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Sarasbaug Ganpati, Pune

One of the most prominent temples in Pune is the Parvati Temple, located on Parvati hill and visible from most of the inner suburbs. One of the most visited temples is likely the Chaturshringi Temple, located on the slopes of a hill in the northwest of the city. During Navratri, there is a large procession to this temple and worshippers gather from around the country to pray here. The presiding god of Pune city is the Kasba Ganpati, whose temple is found in Kasba Peth in central Pune. Sarasbaug Ganpati is also a prominent landmark in Pune. So today, let us have a look at the Sarasbaug Ganpati in Pune.

History

In the 18th century soon after completion of Shree Devdeveshwar Temple on the crest of Parvati hill, Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwa turned his attention towards the development and beautification of environs of Parvati hills.

He constructed a lake along the Ambil odhha (stream) near Parvati foothill. This lake was to be used for boating and creating gardens in the area. The excavation of the lake started around 1750, after completion of Parvati Temple and was still going on in 1753. One day, on his way to Parvati Temple, Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwa noticed the slow progress of this work. Annoyed Shrimant got down from his elephant and he started picking up boulders for erection of the dam wall. The shirking labourers were ashamed by Nanasaheb Peshwa s act and the citizens felt equally embarrassed. Following this, it is said that the work got better momentum and was completed soon.

This lake at the Parvati foothills had an area of about 25 acres (2000 Sq.mts.). An island of about 25000 sq. ft. area was retained in the middle of this lake. Later on, a beautiful garden was created on this island. Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwa gave it a rather poetic name, “Sarasbaug”. In 1784, Shrimant Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa built a small temple in Sarasbaug and installed the idol of Shree Siddhivinayak Gajanan, the God he worshipped. Naturally, Parvati, Sarasbaug and the lake became places of worship and leisurely walks for the people of Pune.

Folklore says that Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwa and his astute consultants, conducted secret meetings and discussions while on the boat ride in this lake. The persons who rowed the boat at such times did not understand a single word of Marathi or Hindi, or were stone deaf and dumb. The purpose was to prevent any leaking of the secret discussions. Even if this is just a myth, it is believed that it has mentions in historical chronicles. Historical documents mention of many such confidential discussions between Shrimant Peshwa, Mahadaji Shinde and Nana Phadnis. The temple built by Shreemant Sawai Madhavrao Saheb was very small. The sanctum was built by hard rock and the top of the temple was intact until 1930.

To enter the temple from west, there was a way intercepting the Parvati road. Similarly, from the east down the Nawloba temple into the lake there was a way. Both the ways were raw and muddy. Further, in 1936/37 the existing district session, R.B. Kondo Mahadev Kumthekar constructed marble steps and medium size sabha-mandap, which was there until 1969. After the lake was converted into a garden, both the roads or ways were improved, which again helped in increasing the number of devotees.

The Sarasbaug temple houses the idol of Shree Siddhivinayak. A sacred ground of faith for millions of devotees in Pune and around the world, on an average the Sarasbaug temple receives ten thousand visitors a day and this figure goes up to eighty thousand devotees per day on Ganesha Chaturthi and other special occasions. Various dignitaries and luminaries throughout India have made it a point to visit this sacred temple to seek the blessings of Shri Siddivinayak.

Other Temples close by are as follows.

Chaturshringi goddess is the reigning deity of the city of Pune. She is also known as Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati. Her temple is situated on the slopes of a mountain in the North-West of Pune. This is in the midst of nature s scenic beauty. This 90 ft. high and 125 ft. wide temple is looked after by Shri Devi Chaturshringi Mandir Trust. One has to climb more than 100 steps to reach the shrine of Goddess Chaturshringi. In the temple, premises there are also temples of Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesh. This includes eight miniature idols of Ashtavinayaka. These small temples are located on the four separate hillocks.

The Dashabhuja Temple is located on Karve road. The presiding god of the temple is Lord Ganapati also known as Ganesh. There is small temple of Lord Hanuman besides the main temple. Every Ganesh Chaturthi thousands of devotees come here to pray to Lord Ganesha and participate in the evening aarti.

It is a temple dedicated to the Lord Ganesh. 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 popular in Maharashtra and is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.

The Sarasbaug Ganpati Temple is one of the most tranquil places in Pune. It is a place to divine worship. It also has a beautiful garden in its vicinity, which is an additional comfort. Do visit the Temple when in Pune.
 

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