July 18, 2012

After Alibaag our monsoon express visited the nearby places of Shirur located between Pune and Ahmednagar. It was a day long drive with occasional monsoon drizzles. Four of us started the journey on two bikes, Tarachand & Komal on one and Meenal & myself on the other. We traversed through the below route:

View Mahaganapati Temple in a larger map
Pune - Lonikand - Koregaon Bhima - "Sanaswadi" - Shikrapur - "Ranjangaon" - Shirur - "Ramling" Old Shirur - Annapur - Takli Haji - "Nighoj Potholes" - Malthan - Chincholi Morachi - Ganegaon - Shikrapur - Pune

Shri Bhairavnath Temple, Sanaswadi

This was our unplanned stoppage, but the temple is on the roadside and quite colorful to attract the people passing-by. The temple is located between Koregaon Bhima and Shikrapur on the way to Shirur. Shri Bhairavnath is village deity. This village celebrate annual village fair in the name said deity on 2nd day of Chaitra Krishna Pakshya. All villagers celebrate the said fate with enthusiasm. On the first day of fair there are bullock cart races and on the second day, wrestling competitions are arranged. 

Within the same premises, we have Jogeshwari Prasanna and Shani Dev temples. Unlike other states, females are prohibited to go to Shani Dev temple in Maharashtra. We got the "Jalebi" as the prasad to visit this place. We wish, we could get this even more! You can visit this place while going to Shirdi, Shani Shingnapur or Aurangabad from Pune. 

Ranjangaon Mahaganpati Devasthan:

Ranjangaon village is located about 50 km from Pune on the way to Shirdi, enroute to Aurangabad. While going from Pune - Nagar highway, the route is Pune - Koregaon Bhima - then via Shikrapur Rajangaon is 21 km before Shirur. 
Ranjangaon Mahaganpati is one among the Ashtavinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha. Outside the temple, there is small market, offering prasad, garlands, coconuts and other holy offerings for Mahaganpati. This cute idol of Lord Ganesh is also named as 'Mahotkat'; portrayed on a lotus, flanked by his consorts Riddhi and Siddhi. 

The temple is quite crowded on weekends and holy festivals, and you may have to wait for more than 30 mins for paying a visit. One also has an option of fast darshan by paying INR 50; however, the local villagers are previleged for having a direct entry to the main temple. There are a few colorful paintings on the walls depicting stories of Indian Gods & Goddesses.

Just near the parking lot, there are two decorated idols of elephants adding beauty to this holy place. While we were busy admiring these beautiful creations touching their neck bells and capturing photos, we noticed a giraffe peeping from behind. In anxiety, we headed to explore more, and found sculptures of rhino, zebra, lion, tiger in the garden. Best was the tiger whose eyes were quite frightening. This park serves not only as a picnic spot to the localities (you can easily spot people relishing home made snacks), but also a place for relaxation for workers (catching an afternoon nap in the calm & serene environment). 

Further more a huge entrance is under construction, which will make the place, easy to be identified for the tourists. Photography and videography inside the temple is not allowed. Ganesha Chaturti is celebrated in great splendor and thousands of devotees come over to pay their regards. We had our breakfast in the temple restaurant, wheeled ahead in search of "natural potholes near Takli Haji".


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