Saturday, September 18, 2010

Maharashtra and Vinayagar- Part 3

18 9 10

I am today writing about one of the famous Ganesh temples in Maharashtra

Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu God Ganesh. It is the most famous Ganapati Temple in Pune.The temple is located a short distance from the historical Shaniwar Wada fort, which was administrative headquarters of Peshwas of Maratha Empire. The temple is very popular in Maharashtra and is visited by lakhs of pilgrims every year.

Devotees of the temple include celebrities and Chief Ministers of Maharashtra who visit during the annual ten day Ganeshotsav festival.The main Ganesh idol is insured for a sum of Rs 1 crore .

This temple was founded in 1893 by Dagadusheth Halwai, a sweetmeat seller who became a wealthy businessman. Halwai had lost his son the previous year, and at the request of his guru built this temple.

The Halwai Ganapati Trust carries out philanthropic work from the donations received, and is one of the richest in Maharashtra. The trust operates an old age home called Pitashree at Kondhwa in Pune. The home was built at a cost of 1.5 crore and opened in May 2003. In the same building the trust provides housing and education for 40 destitute children. Other services provided by the trust include ambulance service for poor and health clinics in tribal belts of Pune Dist.

Every year during Ganes Festival, this Temple trust erects a a very big Pandal of various themes, many a times a replica of famous temples and forts, and in this pandal( generally called Mandal here ), the Lord Ganesh is worshipped for ten days. Laks of people make it a point to visit this Mandal to seek the blessings of Vinayagar.

This richest Ganapati mandal in Pune is leaving no stone unturned to ensure maximum security for its devotees. Of the Rs 31.50 crore income, they are spending a sizeable sum on security of the several lakhs of devotees visiting every year .

As a precautionary measure against the threat of a bomb in a coconut, the Mandal will have a conveyer belt to move the traditional offerings of coconuts out of the Pandal in just 11 seconds. This way they hope to avert major disaster if bombs are planted in coconuts. For your information, over 70 lakh coconuts were offered last year to Dagdusheth Ganpati by devotees during the 10 days of the festival. About a lakh coconuts were returned to the devotees in the form of prashad,while the rest were sent for auction.Dagdusheth Ganapati's income last year from coconuts alone was Rs 28.03 lakh!

A bagging cone will be placed at the end of the 50-feet-long belt to fill the coconuts in a jute bag for faster disposal.

"Next year we will prepare a portable coconut conveyer so that the coconuts can be directly carried to the tempo parked outside," the designer of the conveyor belt, Savgaonkar, said.

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