A visit to any Ganesha temple can work wonders for a depressed soul, anytime and any day. There is a sense of tranquillity which soothes you immediately and makes you wish for a longer stay. Ganesha is the most beloved God in the Hindu cannon after the Holy Trinity. Known as the destroyer of obstacles, he is said to bring happiness, security and prosperity. You’ve surely seen Bollywood celebrities lining up to offer puja to Lord Ganesha. Ganesha temples in India are some of the best temples in the country in terms of grandeur (and also maintenance). Here is a list of 8 such Ganesha temples which worshipers must visit at least once in their lifetime:
1. Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai
The temple, well-known for its wish-granting capacity, is considered to be one of the best Ganesha temples in India. It has been awarded the ‘Best Trust Award’ for its outstanding and significant contribution to human welfare and social activities. Also, for the best of worshipers, the Trust Committee has set up online portals for booking pujas, making darshans and giving donation.
The beautiful idol in the temple is carved from a black stone and is positioned in between Riddhi and Siddhi, the goddesses of sanctity and prosperity – consorts of Lord Ganesha. The devotees strongly believe that if prayed for from the heart, Ganapati never disappoints.
2. Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple, Pune
Dagdusheth Halwai (originally Gadve) was a sweet-maker by profession. The golden Ganesha idol that resides inside is the most beautiful part of the temple. Millions of worshipers offer puja each year in this temple. The temple trust is one of the richest in the country.
They are known to work for old people and children. An old-age home known as Pitashree is operated by the Trust. They also work for the education of poor children. Religiously significant? Yes, this sure is.
3. Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple, Chittor
Located in Andhra Pradesh, the beautiful Kalipakam Vinayaka Temple or the Sri Varasaki Vinayaka Swami Temple was built by the erstwhile Chola king Kulothinga Chola I. The black Ganesha idol has white, yellow and red as the other three colours adoring his forehead.
Along with pujas and special aratis, festivities are a part of the temple. Brahmotsavam is a festival that starts from the day of the Vinayaka Chavithi and goes on for twenty days. Worshipers of Ganesha should not miss out on this temple.
4. Dodda Ganapathi Temple, Bangalore
This ancient Ganesha temple was constructed by Kempegowda I, also known as the founder of Bangalore. An 18 ft high idol of Ganesha can leave you spellbound with its beauty. This massive idol is actually carved out of a single huge stone. Legend has it that Kempegowda I found a mass of stones which resembled Ganesha, while he was walking down the road.
And guess what, the idol is said to be increasing on its right side every year. Worshippers gather in huge numbers, not only to offer prayers, but also to watch their idol being smeared in butter (Butter Coating).
5. Shree Maha Ganapathi Kshetram, Kottarakkara
The Shree Maha Ganapathi Kshetram in Kottarakkara is the most important and most visited Ganesha temple in Kerala. The temple worships the Gods and Goddesses Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, Murugan, Ayyappan and Nagaraja.
Ganapathi gets the major attention and attraction in this temple in spite of Lord Shiva being the most-worshipped. Most importantly, members of religions other than Hinduism are welcome here.
6. Shree Vinayaka Devaru Temple, Idagunji
The Shree Vinayaka Temple, at Idagunji in the Northern part of the Kannada district, is one of its main attractions. The temple is as old as 1500 years. The idol of Ganesha has only two hands – one holding a lotus and the other, a ‘Modhaka’. A ‘Panchakhadya’ is a speciality here.
It is a special prasad prepared for the Lord. The temple has the figures of Shiva and Parvati who are the parents of Lord Ganesha. Beautiful architecture and art-work will surely amaze you once you visit this temple.
7. Ucchi Pillayar Koil Temple, Trichy
Built in the 7th century, the Ucchi Pillayar Koil temple is situated in Trichy in Tamil Nadu. The temple is placed on the tip of a huge rock and has got some wonderful rock architecture. A splendid view of Trichy awaits you when you climb through the steps cut through the rock, to reach the temple.
The temple, also known as the Rockfort Temple, is the abode of both Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. The Archaeological Department of India takes care of the maintenance of this temple. You should visit this temple if you are a worshiper of Lord Ganesha.
8. Vigneshwara Temple, Ozar
The Vigneshwara temple is one of the Ashtavinayak or Eight Ganesha Temples of Maharashtra. While Siddhivinayak is the wish-fulfilling form of Ganesha, Vigneshwara is the obstacle remover form of the Lord. An ancient temple, it finds mention in the Mudgala Purana, Skanda Purana and the Tamil Vinayaka Purana.
The ancient temple was probably destroyed by the Portuguese when they conquered this region. It was rebuilt by Chimaji Appa, brother and military commander of the Peshwa Baji Rao I, in 1785 AD after the Maratha victory over the Portuguese. Appa also installed the golden top on the temple spire.
Do visit for the blessings of the Lord.