07 August 2009
RANJANGAON - MAHAGANAPATI - ASHTA VINAYAK (GANESH TEMPLE)
Ranjangaon is a village located at a distance of about 50 km from Pune, enroute to Aurangabad in Maharashtra, and it houses a shrine to Mahaganapati. Ranjangaoncha Mahaganapati is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha.
Legend has it that a demon by name Tripurasura built three powerful citadels (the evil Tripuram forts); with a boon of invincibility granted to him by Shiva he caused suffering to all beings in the heavens and on earth. Upon hearing the fervent appeals of the Gods, Shiva intervened, and realized that he could not defeat the demon. It was upon hearing Narada Muni's advice that Shiva saluted Ganesha and then shot a single arrow that pierced through the citadels, bringing an end to the demon. Shiva, the slayer of the Tripura citadels is enshrined at Bhimashankaram nearby. A variation of this legend is commonly known in South India. Ganesha is said to have caused the axle in Shiva's chariot to break, as the latter headed to battle the demon without saluting Ganesha before he set out. Upon realizing his act of omission, Shiva saluted his son Ganesha, and then proceded victoriously to a short battle against the powerful demon. ( It is to be mentioned here that Acharapakkam - an ancient temple in Tamilnadu glorified by the 1st millennium tamil hymns enshrining Shiva, is associated with this legend, as well as Tiruvirkolam and Tiruvatikai - both over 1200 years old, associated with the legend of Tripurasamhaaram). (The tamil lines of 15th century saint poet Arunagirinathar: 'Muppuram eri seida, Acchivan urai ratham, acchadu podi seida athi deera' where he describes Ganesha as the valiant hero, who caused the axle of Shiva's chariot to crumble to dust, as Shiva headed out to destroy Tripurasura, narrate this legend.)
The Temple: Mahaganapati is portrayed, seated on a lotus, flanked by his consorts Siddhi and Ridhi. The temple dates back to the period of Peshwa Madhav Rao.
Festivals: As with all other Vinayak temples, Ganesha Chaturti is celebrated in great splendor here.