Varad Vinayaka TempleKhopoli, a small town of the Raigad district of Maharashtra is not a tourism location, per say. The place is more importantly a commercial destination, having gained much importance due to the presence of a number of industries and a regular stream of corporate and officials travelling from different parts of India.
However, the town itself being placed amidst an amazing topography including rugged Sahyadri Mountain along with the dense forest surrounding the place, it has started gathering immense popularity among trekkers, who generally plan for short weekend trips to some of the view points nearby. Other than trekking, Khopoli also have few pious temples, especially of Lord Ganapati who is considered to be the main God of the Marathi people.
History of Varad Vinayaka TempleVarad or Varada Vinayaka Temple is one of the most important temples of this region. This age old temple is believed to be built by the Peshwa general Subhedar Ramji Mahadev Biwalkar in the year 1725 AD. This temple is located in the Mahad or Madh village, which is adjacent to the Khopoli main town. The distance is around 7 kilo meters and is often visited by pilgrims from all parts of Maharashtra, especially during the ‘Maghi Utsav’ or ‘Maghi Chaturthi’ every year.
The temple complex is adjacent to a large lake. The main Garbagriha is the abode of the Lord Vinayaka, who faces the east and has his trunk turned towards the left. Before this main shrine burns an oil lamp, which is believed to be continuously lit since 1892. There are four intricately carved elephant idols guarding all the sides of the temple complex. Other than Lord Ganesha, Varad Vinayaka Temple also has idols of Mushika, Navagraha Devtas and Shivalinga.
Myths and Legends of Varad Vinayaka TempleThere are many myths and legend surrounding this temple and it is a common belief that the main idol of Varada Vinayaka, who is an incarnation of Lord Ganesha is self originated. The idol was found in an immersed position in a lake adjoining the present temple complex in the year 1690 AD. Ancient myth goes by saying that, Gritsamada, the child of Lord Indra and Mukundu Devi cursed his own mother who got transferred into a thorny berry-bearing "Bhor" plant. To remove this curse and earn penance, Gritsamada prayed for Lord Ganesha’s blessings, who in turn blessed the entire forest of Bhadraka which is the present day forest surrounding Khopoli. Thus this temple is considered extremely auspicious by devotees. Through out the year, pilgrims pay visit to this temple, especially pregnant women to take blessings from the Lord.
Tourists can take local auto rickshaws or state bus to reach this temple complex. There is a small market surrounding this area, where all sorts of puja items can be purchased.
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