north) the rays of the sun fall directly on the deity. The sanctum of this temple was constructed by Thorale Madhavrao Peshwa and the hall by Sardar Kibe of Indore. The image of Mahaganapati is seated, faces east and has his trunk to the left. The forehead of the deity is exceptionally broad. Here, Bhadrapad Chaturthi is celebrated in a big way. Ranjangaon is also an industrial hub and home to many manufacturing set-ups.

Distance from Mumbai is 180 kms