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Go road-tripping with Bappa this Ganeshotsav

Ganpati festival Updated: Sep 05, 2016 13:44 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Ashtavinayak yatra

Why stop at Lalbaugcha Raja? Discover Maharashtra, the Bappa way. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)

Mumbai’s favourite festival is here, and if you’re looking for a new way to celebrate it, how about exploring Maharashtra through its eight Ganpati shrines?

Every year, thousands of devotees make the pilgrimage circuit called the Ashtavinayak yatra that covers eight shrines dedicated to the God of wisdom.

The circuit, earlier done on foot, now takes three days and two nights by road from Mumbai. The temples are in three districts - five in Pune, two in Raigad and one in Ahmednagar.

Tukaram Raut, the treasurer of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, the umbrella body of Ganesh mandals in Mumbai, has done the circuit five times and calls it “one of the most fulfilling religious expeditions”. “Each shrine has a unique story, and after completing the journey, one feels wholly satisfied through Bappa’s blessings,” he said.

The journey usually begins from Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak temple – not one of the Ashtavinayak shrines, but the most visited shrine in the country.

What it will cost you

Rs8,000-Rs10,000 If you book your journey on luxury buses

Rs15,000 if you take a private vehicle

Plan your trip

Varadavinayak temple, Mahad

Your first stop from Mumbai, the journey to Mahad, Raigad, takes an-hour-and-a-half

Ballaleshwar, Pali

Also in Raigad, the journey from Mahad takes close to three hours.

Vighneshwar, Ozhar

The next stop is another three-and-a-half hours away. This shrine is among the most beautiful, with a river flowing close to the temple

Halt overnight at Ozhar

Girijatmaj, Lenyadri

This is a hill-top shrine in Pune - the fourth of eight shrines

Shree Chintamani Vinayak temple, Theur

The next stop, also in Pune, is two hours away

Moreshwar temple, Morgaon

80km from Pune city, the trip from Theur is usually completed in an hour-and-half

Siddhivinayak Siddhtek, Ahmednagar

Close to Morgaon, this is the last shrine, before the return journey begins

Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon

Your last stop, before you start your journey back to Mumbai

(Source: Tukaram Raut, treasurer of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti)