Ganesha is the Hindu God of learning, prosperity and unity. He is also known as the remover of all obstacles. No Hindu religious ceremony is complete without worshipping Lord Ganesha. He is portrayed in all the Hindu scriptures as an elephant headed deity. He has many forms and literally 'Ashtvinayak' means eight forms of the Lord in Sanskrit. Ganesha is the son of the Hindu Gods Shiva and Parvati. The Ashtvinayak Temples are the eight different manifestations of Lord Ganesha's form.
The form of Lord Ganesha in each of these temples has a different legend or myth behind it. Also, the tusk of each of the deities in the temple is different from the other. Most of these temples have been constructed in a pre-ascertained sequence around Pune. There are many famous temples of Lord Ganesha all over the globe, and these Ashtvinayak temples are the among the most well known among them.
The eight Ashtvinayak temples are:
- Moreshwar Temple or Mayureshwar Temple in Morgaon, Pune district in Maharashtra.
- Siddhivinayak Temple in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra.
- Ballaleshwar Temple in Pali, Raigad District Maharashtra.
- Varadavinayak Temple near Karjat and Khopoli of Raigad District, Maharastra.
- Chintamani Temple in Theur, District Pune, Mahrashtra.
- Girijatmaj Temple in Lenyadri, District Pune, Mahrashtra.
- Vighnahar Temple in Ozar, District Pune, Mahrashtra.
- Mahaganapati Temple in Ranjangaon,District Pune.
It is said that there is a definite trait of visiting these Ashtvinayak temples. According to popular Hindu beliefs you have to visit these temples according to the order given above. Among them some are Swayambhu, which means that no humans created these murtis. They were crafted by nature in the form that they are found today.
People visit these temples because they hope that Lord Ganesha would take away all their troubles and fill their life with happiness and prosperity. According to popular Hindu beliefs it is also said that Ganesha is one of those Hindu Gods who never leaves his devotees empty handed.
Every temple has a significance of its own here. For example the Moreshwar or Mayureshwar form is said to be manifested with both the Riddi (intelligence) and Siddhi (capability). The idol in this temple has the tusk on the right side and is considered to be quite difficult to please. While on the other hand the Ballaleshwar Temple is the only temple that is known by the name of its devotee. Similarly all other Ashtvinayak Temples have a significance and history related to its own.
If any one is able to visit all these temples of one of these most popular Hindu Gods then they will be relieved of all their problems in life. And that is one of the reasons why Lord Ganesha is also known as Vignaharta.