Bhimashankar
Shivtirtha Bhimashankar

Mahaganapati, Raanjangaon

Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripurasura here. The temple was built by Shiva where he worshipped Ganesha, and the town he set up was called Manipur which is now known as Ranjangaon. Ranjangaon Ganpati is one among the Ashtavinayak, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha. This Temple Ganpati Idol was inaugurated and donated by "Khollam" Family one of the Gold Smith Family in Ranjangaon. According to the history the temple was built in between 9th and 10th century. While going from the Pune - Nagar highway the route is Pune - Koregaon - then via Shikrapur; Rajangaon is 21 km before Shirur. From Pune it is 50 km. The idol faces the east, is seated in a cross-legged position with a broad forehead, with its trunk pointing to the left. It is said that the original idol is hidden in the basement, having 10 trunks and 20 hands and is called Mahotkat, however, the temple authorities deny existence of any such idol. Constructed so that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol (during the Southward movement of the sun), the temple bears a distinct resemblance to the architecture reminiscent of the 9th and 10th Centuries and faces the east. Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa used to visit this temple very often and built the stone sanctum around the idol and in 1790 AD Mr. Anyaba Dev was authorised to worship the idol. 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. The temple of Maha Ganpati is very close to the centre of the town Ranjangaon. The temple was erected during the rule of the Peshwas. Peshwa Madhavrao had constructed the inner sanctum, to house the swayambhoo (naturally found) idol. The temple faces east. It has an imposing main gate which is guarded by two statues of Jay and Vijay. The temple is designed in such away that during Dakshinayan[ the apparent movement of the sun to the south] the rays of the sun fall directly on the deity. The deity is seated and flanked on both sides by Riddhi and Siddhi. The trunk of the deity turns to the left. There is a local belief that the real statue of Mahaganpati is hidden in some vault and this statue has ten trunks and twenty arms. But there is nothing to substantiate this belief. Festivals: As with all other Ashtavinayak (Ganesha) temples, Ganesha Chaturti is celebrated in great splendor here. Legend has it that when a sage had once sneezed he gave out a child; since being with the sage the child learnt many good stuff about lord ganesha, however had inherited many evil thoughts within; when he grew he developed in to a demon by name Tripurasura; thereafter he prayed to Lord Shiva and got three powerful citadels (the evil Tripuram forts) of Gold, Silver and Bronze with a boon of invincibility until all the three are in linear; with the boon to his side 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 proceeded victoriously to a short battle against the powerful demon. (See Acharapakkam - an ancient temple in Tamil Nadu glorified by the 1st millennium Tamil hymns enshrining Shiva 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.)