One of the most popular and revered gods in the Hindu pantheon is undoubtedly Lord Ganesha. And while there are temples dedicated to him in almost every city and village of Maharashtra, and even other states, the ashtavinayakas (8 Ganeshas) hold special importance for the devout. One of these is at Morgaon. The temple here is known as the Mayureshwar Ganesh Mandir and is the foremost centre of worship of the Ganaptya sect. It is also a place associated with Morya Gosavi, the saint of this sect.
Located on the banks of the river Karha in the Baramati taluka of Pune district, this holy place has many legends associated with it. As per Hindu mythology, a demon called Sindhu was killed by Lord Ganesha at Morgaon. There is a strong belief in the minds of the faithful that the ashtavinayaka pilgrimage remains incomplete without a visit to Morgaon at the end of the circuit. Morgaon is the foremost centre of the Ganapatya sect which believes Lord Ganesha to be the supreme god. There are references to Morgaon in different ‘puranas’ and according to Ganesh Purana, Morgaon is one of the three important places of Ganesha and the only one on this earth. The other two are at Kailasa in heaven and the palace of Adi-Shesha in the ‘patala’ (the underworld). The Mudgal Purana has 22 chapters dedicated to Morgaon.
A legend states that Ganesha was born to the godly couple Shiva and Parvati in Treta Yug. The purpose of his birth was to kill Sindhu, the son of Chakrapani, the king of Mithila, and his wife Ugra. She is said to have conceived due to solar power and was unable to bear the heat radiating from the foetus. Ugra abandoned it in the ocean where a son was born from that foetus. The ocean returned it to Chakrapani, who named him Sindhu. The Sun God offered Sindhu a bowl of ‘amrit’ (nectar) which Sindhu swallowed. And that is how he got the power to terrorize the people of three worlds. On an appeal from the helpless people to save them from Sindhu, Ganesha cut him into pieces and removed the amrit from his body. Morever, since Ganesha rode on a peacock he was named Mayuresha or Moreshwar.
The exact date of the construction of the temple is unknown. However, it is said that Morgaon had the patronage of the Peshwas, the administrators of the Maratha Empire. The entrance of the temple faces north. It is situated on a small mound and hence one has to climb 11 steps to reach the Nagarkhana. The courtyard consists of two ‘deepmalas’. A mouse - the mount of Ganesha – sits in front of the temple and is 6 feet in height. The image of Ganesha has four hands carrying ‘pasha’ and ‘ankush’ in two hands. One hand rests on his knee and the other carries a ‘modak’.
Distance from Mumbai 217 km.