Thursday, September 27, 2012

Visiting Girijatmaj Vinayak Ganapati Temple at Lenyadri

After visiting the Chintamani temple, devotees who undertake the Ashtavinayaka Yatra visit the Ganapati temple at Lenyadri. This temple is known by the name of Ganapati’s mother Parvati whose other name is Girija & the word Atmaj refers to son. From the name of the area, namely Lenyadri, it is easy to understand the temple’s location – the word lena means a cave and the suffix adri is a Sanskrit word which means a mountain. So devotees must be prepared to climb up quite a bit to pay obeisance to the Ganapati idol in this temple.

Speaking of climbing, you have to tackle around 338 high steps to reach the cave where the idol is located. However, the temple’s trustees have thoughtfully provided palkhis (chairs) for the elderly devotees & others who are unable to climb so many steep steps. The chairs are carried up by sturdy men. 

Features of Girijatmaj Vinayak Temple Lenyadri
The Ganapati deity is not a statue as such but a fresco set into the wall of a cave. Hence one cannot go around the idol or the temple as is generally done. As mentioned earlier, the location of this Ganapati temple is in a cave. To be more specific, there are more than 2 dozen Buddhist caves up on the mountainside. It is believed that the caves were created by the Pandavas when they were exiled. The Ganapati deity is located in the 7th cave & as per a mythological legend it was in this very cave that Goddess Parvati as Girija did a prolonged penance & created a son (Bal Ganesha) from her own skin. 

An astonishing fact of the main hall of this Ganapati cave temple is that although it is very wide there is not a single rocky pillar which supports the expansive roof of the cave – a truly architectural marvel of nature (or of the Pandavas as is believed)!  When visiting this temple, don’t forget to have a closer look at the walls of the cave temple – there are some very unique wall murals.

While the Girijatmaj temple faces the south, the Ganapati deity faces the north & its trunk is turned towards the left.

How to reach Lenyadri
  • To reach Lenyadri, you have to go to Junnar. From there it is just 5kms to Lenyadri. The more energetic pilgrims walk the distance. You can also hire a jeep or an auto at Junnar.
  • If driving down on a bike or in a car, you have to travel by the Pune Nasik Road. The route is: Chakan – Rajgurunagar – Manchar – Narayangaon - Junnar - Lenyadri. 

  • If travelling by train, you can alight at either Pune railway station or the Talegaon railway station.
  • If boarding a State transport public bus, you have to take the bus going to Junnar from either Pune’s Shivaji Nagar Bus Depot or from the Talegaon bus depot. There are also State transport buses heading to Junnar directly from Mumbai.
One of the most popular fairs at Lenyadri is when bullock cart races are organized during Ganesh Jayanti. 

Accommodation at Lenyadri
The temple trust officials provide accommodations for the general public. Lodging is available in rooms in two buildings known as Yatri Niwas No.1 and Yatri Niwas No.2. A few rooms are air conditioned & half the rooms have an attached bathroom while the rest have common bathrooms. Hot water is available in the rooms & there are drinking water facilities for all pilgrims. Bedding and food is also provided. If you are driving down by your own vehicle, parking facilities are also available. 

Contact Information of Girijatmaj Vinayak Lenyadri Temple Trust
To book rooms & find out about room rates and meals, contact the temple trustees directly:
Shree Lenyadri Ganpati Devasthan Trust
Golegaon, Pune
Taluka - Junnar.,
Zilla – Pune
Ph: 02132222350 / 9881058665 / 9371105024

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