Ganesha, also worshipped as Ganapati, Gananatha, Gajanana, Pillaiyar and, Vinayaka is one of the well-known and mostly worshipped deities of Hindu pantheon. In vedas Ganesha is described as the Lord of all the Jeeva Ganas and of the Indriya Ganas.
With reference to Kundalini Yoga, Ganesha resides in the first chakra Muladhara which then holds, guides and support other six chakras in the human body. The form of Ganapati also has immense symbolic significance and conveys messages for the mental and spiritual well-being and upliftment of an individual. Elephant head represents Knowledge and Wisdom, Small focused eyes represents concentration, Microvision, attention to detail for success Big ears and small mouth represents listen more and talk less. Trunk represents High efficiency and adaptability. Single Tusk represents One pointedness. Lower right hand represents blessings for devotees
Axe represents cutting all emotional bonds. Ankusa with a rope represents pulling his devotees to spiritual path to attain ones individual highest goal. Modaka represents sweet result of following spiritual path. Belly represents complete acceptance and digest the experience – be it good or bad. Rats represents desire considered as greedy and active.So under Ganesha one can keep under control of desires.
Here are the most visited temples of Ganesha during Ganeshotsav or Ganesh Chaturthi
1. || Shree Siddhivinayak Mandir ||
The Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shri Ganesh. It is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra. Siddhivinayak is well known as “Navasacha Ganapati” or “Navasala Pavanara Ganapati” (‘Ganapati bestows whenever humbly genuinely prayed a wish’ in Marathi) among devotees.
The idol of Shree Siddhivinayak was carved out of a single black stone and is 2’6” (750mm) high and 2′ (600mm) wide with the trunk on the right. This is rather unusual appearance of Lord Ganesh. The upper right and left hands hold a lotus and an axe respectively while the lower right and left hands hold a rosary (japmala) and bowl full of “Modak” respectively. As it resembles the sacred thread, a snake appears on the left shoulder to right side belly. On the forehead of deity is an eye, which almost looks like the third eye of Lord Shiva. On both sides of the Lord Ganesh idol, are placed one idol each of Riddhi and Siddhi goddesses who are appearing like peeping out of the Ganesh idol from behind. Because of these two deities along with Lord Ganesh, this temple is known as the Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple. These goddesses signify sanctity, success, wealth and prosperity.
2. || Ashtavinayaka – Maharashtra ||
Ashtavinayaka literally means “eight Ganeshas” in Sanskrit. Ganesh is the Hinduism/Hindu deity of unity, prosperity & learning and removes obstacles. The term refers to eight Ganeshas. Ashtavinayaka yatra trip refers to a pilgrimage to the eight Hindu temples in Maharashtra state of India that house eight distinct idols of Ganesha, in a pre-ascertained sequence. The Ashtavinayaka yatra or pilgrimage covers the eight ancient holy temples of Ganesha which are situated around Pune. Each of these temples has its own individual legend and history, as distinct from each other as the murtis in each temple. The form of each murti of Ganesha and His trunk are distinct from one another.The various names of Lord Ganesh are Moreshwar, Mahaganpati, Chintamani, Girijatmak, Vighneshwar, Siddhivinayak, Ballaleshwar and Varad Vinayak . These Temples are situated at Morgaon, Ranjangaon, Theur, Lenyadri, Ojhar, Siddhatek, Pali and Mahad.
3. || Kanipakam Vinayaka ||
Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple or Sri Varasidhi Vinayaka Swamy Temple is a Hindu temple of Ganesha. It is located in Kanipakam in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, India. The temple was constructed in the early 11th century CE by the Chola king Kulothunga Chola I and was expanded further in 1336 by the Emperors of Vijayanagara dynasty.
According to the legend of the temple there were three brothers and each one had a handicap. Viz., Dumb, Deaf and Blind. They were earning out their livelihood by cultivating a small piece of land. they found that the water in the well got dried up and they could no longer continue their job. One of them got into the well and started digging it up. He was taken aback to see the iron implement hitting a stone like formation. Later, he was shocked to see blood oozing out from it. Within a few seconds the entire water in the well, turned blood red in colour. Thus, startled by this divine sight, all the three became normal getting rid of their deformities. As soon as the villagers came to know about this miracle, they thronged to the well and tried to deepen the well further. But their attempt proved futile because the ‘swayambhu’ idol (the self-manifested) of Lord Vinayaka emerged from the swirling waters. Ultimately they offered many number of coconuts with all prayers- modestly kneeling before the new idol, offered “MANGALARATHI” etc. They declared the idol as “SWAYAMBHUHU” and tendered a number of coconuts. The coconuts water flowed into a channel to a distance of more than one and a quarter acres. The indication of this led to the modification in the usage of the word “KANIPARAKAM” and later pronounced as KANIPAKAM. Even today the idol is in the original well and the springs of the well are perennial and eternal. The holy water from the well is offered to the devotees as theertham.
4. || Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple ||
The giant monolithic Ganesha statue is locally called Sasivekalu (mustard seed) Ganesha. This is located on the southern foothill of the Hemakuta Hill.
In Hindu mythology Lord Ganesha (also known as Ganapathi or Vinayaka) is notorious for his food habit. One day he ate so much of food that his tummy almost busted. He just caught a snake and tied it around his tummy as a belt to save his tummy from bursting.
On this statue you can see the snake carved around his tummy. Also he holds the goad, pasha (noose), and his broken tusk.
The hand which holds modak (a kind of sweet ball) is broken and not reconstructed. This monolithic statue carved out of a huge boulder measures about 2.4 meters (8 feet). An open pavilion is build around the statue. According to inscriptions found nearby this pavilion was built by a trader from Chandragiri (in present day Andhra Pradesh)in 1506 AD, in memory of one of the Vijayanagara king – Narasimha II (1491-1505 AD).
5. || Gokarna Maha Ganapati Temple, Gokarna ||
Located near the Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna is a Hindu temple located in Gokarna, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Uttara Kannada district in the Indian state of Karnataka.
According to the legend Sri Maha Ganapathi Temple was built in honour of the boy Ganapathi, who deceived the demon Ravana and saved the Atmalinga that is now installed in the Mahabaleshwar Temple. The temple has a granite image of Ganesha deified in it which is 5 feet (1.5 m) tall and two-handed; at the top of its head there is hole that is stated to be a mark of a violent blow conjectured to have been inflicted by Ravana. The temple has its own identity and is also known as Sidda Ganapati.
6. || Ranthambore Ganesh ji (Rajasthan) ||
When we say “Pratham Ganesha” in Hindu religion, it is believed to be the Trinetra Ganesha of Ranthambore. Located in Ranthambore fort of Rajasthan state of India, The Trinetra Ganesha Temple is the famous and oldest temple of Lord Ganesha in Rajasthan that comprises of his whole family all together at one place. The temple is about 12 kms from Sawai Madhopur and is well established in Ranthambore fort.
History Behind Temple:
According to the history behind this temple, it is said that in 1299 AD, a war took place between King Hammeer and Alauddin Khilji at the Ranthambore fortification. During the war time, they filled there godowns with foods and other necessary things in Ranthambore Fort, where the King dwells. As the war lasted for many years, the stored things in godowns were getting over. King Hammer was a great devotee to God Ganesh. One night when he was sleeping, Lord Ganesh came in his dream and said that all the lacking and problems would be over by tomorrow morning. Next day morning, an idol of Lord Ganesh with three eyes (Trinetra) stamped from one of the walls of the fort. Also, a miracle took place and the war got over while the godowns got filled again. In 1300 AD, King Hammer built a temple of Lord Ganesh. He placed the idol of Lord Ganesh, Riddhi Siddhi (his wife) and two.
7. || Karpaka Vinayakar Temple, Pillaiyarpatti (Tamil Nadu) ||
Pillaiyarpatti is located near Thiruppathur, Sivagangai District of Tamil Nadu. It is situated between Kundrakkudi and Tiruppatthur. Pilliyarpatti is 12 Kilometers away from Thiruppatthur and 3 kilometers from Kundrakkudi. Pillaiyarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar is carved out in a cave of Pillaiyarpatti Hillocks. Lord Vinayagar is carved out from the rock of the cave. Lord Thiruveesar is also carved in the rock of this cave. The temple was built under patronisation of Pandyas. The age of the cave temple is 2500 years or more. There are 14 stone Sculptures in the cave ( dated from 500 BC to 1284 AD ). These stone Sculptures state the ancient names of Pillaiyarpatti such as Ekkattoor, Thiruveenkaikkudi, Maruthangudi, and Rajanarayanapuram.
Pillaiyarpatti temple is a rock-cut temple located in Thiruppatthur, Sivagangai District. It was built after viewing a hillock by the early Great Pandiya kings. The image of Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar and that of a Siva Lingam were carved out of a stone by a sculptor named Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan who put his signature on a stone inscription, in Tamil Language used between the 2nd and 5th century AD, found even today in the sanctum. It can be concluded that the icon of Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar must have been carved around the 4th century AD.
Pillaiyar (Vinayagar), the God of Victory is the main deity here in the name, Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar. This temple is the only one in Tamil Nadu which contains a 6 feet rock-cut Pillaiyar deity. Vinayagar’s trunk is curved at the right side (Valampuri Vinayagar) which is also a unique feature. Lord Karpaga Vinayagar is seated facing northern side.
