The central part of a city. Buzzing in speed mode. The school buses will soon arrive. The shutters of the shop will soon be up. Offices will soon open. In the midst of this hurried rush, they stop. No matter which mode of transport – cars, buses, foot… no matter how rushed...
... they stop ...
Peeping through the big broad window of HIS magnificent bungalow, just a glimpse of their beloved is all they seek...
........ * ........ * ........ * ........ * ........
A new day. A new year. A new yatra.
And, me and my little diary are extremely pleased to bless our 2015 off by none other than our favorite, the superhero, the remover of all obstacles and the bestower of joys, Ganpati Bappa or Lord Ganesha. The city where we are headed is Pune and the place is called Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple, one among the most ancient Ganesha temples in India, where our well cherished Celebrity sits busy reveling in the adulation and adoration showered by His HUGE fan-following from across the globe!
|Here's to 2015 with a loud and hearty, 'Ganpati Bappa Morya!|
Standing quietly, unconscious of the buzzing traffic outside, the highly acclaimed wish-granting temple is actually a modest cream-ochre colored building with no elaborate pomp and show. Flap the exteriors and a secret world unfolds… of whispered stories, of mysticism, of faith that swirl around one of the Pune’s famous halwai (sweetmeat seller), Shreemant Dagduseth Halwai.
|The temple that seems to keep the world at arm’s length.|
It is said that following the loss of his son to plague which had broken Dagdusheth from within, the merchant put together idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Dutta Maharaj as healing therapy on the advice of His spiritual teacher, Guru Madhavnath Maharaj’s. His Guru also gave him a blessing that these deities will keep his name alive in the world, just like a son would, for his father. When his friend, Lokmanya Balgandharva Tilak transformed Ganesh Chaturthi into a public festival, he went on to establish the Halwai Ganapati Trust which holds one of the most eye catching fanfairs during Ganesh Chaturthi till date.
|The classy temple facade, punctuated with ornate architecture dipped in earthy color tones.|
Past the flower sellers through the entrance, I am led inside the main temple hall where I join a line of devotees waiting for their moment of tryst with the sweet Master. The temple sees a lot of visitors on festivals revolving around Lord Ganesha - like Angarki Chaturthi and the grandest of them all, the 11 day annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival. But today, to my fortune, the queue is a small one. Just a few minutes and I find myself right in front of His splendor: bright, radiant and striking.
|... Moments of silence ...|
At 7.5 feet in height and 4 feet in width, He is life-like. He sits in a royal gait on an elevated platform, humbly adorned with gold ornaments and bedecked in the finest of jewelry. Why not? The Shreemant Dagduseth Halwai Ganpati Trust, responsible for taking care of the temple is believed to be one of the richest in the world. Not everything is spent on decorations though; they do invest a major chunk of their riches in societal work which is really commendable.
|A prayer for joy and peace|
There is no jostling or pushing and though I get to spend my fair share of time with Him but still, the share is limited. Illuminated by the aura of His presence, I close my eyes and bow my head. The world is forgotten in the few moments that I am there…
|Peep through a window to faith|
After the darshan, I take a seat in the spacious temple hall right across the presiding deity and spend a couple of minutes in quiet contemplation. The temple hall reverberates with murmurs of chants, mantras … beaded together by the promise of...
... faith ...
faith... that is steadfast, faith that makes wishes come true, faith that is complete ...
|A red vermilion mark, an assurance of His blessing.|
... faith ...
that makes them stop and helps them let go,
the petty worries of the world,
... and ...
their own self .
Until next time,
Ganpati Bappa Morya!
Travel Tips and Other Information:
1. Photography is prohibited inside the temple. However, you can click pictures from outside the main temple.
2. If you like to indulge in festivals and soak in the fanfare, Ganesh Chaturthi is definitely the time to visit for Dagdusheth hosts one of the most stunning decorations and festivities in the whole of the country. Otherwise normally, morning time is great and more preferable due to lesser crowds.
3. Location: Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganpati Trust, Pune
"Ganpati Bhavan", 250, Budhvar Peth
Pune, Maharashtra, India - 411002
Phone: +91 20 24479222