Vigneshwara Temple at Ozar

 

This form of Lord Ganesha is known as Vigneshwara or the remover of all obstacles. The epithet is achieved by vanquishing the demon Vighnasura by Lord Ganesha. Among the eight Ashtavinayaks, Kshetra Vigneshwara Temple is the only temple with a golden dome and pinnacle.

Location of the Temple – Kshetra Vigneshwara Temple is situated at Ozar, off the Pune-Nashik highway in Maharashtra. The town of Ozar is located on the banks of Kukadi River and the temple stands elegantly on the Yedagaon dam, flowing alongside the river.

Kshetra Vigneshwara Temple is surrounded by the famous Lenyadri Mountain. Lenyadri is the abode of Lord Girijatmaj, one of the Ashtvinayaks. Standing on the frontier of the temple, one can also see the famous Shivneri fort which belonged to the famous Maratha King, Shivaji Bhosale.

Legend of the Temple – There is a famous legend linked to the history of Lord Vigneshwara Temple. It is believed that a king named Abhinandan once decided to overpower the kingdom of Heaven and become its sole ruler. In order to achieve his mission, the king also initiated a grand Yagya (sacrifice). On hearing the news of Abhinandan’s unethical attempt, the king of Heaven, Indra, got apprehensive. Indra, thereby, tried to create every possible obstacle in Abhinandan’s path. He also called on a fierce demon, Kalapurush, to destroy the Yagya (sacrifice) being conducted by King Abhinandan. After successfully shattering Abhinandan’s dreams of ruling the heaven, the demon Kalapurush assumed the name Vighnasura, meaning the creator of obstacles.

Conversely, the demon took undue advantage of his power and went on destroying all Vedic rituals and acts. Subsequently, Lord Ganesha made an appearance and defeated the demon Vighnasura to protect the entire world from his atrocities. Unable to trounce Lord Ganesha, Vighnasura, in his most subdued mode pleaded with the Lord to express mercy. Lord Ganesha, being extremely tolerant by nature, granted Vighnasura’s plea on condition that the demon will never interrupt when Ganesha worship is taking place.

Being overwhelmed with Ganesha’s mercy, Vighnasura begged the Lord to assume his name. Thus, Ganesha acquired the name Vighnahar or Vigneshwara. In Sanskrit language, the term Vigna stands for an unexpected, unforeseen or unwarranted interruption in an on-going task. This form of Lord Ganesha is known as Shri Vigneshwara Vinayak.

Temple Architecture – The temple faces east. It is also enclosed on all sides by high stone walls. The width of the enclosure wall is quite thick that one can walk through the wall.

At the entrance, two statues of Dwarapalas are installed as the protectors of the temple. On entering one can see two secluded rooms used for meditation.

The main shrine hall and the inner hall of the temple are around 20 feet and 10 feet long, respectively. A marble statue of the mooshak, a mouse, Lord Ganesh’s vehicle is placed in the Sabhamandapa.

Archeologists and historians opine that the temple is most possibly built by the famous Peshwa, King Chimaji Appa. Chimaji, after defeating the Portuguese dictators of Vasai and Sashti, renovated the temple in 1785 AD. The king also covered the temple spire (shikhara) with gold, which is the most prominent feature of the temple today.

Idol of the deity – The idol of Lord Ganesha is eastward facing and has its trunk towards the left. The deity is depicted accompanying his two consorts Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity). Precious stones are studded in the idol of Ganesha at Kshetra Vigneshwara Temple. The eyes of the idol are embedded with rubies; its forehead is embellished with a diamond and other precious stones are also studded in the navel.

Festivals celebrated in the Temple – The Bhadrapad and Magh Chaturthis are two occasions on which big celebrations are held in the temple. Another four day festival is celebrated from the Tripuri Pournima, the full-moon day of the month of Kartika. As lighting lamps carry special significance on this day, the entire temple is lit with the lamps illumining from its every nook and corner.