Chintamani Vinayak is one of the Ashtavinayaks located at Theur in the Haveli Taluka of Pune, Maharashtra. Chintamani as the name of Lord Ganesha suggests that he is the one who brings peacefulness and dispels all delusions of the mind.
Location of the Temple – The temple is situated at village Theur, 22 km from Pune, off the Pune-Solapur highway. Theur itself is an important mythological place located at the confluence of three major regional rivers i.e. Bhima, Mula and Mutha.
Legend of the Temple – It is said that at this place Lord Ganesha won back the valuable Chintamani jewel from the greedy Guna and presented it to Sage Kapila. However, after bringing the jewel back, Sage Kapila put it in Vinayak’s (Ganesha’s) neck. Thus, Lord Ganesha was named as Chintamani Vinayak. The incident happened under the Kadamb tree. Therefore, Theur was also known as Kadambanagar in ancient day.
Abhijeet was one of the greatest and most influential kings of his times. By god’s grace, he was blessed with all happiness in life except a worthy successor. The king and his wife carried out great penance on the suggestion of Rishi Vaishyampayane and were finally rewarded with a son whom they named as Gana. The son later acquired the name Ganaraja. The son was courageous but extremely destructive by nature. Sage Kapila once invited Ganaraja to his ashram and nearby place. The sage showed good hospitality with the help of the precious stone Chintamani Ratna. Impressed by the ratna, Ganaraja asked that for himself, but when the sage refused to give it, he took it away from him forcibly.
Meanwhile, Sage Kapila’s mentor Goddess Durga guided him to worship Lord Ganesha and seek his help. Lord Ganesha thus started off a fierce battle against Ganaraja under a Kadamba tree and won the precious ratna back from him and presented it to Sage Kapila. By the time Sage Kapila received his ratna back, he had lost all curiosity and excitement about possessing the stone. The sage thus gave the stone as a present to Lord Ganesha who tied it around his neck. After wearing the Chintamani Ratna around his neck Lord Ganesha became popular amongst his devotees as Chintamani Vinayak.
Temple Architecture – Shri Daharnidhar Maharaj Devji, from the family-lineage of Maurya Gosaviji, constructed the famous Chintamani Ganapati Temple at Theur. After hundred years, Madhavrao Peshwa erected the Sabhamandap of the temple. A few years ago the shikhar (crest), of the temple was anointed in gold.
The entrance of the temple faces north. The Sabhamandap of the temple is made of wood. One of the interesting things about the temple is that it offers special secluded room for those interested in meditation. This type of separate sections or rooms presently can only be found in the older temples in India. There is a road that connects the Mahadwar to the river Mula Muth.
Idol of the deity – At Chintamani Vinayak Temple, the idol of the deity is east facing called purvabhimukha, with his trunk turned left and beautiful diamonds studded in his eyes.
Festivals celebrated in the Temple – In the month of Bhadrapad Shuddh from Pratipada to Saptami (first seven days of Bhadrapad month according to lunar calendar), and in the month of Magh Shuddh until the ashtami (first eight days of Bhadrapad month according to lunar calendar) major grand level celebrations takes place in the whole temple area. This festival is most popularly known as Dwaryatra.
Historical importance of Theur – It is said that once Morya Gosavi of Chinchwad performed several harsh penances in the forest. Being pleased with his devotion, Lord Ganesha emerged in the form of two tigers.
Shri Chintamani Vinayak is also the family god of Shreemant Madhavrao Peshwa. His palace was near the temple and now it is converted into a garden. It is said that Madhavrao Peshwa had stayed here during his last days. He gave the temple a new look and organized a number of important religious events at the temple.