Lord Ganesh, who is regarded as the Lord of Lords in Hindu mythology, is associated with prosperity, fortune and wisdom. Ganesh Chaturthi, also called Vinayaka Chaturthi, is one of the most celebrated festivals in India, which makes the nation vibrate with the chant of “Ganpati Bappa Morya”. There are so many Ganesha temples which are mainly found in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Goa. Following are some of the most important Lord Ganesha temples in India.
Mumbai Siddhivinayak Temple:
This temple is regarded as the most famous temple of Lord Ganesh in India. Owned by one of India’s richest temple trusts, it is magnificently decorated during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The beautiful idol of Lord Ganesha is carved out from a single black stone and is positioned in between Riddhi and Siddhi, the Goddesses conferring prosperity and purity. The devotees have a firm belief that whoever prays sincerely from the heart their wishes will definitely be fulfilled. Marathis have passion and devotion to Lord Ganesha and the deep faith that Ganpati never disappoints his disciple. The temple trust is also very active and has provided substantial contributions to many social activities and the welfare of the poor. The temple has online portals for booking pujas, giving donations and arranging darshans.
Dagdusheth Ganpati, Pune:
The Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple in Pune houses a golden idol and is one of the major attractions in the state of Maharashtra and all over the country. Dagdusheth Halwai was actually a sweet-maker, but a great devotee, who later constructed this temple due to devotion. The shrine is located in the most beautiful part of the temple, and it is visited by millions of devotees every year. The Temple Trust authorities do noteworthy services for poor and sick children and old people. They have built an old-age home called Pitashree.
Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple, Chittor:
Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple located in Chittor in Andhra Pradesh is famous for its beautiful black idol of Lord Ganesha adorned with white, yellow and red colors on his forehead. The temple dates back to the Chola empire and was built by the Chola king, Kulothinga Chola I. The puja rituals and the special artis held here are worth watching. Brahmotsavam festival in the temple starts from the day of Vinayaka Chavithi and lasts for the next twenty days. This temple is located at about 75 km. from Tirupathi.
Bangalore Dodda Ganapathi:
Dodda Ganapathi located on the Bull Temple Road in Basavanagudi, Bangalore is one of the prime attractions of the city. It houses a huge idol of size 18 feet tall and 16 feet wide. The temple is well maintained by The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation.
Kottarakkara Shree Maha Ganapathi:
Shree Maha Ganapathi temple in Kottarakkara is the most popular Ganpati temple in Kerala. The main deity is Lord Ganesha and its vast temple complex has other temples dedicated to Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva, Lord Ayyappan, Lord Murugan, and other Nagaraja deities. Lord Shiva is worshipped with equal importance like Lord Ganesha.
Thiruppathur Karpaka Vinayakar:
Karpaga Vinayagar, also known as the Pillaiyar Patti Pillaiyar Temple, is located in Thiruppathur in Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It is a cave temple in which the shrine has been carved out of a rock and houses Lord Ganesh sitting magnificently inside. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated in a grand style in this temple for 10 days. Thousands of pilgrims gather here during the festival. Similar to many other Ganpati temples, it has also Lord Shiva as its presiding deity.
Idagunji Ganesha Temple:
Located in the Idagunji town in Uttara Kannada of Karnataka, the Idagunji Temple is one of the most famous temples of South India. This temple is visited by around one million devotees annually. It is dedicated solely to Lord Ganesha as he is the Kuladevata of the Havyaka Brahmins. The Ganesha temple is a part of a temple circuit in Idagunji. This temple circuit starts from Kasargod, extends to Anegudde, Mangalore, Kundapura, Idagunji and ends at Gokarna. It is believed that those who visit all the six temples with family between sunrise and sunset will receive special blessings from the god.
Trichy Ucchi Pillayar Koil:
Situated at the top of the rock at Rock Fort in Trichy, this temple is famous for its excellent rock architecture. The rock fort temple dates back to the 7th-century, and it is raised to 83 meters in height. The rock was originally cut out by the Pallavas; however, the Nayaks of Madurai later built the temple during the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Astavinayak / Astavinayak Temples:
Ashtavinayaka yatra or visiting the Eight Ganesha temples is considered to be the most sacred pilgrimage. This religious journey covers all the eight ancient holy temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha and situated around Mumbai and Pune. These eight temples are Siddhivinayak Temple, Moreshwar Temple, Girijatmaj Temple, Ballaleshwar Temple, Varadavinayak Temple, Vighnahar Temple, Chintamani Temple and Maha Ganpati Temple.