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Siddhatek (Ashtavinayak) (Ahmednagar)

One of the ‘ashtavinayaka’ (8 Ganeshas) temples in Maharashtra, the Siddhi Vinayak Mandir of Siddhatek is the only one in the Ahmednagar district. Located on the northern bank of the river Bhima in the Karjat taluka, it is close to the railway station of Daund and is accessible from the small village of Shirapur in Pune district, on the southern bank of the river, from where it can be reached by boat or a newly constructed bridge. The temple stands on a hillock, surrounded by thick foliage of Babul trees, which also makes it a tourist destination.

According to legend, Lord Brahma was inflated with pride, considered himself as the supreme God and started creating the earth. A number of obstacles blocked his creation. He then invoked Lord Ganesha, worshipped him at Siddhatek and received blessings from him. Then onwards his work went on smoothly.

According to the Mudgal Purana, at the beginning of the creation of the universe, the creator, Brahma, emerged from a lotus while Vishnu slept in his ‘yoganidra’. When Brahma started creating the universe, two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, rose from the dirt in Vishnu’s ear. The demons disturbed Brahma’s process of creation, thereby compelling Vishnu to wake up from his deep slumber. Vishnu therefore pitched a battle against the demons but could not defeat them since he had not invoked Ganesha – the god of beginning and obstacle removal – before the fight. Therefore Vishnu performed penance at Siddhatek, invoking Ganesha with his mantra – “Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah”. Pleased, Ganesha bestowed his blessings and various ‘siddhis’ (powers) on Vishnu, who returned to fight the demons and eventually slayed them. The place where Vishnu acquired ‘siddhis’ was thereafter known as Siddhatek.

The sanctum of the temple was built by Ahilyabai Holkar, the queen of Indore and Sardar Haripant Phadke, an official with the Peshwa rulers, built the Nagarkhana - a chamber which stored ‘nagaras’ (kettle drums) and a paved pathway to the main door of the temple. The idol of Ganesha is seated on a throne and is 3 ft high. The outer ‘sabha-mandapa’ (hall) – previously built by Mairal, a landlord from Baroda – was broken in 1939 and rebuilt in 1970.

The place is also famous as Shri Moraya Gosavi performed severe penance here and is supposed to have been given the order by Ganesha to go to Morgaon. Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon also achieved siddhi here because of strong penance. Sardar Peshwa Shri Haripant Phadke performed worship for 21 days and wrote some 21 chants in praise of Ganesha which are sung regularly in this temple.

A unique feature of the deity here is that Ganesha’s trunk is turned to the right. Usually, the trunk of Ganesha is depicted turned to his left. It is believed that the right-trunked Ganesha is very powerful, but difficult to please. The temple is thus considered as a ‘jagrut kshetra’ where the deity is said to be highly powerful. The temple, constructed in black stone, faces north. The ‘garbhagriha’ (sanctum) is 15 feet high and 10 feet wide. It has the ‘Jaya-Vijaya’ – the gatekeepers of Vishnu’s abode – brass sculptures flanking the central icon of Siddhi Vinayaka.

The festivals on bhadrapad and magh chaturthi are celebrated on a large scale at Siddhatek. A festival and fair is also held on Vijayadashami and Somavati Amavasya, a no-moon day that falls on a Monday.

Distance from Mumbai is 250 kms