Major Pilgrimage Centres
: A pilgrimage to the Ashtavinayaka or eight important Ganapati shrines
ensures for the pilgrim everlasting bliss. Glorified as swayambhu or
self-appeared, each of the eight idols has distinctive feature.
The foremost shrine is the 14th century built Mayureshwar at Morgaon about
64 kms from Pune. Closely asociated with Morgaon is the Chintamani Ganpati
at Theur where morya Gosavi is believed to have attained siddhi (knowledge).
The deity is known as Mahaganapati at Ranjangaon, because of the size of
the statue. It has ten trunks and twenty arms. It is believed that
Mahaganpati was hidden to prevent its destruction from non-believers.
Thousands of devotees visit the place during the Bhadrapad festival.
Shree Siddhi Vinayak : in Ahmednagar district is also believed to be
a detination where Morya gosavi did penance. But the main temple was
constructed by Ahilyabai Holkar.
Built in 1833, the Vigneshwar temple at Ozhar is famous for its deepmala or
garland of lights. Its golden dome was gifted by Bajirao Peshwa's younger
brother Chimaji Appa. Situated on a hill, on the banks of the Kukdi river at
Lenyadri this temple has 283 steps, reflecting the devotion that unites the
devotee wih the deity. According to folklore, it was here that Parvati spent
time in prayer and penance and gave birth to Ganapati.
Named after Ballal at Pali, Ganapati is known as Balleleshwar was
constructed in 1770 by Nana Phandnis. The wooden temple was so built that
the rays of the sum fall directly on the diety from the two equinoxes of the
302 Km away from Mumbai, a small village in Ahmednagar district,
Shirdi has become renowned through out India on account of its association
with the famous Saint Shri Sai Baba. Pilgrims belonging to all faiths,
throng here all the year around. The renewed temple is huge and the
facilities are very good. Though whole week the temple is crowded with
devotees, but Thursday, being Saibabaa day it is very much crowded.
Situated on the banks of the Godavari, Nasik is an important
pilgrimage center specially during the Simbastha Mela held every 12 years.
According to Pauranik lore when amrit (nectar) was being distributed, a
dispute arose between the gods and demons over the possession of the kumbh.
In the tussle, the nectar was spilled at Haridwar, Ujjain, Prayag and Nasik.
The Ajanta caves were built between 2nd century B.C to 7th
century A.D. The 30 chaityas and viharas have paintings, which illustrate
the life and incarnations of Buddha. The Ajanta Caves are situated 108 kms.
North-east of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. These caves are the representation
of Buddhist thoughts which were etched on the walls of the caves.
Others Pilgrimages :
To the south is the basin of Godavari and the
territory from Nasik to Nanded which is regarded as sacred. A majority of
saints and poets were born here. Trimbakeshwar, the place from where the
Godavari originates has a significance of its own. Nanded is a pilgrim point
for the Sikhs as it has a samadhi of Guru Gobind Singh.
Besides Haji Ali, Haji Matang, churches of Bassein and Bombay, synagogues
of Pen and Alibag; Jain and Buddhist temples, Maharashtra also has five of
the twelve jyotirlingas, located at Ghrisneshwar near Ellora, Aundh Nagnath
in Parbhani, Parli Vaijnath in Beed, Trimbakeshwar in Nasik and
Bhimashankara in Pune.