Girijatmaj Vinayak Temple, Lenyadri
History of Girijatmaj Ganesh Temple :
With a desire of having Vinayak as her son, Parvati performed penance for 12 years in the caves of Lenyadri. Ganapati was pleased and gave her the boon she wanted . On one Bhadrapada Shudh Chaturthi, Parvati scrapped the scraf from her body, mixed it with oil and ointment and formed an idol of Ganesh. She was performing pooja of that idol, suddenly the idol became alive and told Parvati that as desired by her he has taken Avatar in her house. On 11th day he was named Ganesh meaning a person who keeps three qualities Satva, Raja and Tama under control. Lord Shiv Shankar gave him boon that whosoever remembers Ganesh before starting a work, will successfully complete the work. Ganesh grew up for 15 years at Lenyadri. Demon king Sindhu who knew that his death is in the hands of Ganesh, sent demons like Krur, Balasur, Vyomasur, Kshemma, Kushal etc. to kill Ganesh on Lenyadri. Instead Ganesh killed all these demons in his childhood. Ganapati also performed many Balleelas in this place. Hence Lenyadri is considered holy place .
Coming back to the story of Girijatmaj or Ganesa, Parvati requested Marichi Rishi to find a way out to protect Ganesa from demons. Marichi asked why it would be necessary to protect Ganapati, whose Namasmarana (remembering the name) itself destroys all obstacles. Still to satisfy Parvati he taught her Ganesa Kavacha and said that if any child had fear of Rakshasas or Pishachas this kaacha may be tied around his neck. At the age of six, Vishwakarma worshipped Ganesa and endowed him with Paasa [noose], Parasu[axe], Ankusa[hook] and Kamala[lotus]. At the age of seven, his Upanayana was performed by sages like Gautama.
At the age of ten, a demon called Kamalasur came with an army twelve crore strong and had war with Ganesa, who was mounted on a peacock. The demons’ army was defeated. From Kamalasur’s blood many more demons were created. Siddhi and Buddhi ate away all demons. Al last Kamalasur was cut into two pieces with Ganesa’s Trishul. The place where the head of Kamalasura was thrown is the Morgaon Kshetra. Vishwakarma constructed a city and a temple in that place.
Then Shankar, Parvati and Ganesa started towards Gandaki city where the gods were imprisoned. First as a matter of courtesy Nandi was sent to meet demon Sindhu to ask him to release the gods. Sindhu refused and war ensued. Nandi, Veerabhadra, Kartikeya and other Shiva Ganas fought with the demons. On the second day his two brothers-in-law Kala and Vikala were killed and on the third day his sons Dharma and Adharma were destroyed by Kartikeya. Sindhu’s father Chakrapani advised him to release the gods. But he refused. He came running towards Mayureshwara with his sword held high. Suddenly Ganesa took a small form, got down from the peacock and sent an arrow which pierced Sindhu’s navel and broke it. Out came the nectar given by Surya to Sindhu. Sindhu fell dead.
Ganesa was seated on the Simhasana by Chakrapani and all gods. Brahma’s daughters, Siddhi and Buddhi were married to him. Ganesa lived there for many years. After that he took leave of everybody and disappeared. Before doing so he gave his peacock to Kartikeya.
Whoever hears the story of Mayureshwar has all his desires fulfilled. His wealth and fame increases.
The Story of Mayuresa and Girijatmaja are vividly described in Genesa Purana Kreeda Khanda from 73 to 126.
Girijatmaj is the sixth Lord Ganesh Temple to be visited on the Ashta Vinayaka Mandir Pilgrimage. It is the only temple of the Ashtavinayaka which is on a mountain and is built in the locale of Buddhist CaveTemples . Here, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as Girijatmaja.
The idol faces north with its trunk to the left, and has to be worshipped from the rear of the temple. The temple faces south. This deity seems to be little different from the rest of the Ashtavinayak idols in a sense that it appears to be not very well designed or carved like the other idols. This idol can be worshipped by anyone. There is no electric bulb in the temple. The temple is constructed such that during the day it is always lighted up by the sun-rays! This place is referred as Jirnapur or Lekhan Parbat in Ganesh Puran.
Lenyadri Temple, located on hill top, is approached after climbing 307 steps. Out of 18 Buddhist caves on mountain, Girijatmaj Vinayak’s Temple is in the 8th cave. These caves are also known as Ganesh Gufa. The temple is built out of a single rock and is Dakshinabhimukh- facing south. The Sabhamandap (temple hall) has 18 Overees (small rooms for meditation) within it. The idol of Girijatmaj Ganesh is in one of the rooms. Lord Ganesh’s image is a fresco carved out into a rock, with his head turned to the left. Devotees can enter the Garbhagriha and offer their worship. A river flowing nearby adds beauty to the temple. All the 30 Lenyadri Caves including the Girijatmaj Vinayak Temple is under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Girijatmaj Vinayak Temple Festivals
The Panchamrit puja is conducted daily in the morning. Major celebrations are held during the Bhadrapad (August – September) and Magh Chaturthis. In the month of Magh, an Akhand Harinaam Saptah is held. Ganesh Jayanti and Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated in a great manner with cultural programs. Bullock cart racing is organized on this occasion.
How to reach Girijatmaj Vinayak Temple, Lenyadri
By Bus / Road
Lenyadri is about 94 km from Pune, on Pune – Nasik Highway and Junnar is the nearby town, which is 5 km from Lenyadri. State transport buses ply to Junnar from Pune and from Mumbai. From Junnar, rickshaws, jeeps and buses are available to Lenyadri. Palanquins are available for the devotees to reach the temple on hill top.
By Train / Railway Station
Pune Railway Station and Talegaon Railway Station are the nearest railway stations to reach Lenyadri Ashta Vinayak Temple.