Lord Ganesha is widely worshiped in the state of Maharashtra. His favorite delicacies, Modaks, valachi bhaji, and others from the staple food of the state. Maharashtra is home to many temples of Lord Ganesha. One such temple of Lord Ganesha is the Girijatmaj Ganesha Temple situated in Lenyadri hills near Pune. The temple gets its name from the words Girija which stand for the Goddess Parvathi and Atmaj which in Sanskrit means son.
The Girijatmaj Ganesha Temple is one of the Ashthavinayak temples.Interestingly, it is the only Ashtavinayak temple which is located on a mountain. At the foot of Lenyadri, there are hundreds of steps and many caves leading to the temple. The temple is not only unique in its placement but also the idol is very unique. The idol is not freestanding; it is a monolithic rock-cut idol.
Since the idol is not free standing there is no provision for the devotees to circumambulate. The devotees thus worship the idol from the mandap itself. The Mandap is also very interestingly designed. The Mandap is 53 feet long and has no pillars. There are many sabha’s i.e. rooms to the mandap that the pilgrims use for worshiping and meditation.
The temple doesn’t have a single electric bulb but the architecture is so well designed that the whole mandap is very brightly lit by natural sunlight during the day.
Another notable feature of the temple is that temple faces south while the idol faces north. From the top of the hillock i.e. outside the temple, there is a great view of the river Kukadi. Being at the top, the temple is very breezy and the vibrations are very pure and peaceful.
The temple is the 8th temple of the Asthavinayak yatra and is visited by thousands of pilgrims every day! A visit to the Girijatmaj temple is believed to grant all the wishes to the devotees who worship Lord Ganesha from the bottom of their heart!