Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad, also spelt as Varadavinayaka, is one of the Ashtavinayak temples of the Hindu deity Ganesha. It is located in Mahad village situated in Khalapur taluka near Karjat and Khopoli of Raigad District, Maharashtra, India. It is well known for its swayambhu (self-originated) idol of Ganesha that was found in a lake and its unique architecture and design. In this article, we will explore the location, timing and entry fees, how to reach, things to do/must see, significance and history of Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad.
Location, Timing and Entry Fees of Varad Vinayak Temple
Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad is located in the heart of Mahad village, which is about 110 km from Mumbai and 120 km from Pune. The temple faces east and has a stone throne where the idol of Ganesha sits.
The temple is open for visitors from 6 am to 9 pm every day. There is no entry fee for visiting the temple. However, there may be a fee for parking, camera and video recording.
How to Reach Varad Vinayak Temple
Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad can be reached by road, rail or air. The nearest airport is Mumbai International Airport, which is about 110 km from the temple. From there, one can take a taxi or a bus to Khopoli or Karjat and then hire a local vehicle to reach Mahad village. Alternatively, one can also take a flight to Pune International Airport, which is about 120 km from the temple, and then follow the same route.
The nearest railway station is Khopoli Railway Station or Karjat Railway Station, which are about 30 km from the temple. From there, one can take a bus or a taxi to Mahad village.
The temple can also be reached by road from Mumbai or Pune via Mumbai-Pune Expressway or NH-48. The road condition is good but may be crowded during peak hours or weekends. There are many signboards and directions along the way to guide the travellers.
Things to Do / Must See Varad Vinayak Temple
Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad has many attractions and activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Some of the things to do/must see at Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad are:
- Idol of Ganesha: This is the main attraction of the temple. The idol of Ganesha is a swayambhu (self-originated) and was found in a lake in an immersed position in 1690 AD. The idol faces east and has its trunk turned left. The idol has four arms and holds a lotus flower, an axe, modak (sweet) and a rosary.
- Temple Architecture: This is another attraction of the temple. The temple was built (restored) by Peshwa General Ramji Mahadev Biwalkar in 1725 AD. The temple has an inner and an outer sanctum, a main hall with eight pillars resembling cypress trees, a bell tower with a bell brought by Chimaji Appa after his victory over the Portuguese in Vasai and Sasti, and a museum that showcases various artefacts related to Ganesha and his devotees.
- Lake: This is a lake that lies near the temple and was the source of the idol of Ganesha. The lake is also known as Indra Sarovar or Agam Tirtha and is considered sacred by the Hindus. The lake also has boating facilities for those who want to enjoy some water activities.
- Garden: This is a garden that surrounds the temple and provides a serene and beautiful environment for visitors. The garden has various plants, flowers, trees and benches for relaxing and enjoying nature.
- Sarasgad Fort: This is a fort that lies near the temple and was used as a watchtower by Shivaji Maharaj. The fort has six bastions and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
Significance of Varad Vinayak Temple
Varad Vinayak Temple, Mahad is not just a religious place but also a cultural and historical heritage of Maharashtra. The temple is a symbol of the devotion and faith of Ganesh and his devotees who worship him as the bestower of wishes and success. The temple is also a symbol of the grace and mercy of Ganesh who appeared before his devotees and fulfilled their desires.
The temple is one of the eight Ashtavinayak temples that are revered by the Hindus as the most sacred abodes of Ganesh. The temple is also the only Ashtavinayak temple that has a swayambhu (self-originated) idol of Ganesh that was found in a lake. The temple is believed to fulfill the wishes and desires of those who pray to Ganesh with a pure heart.
The temple is also a place of pride and inspiration for many people who believe in the values and ideals of Shivaji Maharaj and his followers. The temple was built and renovated by the loyal supporters of Shivaji Maharaj who fought for the freedom and glory of Maharashtra. The temple also has a bell that was brought by Chimaji Appa, the brother of Bajirao Peshwa, who defeated the Portuguese in Vasai and Sasti.
The temple is also a place of beauty and joy for many people who love nature and art. The temple has a unique architecture and design that reflects the skill and creativity of its builders. The temple also has a lake and a garden that offer a peaceful and pleasant environment for visitors.