Do you know which temple inspired the idea of the grand public celebration of the annual Ganesha festival in India? It’s the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple. Lying in Budhwar Peth in Pune, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Every year, it stuns more than a hundred thousand pilgrims with the precious 10 million INR Ganesha idol.
Even the chief ministers and celebrities of Maharashtra join the worshippers. In the year 2022, the ancient temple will turn 130. So, how about booking an air ticket to visit this historical site on its milestone anniversary? Whether you stay in Delhi or elsewhere, catch a flight to Pune soon! Let history colour your mundane work-from-home days.
Here’s everything about why and how to visit the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune.
Flashback to the past. Dagadusheth Shinde was a Marathi sweet maker (“halwai”) and trader. Gradually, as he became a famous sweet seller and businessman, people began to call him Dagadusheth Halwai. In the late 1800s, a plague epidemic took away his sons. Then a kind sage asked Dagadusheth to erect a Ganesha temple in Pune to serve both his family and the world. Later, Govindsheth, his adopted nephew, placed a new Ganesha idol.
The first idol still lies in the Kondwa Pitashree Ashram Temple. Govindsheth and his mother arranged various festivals like Datta Jayanti and Ganeshotsav. His son, Dattatray replaced the second idol with a third one. The latter is the presently worshipped idol, the ‘Navasacha Ganpati’. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the leading Indian Nationalist, was associated with Dagdusheth and Govindsheth.
Witnessing their dedication and the holy task of building the shrine, Tilak founded the idea of celebrating the annual Ganeshotsav here. It challenged the British Raj’s bars at public meetings. Soon, this changed India’s history.
At the outset, the two temple sentinels, Jay and Vijay, grab attention in their marble work. The simple construction of the shrine lets you view the deity and the proceedings even from the road. The 2.2 m tall Ganesha idol sits embellished with about 40 kilos of gold. Every offering of money and gold envelops the Lord with further riches. The heaped offerings of coconut will marvel you no less. Daily “arti” and “abhisheka” of the Lord create the divine ambience. This aura is warmed up by the mesmerising lighting of the shrine during the Ganeshotsav.
Wondering how far is the shrine from the airport where your Delhi to Pune flight lands? Just 12 km. Time will fly faster as your wanderlust soars! Find the shrine open from 6 am to 1 pm. But it’ll welcome you throughout the day during the Ganesha festival. If you want to avoid the heavy crowd, visit around the afternoon time. Once you’re there, immerse yourself in the worldly pleasures of the place. The lovely Prasad, the “bhajans”, the Atharvashirsha recitations, and catching the long-awaited sight of “Bappa”— all will make your trip memorable!
Capture all these memories in prized photographs before you take a flight back from Pune to Delhi. Visit the shrine again to quench your mind with serenity— again!