Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Visiting Chintamani Ashtavinayak Ganapati Temple Theur

Devotees who embark on the Ashtavinayak Yatra make their fifth halt to pay obeisance to Lord Ganesha at the Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple at Theur (also referred to as Theoor). The holy place of Theur is located at the spot where 3 rivers meet – the Mula river, the Mutha river and the Bhima river.

How to reach Theur
  • If proceeding from Mumbai, you can take the Mumbai to Khandala road route. As soon as you cross the Bhor Ghat, the town of Theur can be located in Haveli Taluka, Pune District.
  • If proceeding from Pune, Theur is located about 22 ½ kms from the city. You can take the road route of the Pune-Solapur highway. The halts on the way are Hadaspur and Loni. At Loni you can ask for directions from the locals, as you may miss the left turning which takes you to Theur.
  • Another alternative from Pune is to board the State Public Transport buses which ply from Pune to Theur. You can board theses buses either from the Sarasbaug bus stand or the Poolgate bus stand.
Chintamani AshtavinayakTemple Origin
Shri Madhavrao Peshwa was a staunch devotee of Lord Ganesha in His form of Chintamani. He would take time off from administrative matters to visit the Ganapati temple at Theur to relax his mind. He even spent the last days of his life at Theur. 

It is also said that that Morya Gosavi of Chinchwadi attained ‘siddhi’ (divine knowledge) here & in honour of this attainment, his son Chintamani built this temple. Madhavrao Peshwa had it restored to its glory during his time. 

A Hindu mythological legend relates another story about how this temple came to be built here. This legend relates the story of a young prince named Kan (some stories refer to him as Gana or Ganasura) who, unlike his parents, did not have good values. He indulged in wrongful activities and was not of good character. One of his pastimes was to go hunting in the forest with his friends. One day he arrived at the ashram of Rishi Kapil, who welcomed him & invited Kan and his friends to have a meal. Kan looked in amazement at Rishi Kapil’s ashram made from bamboo and dried grass & laughed loudly saying, “How can a poor man like you feed so many of us?!” On hearing this, Rishi Kapil removed a simple chain from his neck on which hung an invaluable gem called Chintamani. He then placed it at the center of a square stool. He bowed to it with folded hands and said a short prayer. Immediately, to the astonishment of Kan & his friends, a huge dining hall appeared. It was magnificent & spacious, with silver stools for sitting and in front of each, a square stool on which silver plates appeared filled with a variety of delectable dishes. The food was, literally, heavenly in taste, having been conjured up with divine intervention. Kan & his friends were very happy on having feasted on such heavenly food. 

Kan asked Rishi Kapil as to who had given him the precious gem. So then Rishi Kapil narrated the story about how he had once helped Lord Indra who had, as a reward, given him the Chintamani. Kan then said, “You live in a forest & are a sadhu, What use of such a gem to you? Me being a royal prince can use it better. So better you give the gem to me.” However, Rishi Kapil refused to hand over the gem to Kan, upon which Kan forcible snatched it from him. Rishi Kapil then prayed to Lord Vishnu who told him that since Kan was a devotee of Lord Shiva it would be difficult to defeat Kan in a battle to get back that gem. The only one who could help him out is Ganapati, son of Lord Shiva. Rishi Kapil then did penance for many years and finally invoked Lord Ganesha who promised to teach Kan a lesson. 

Gajanana (elephant-faced Lord)
Lord Ganesha appeared in Kan’s dream & frightened him, giving an image of Rishi Kapil coming with a huge army along with Ganapati to destroy him. Prince Kan woke up, wondering who was this being with an elephant head & 4 arms striding at the side of Rishi Kapil. He decided that first this elephant-headed being needed to be killed before dealing with Rishi Kapil. Accordingly he made preparations for battle. His wise father King Abhijit told him, “By stealing Rishi Kapil’s Chintamani you have created a big sin. At least do not go to battle against him & make a bigger fool of yourself. It is you who will die.” Kan ignored his father’s advice and set out to the forest where Rishi Kapil lived. However, thanks to Ganapati’s timely intervention, a huge army made an appearance in the forest. Over a period of days, one by one Kan’s soldiers got killed. Then appeared Ganapati Himself in person in front of Kan. Looking at his elephant head and big belly, Kan laughed out aloud and without a moment’s hesitation started raining arrows one after the other on Ganapati. However, Ganapati parried every arrow with his own arrows. An annoyed Kan  then threw his large sharp knife, but that too Ganapati cleverly avoided & in turn threw his hatchet at Kan, upon which Kan immediately fell down dead. His father King Abihijit, came on to the battlefield and expressed sorrow at the death of his son. He then bowed down in reverence to Ganapati and handed over the Chintamani to Ganapati. He begged Ganapati to forgive his son for his misdeeds & requested the Lord to grant his son emancipation. Taking pity on the King, Ganapati granted him his wish. 

Ganapati then took the Chintamani back to Rishi Kapil. However, Rishi Kapil requested Lord Ganesha to stay with him, saying he preferred to have Him with him rather than having the gem. Lord Ganesha thus stayed with Rishi Kapil & came to be referred to as ‘Chintamani Vinayak’.Since this entire incident occurred beneath a Kadamba tree, the Chintamani temple came to be set up there. 

Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple Features
Chintamani Vinayaka
The temple’s idol is in a cross-legged seated position with the trunk of the idol turned towards the east. In the main hall of the temple one can see a water fountain made exclusively from stone. One section of the temple has space for devotees to sit quietly and meditate to achieve peace & calm. Within the courtyard of the temple there is a smaller temple devoted to Lord Shankara. 


Accommodation in Theur
You can stay in Pune and proceed from there to Theur.

1. Ginger Hotel Pune: Opp Pcmc Survey 209, Pimpri Chowk, Kohinoor Trading Company Premises, 411018 Pune.

Ph: +91 20 6633 3333 / Fax: +91 20 6633 3336
Email: reservations.pune-pimpri@gingerhotels.com

Website: http://www.gingerhotels.com/pune-pimpri/hotel-profile.aspx

Distance from Pimpri to Theur: 37kms (approx. 1 hour’s car drive by road).

2. Hotel Sayaji: 135/136, Mumbai-Banglore Bypass Highway,
Wakad, Pune -411 057.

Ph: 020-42121212 / Fax: 02042121000
E-mail: sales@sayajipune.com

Website: http://sayajihotels.com/punehotel/index.php

Distance from Wakad to Theur: 127kms (approx. 2hrs.40mins car drive by road).

3. Hotel Madhav International: 6A, Ramabai Ambedkar Road, Before Hotel Le-Meridien, behind Pune Railway Station, Pune - 411001. India. This is one of the less expensive hotels in Pune, with Rs.2000/- for a standard A/C single room & Rs.2500/- for a double room. It has its own vegetarian restaurant. The other options are Deluxe A/C & Special Delux A/C rooms.


Ph : + 91 - 20 - 26059118 / 26059219 / 26059920 / 41009000 Fax : + 91 - 20 - 26059228
E-mail : info@hotelmadhav.com

Website: http://www.hotelmadhavint.com/index.htm

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