8. || Ucchi Pillayar Temple ||
Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Temple, Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu)
Ucchi Pillayar koil, is a 7th-century Hindu temple, one dedicated to Lord Ganesh located a top of Rockfort, Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India. Mythologically this rock is the place where Lord Ganesh ran from King Vibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.
The Rock Fort temple stands 83m tall perched atop the rock. The smooth rock was first cut by the Pallavas but it was the Nayaks of Madurai who completed both the temples under the Vijayanagara empire
Vibhishana, though he supported Rama, was basically an Asura, hence the Devas wanted to stop this idea of an Asura taking Lord’s supreme form to his Kingdom. They request the help of the Remover of obstacles and God of learning, Lord Vinayaka and the Lord accepts the plan. Vibhishana, while on his back to his Kingdom, goes through Trichi, and wanted to take his bath in the river Kaveri and do his daily rituals. However, he is perplexed as the deity, once kept in land, can never be removed and has to be in that place forever.
As a solution, Vibishana tries to find someone to hold the deity while he was taking bath. He finds the Lord Vinayaka under disguise of a cowherd boy. As per the plan, when Vibishana is fully into water, Vinayaka takes the deity and keeps it firmly in sand, in the banks of kaveri. On seeing this, the angry Vibhishana chases the boy, to punish him, and boy keeps running and climbs over the rock near the Kaveri bank. Vibhishana finally reaches the boy and hits him on the fore-head. One can see a pit in the forehead of the idol even today. The little boy then reveals himself to be Vinayaka . Vibishana immediately apologizes and the Lord gives him his blessings, reveals that the idol is destined to remain in Srirangam and sends him off to Lanka.
The place in which the Ranganathan deity was kept was later covered in deep forests, due to disuse and after a very long time, it was discovered when a Chola king chasing a parrot found the deity accidentally. He then established the Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam as one of the largest temple complexes in the world. Meanwhile, the Pallavas built the Vinayaka temple and the Thayumanaswamy temple, in the rock which Vinayaka used to escape Vibishana.
9. || Madhur Maha Ganapathi Temple ||
Madhur Maha Ganapathi Temple, Kasaragod (Kerala)
This is one of the most famous Ganapathi temples of six ganpathi temples of ancients Tulunadu.
Madhur temple was originally Madhanentheswara (Shiva) Temple and as the lore goes, an old so called “low caste” lady “Madaru” discovered an “Udbhava Murthy” (a statue that was not made by a human) of shiva linga. The Ganapathy statue was drawn by a priest’s son, a small Brahmin boy, on the walls of the Garbhagriha(sanctum sanctorum) while playing. Day by day it became big and fat; so that the boy called Ganapathi as “boddajja” or “bodda ganesha”. The legend of Kumble seme says Tipu Sultan wanted to demolish the temple like Adooru Mahalingeswara temple during his invasion of Coorg, Tulunadu, and Malabar. But after drinking water from the well of the temple, he changed his mind on attacking and demolishing the Garbhagudi and marched towards Malabar. But to satisfy his soldiers and Islamic scholars he made a cut with his sword symobolising the attack. The mark is still visible on the building that is built around the temple well.
10. || Dodda Ganapathi Temple, Bangalore ||
The famous Dodda Ganesha Temple is located on the Bull Temple Road in Basavanagudi, Bangalore. This ancient temple is found just next to Bull temple and close to Bugle Rock Park. Dodda Ganesha Temple is one of the popular landmarks in Bangalore.
Dodda Ganesha Temple at Basavanagudi was constructed by Kempegowda I, the founder of Bangalore. Once upon a time while he was strolling, he found a number of rocks and one of the boulders had a shape of Ganesha engraved on them. Kempegowda, therefore ordered his sculptors to convert the shape into a massive as well as fantastic single stone idol of Lord Ganesha.
The huge Ganesha of this popular temple is 18 ft tall in height and 16 ft wide. The lord is also generally known as Shakthi Ganapathi or Satya Ganapthi. It is usually believed that the idol of Dodda Ganesha Temple at Basavanagudi is growing on its right side.
The Dodda Ganesha Temple at Basavanagudi attracts devotees from different localities of Bangalore. Devotees come here to get blessings of Lord Ganapathi. What make this Ganapathi idol more eye-catching to the people is, the different sorts of decorations which are done during the week. One of the most famous decorations is the butter coating (Benne Alankara) to the idol. Over 100 KGs of butter (Benne) is needed for to apply to the idol of Dodda Ganesha Temple.