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
Also in Raigad, the journey from Mahad takes close to three hours.
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
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
Your last stop, before you start your journey back to Mumbai
(Source: Tukaram Raut, treasurer of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti)