Indore is an important pilgrimage destination for travelers visiting the sub-continent. There are many famous temples in and around this wonderful city and it sees a large crowd thronging the airport and the busy railway stations all throughout the year. Having a tropical climate, the summers can be as high as 44 degree Celsius and winter temperature can drop down to 14 degree Celsius. However, it receives a good amount of rainfall during the monsoons. One can visit this beautiful and natural place ideally between the months of October to March. The Gajanan Maharaj temple is located at Paliwal Nagar in Indore is considered to be a holy place for the devotees of the Sadguru Shri Gajanan Maharaj. It stands supreme among the pilgrimage centers in the state of Madhya Pradesh and the shrine is situated only at a distance of 15 minutes from the heart of Indore. There is a belief among the natives that Gajanan Maharaj possessed various spiritual and supernatural powers. He was also aware of the ultimate truth of life. This pious place of worship in Indore is very popular and innumerable pilgrims seek blessings and devotion from states like Maharashtra etc.
Gajanan Maharaj Temple History
- The famous Gajanan Maharaj temple was built by the Gajanan family in 1988. On the occasion of Basant Panchami, Sri Paliwal donated a land of thirteen thousand square feet to the family for the construction of the shrine.
- Guru Baba was the person who supervised the whole work and also performed the sacred Bhumi Pujan. Post this pooja, the construction for two important rooms were completed.
- An enormous image of the holy Gajanan Maharaj was placed in the room. Followers of the Maharaj worship this image on a daily basis.
- When the temple structure was completed, Satsang was held and Maha Prasad was offered to 13 pilgrims on the first day.
- There were two youngsters, namely, Bankatlal and Damodar who met a young person with a strong built and fair complexion looking for rice particles on the patrawalies. He was chanting ‘Gan Gan Ganat Bote’ in the Shegaon town and there were a strange calmness and satisfaction on his face. The scorching heat did not affect him and this attached the youngsters to Gajanan Maharaj.
- Maharaj was the Avatar of Samarth Ramdasa of Sajjangarh. It is said that he used to keep away from worldly things and did not accept any rich food, clothes or ornaments from the devotees. In fact, he was an expert in Bedshastree Sampnna and had done Tapascharya. He used to understand the language of animals and birds and many famous personalities came to visit him.
- It is said that Gajanan Maharaj was present with Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak at Shivjayanti meeting at Akola and that also on the dais, along with Annasaheb Patwardhan, etc. Being a ‘faith heater’, a psychiatric in today’s language, he is also called as Vidarbha in the nearby states.
- Maharaj because of his kind and helpful nature are also known as ‘Bhu-Vaikenth’ and ‘The Abode of Bhagwan Shri Vishnu on earth’.
Significance of the Gajanan Maharaj
- Shegaon has gained prominence as a popular pilgrimage destination since Shri Gajanan Maharaj lived and died there. People from all walks of life consider Gajanan Maharaj to be a saint with miraculous powers.
- Although his origins are unknown, yet the holy place of worship is built at his place of death. This great messenger of God was laid to rest on 8 September 1910.
- Sant Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan is considered to be the largest temple trust in the Vidarbharegion and is also called as the ‘Pandharpur of Vidarbha’. It draws pilgrims from all over the state of Maharashtra.
- The temple’s structure is completely built of marble and Dholpuri stones and was completed in the year 1994.
- The Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan Temple Trust coordinates with regard to the day-to-day activities of the temple. Additionally, it is headed by the Managing Trustees, who in general belong to the Patil family. The Trust provides assistance in services with respect to the spiritual, religious, medical and educational domains.
- The temple consists of 3 floors namely, the Talghar (Basement), Shabhamandap (Main Hall) and First floor for reading Maharaj’s pothi. It again symbolizes Yogmarg, Bhaktimarg and Karmamarg respectively.
- The main Garbh-Griha or the place where Maharaj is placed is of 224 sq feet and is Octagonal in shape. The Octagonal form depicts protection and presence of the Eight Sidhees of Shree Gajanan Maharaj.
- The Sabha Mandap of the temple is of 2,000 square feet and the main idol is 5 feet tall, is made up of marble and it directly penetrates into the devotee’s eyes.
- The sacred Ashtkoti is considered as Asht Siddhis or psychic abilities or powers of Gajanan Maharaj and is very much explained in the sacred Garud Sanhita.
- Devotees who are interested in offering Mahaprasad should nominate a sum of Rs 4200. A non-refundable booking deposit of Rs 500 is required and the remaining amount can be deposited before 2 days of the Mahaprasad. It is crucial to carry a receipt of the same.
Gajanan Maharaj Temple Timings
- Gajanan Maharaj Temple opens at 6 A.M. and closes at 9 P.M.
- This holy place of worship remains closed from 12 P.M. to 4 P.M.
Gajanan Maharaj Temple Food Timings
- On every Thursday, ‘Maha Prasad ‘is celebrated in large numbers. Devotees from all corners of Indore and outside arrive at this temple to seek Maharaj’s blessings. The Mahaprasad is served from 9 P.M. onwards.
- Devotees who want to relish the unique taste of Prasad should be present within the temple premises by 7:30 P.M.
- It should be noted that there should be no leftovers present in the Mahaprasad plate.
- A pilgrim cannot offer Mahaprasad in remembrance of a dead person.
Festivals celebrated at the Gajanan Maharaj
- In addition to regular Aarti, Bhajans, and Bhandara on Thursday, every year Maharaj’s Pragat-Utsav and Nirvan-Utsav are celebrated regularly.
- Mahasivaratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the followers of Maharaj. Every year, thousands of people gather in this temple to offer prayers and seek blessings.
- Shree Ram Navami festival is observed to proclaim the birth of Lord Sri Ram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The 9thday (Navami) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra is referred to as Ram Navami. On this day, Lord Rama was born.
Poojas and Rituals at Gajanan Maharaj
- There are seven rituals that are observed in a day. The ‘Abhishek Pooja’ starts at 6 A.M. and continues till 7:30 A.M. This is followed by Morning Arati which continues for 30 minutes.
- The Naivedhya is offered to Maharaj at 10 A.M and again at 7:15 P.M.
- The Evening Arati with and in the presence of Guru Baba starts at 7:30 P.M. and continues till 9 P.M.
- Any individual who would like to perform Maharaj’s Aarti should be present in the temple by 7:15 P.M. He should also bring a dhoti which is not stitched and Up-vastra. In addition, it is required for the devotee to bring one big garland, one small garland and two Gulkand Paans without masala and supari to offer to the Maharaj.
How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air
- By Air- For people who want to travel in the least time, the flight is the best option. The Indore airport is located at only 10 km distance from the temple and is well connected to all other parts of the nation.
- By Train- Traveling by train is also a good alternative and some of the nearest railway stations to reach this temple consist of Indore junior railway station which is located at a distance of only 3 km. In addition, the Indore MG railway station is also 3 km and Lakshmibai Nagar railway station is only 5 km far from this holy place. Moreover, visitors or pilgrims from the railway station can easily get local transport to reach the temple.
- By Road- The city of Indore has good transportation system which connects it with all other major cities or towns of the state by roads. Hence, visitors or pilgrims can easily get either state or national buses to reach the Gajanan Maharaj temple.
Hotels in Madhya Pradesh: Where to stay
Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan, Shegaon has a separate and systematic arrangement for providing accommodation to thousands of devotees coming from various nook and corner of the country for Maharaj’s darshan.
In order to extend this facility to the devotees, the Sansthan has four Bhakta Niwas (Two of them in Mandir premises and the other four near parking which is adjoining to Hattikhana, i.e. place of rest of Sansthan’s elephant). Pilgrims can find a double bed and deluxe rooms available with all the modern facilities as per the requirement. The Sansthan has a unique system for providing lodging facilities on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. One can also make way for reserving the rooms in advance. An individual needs to furnish a validated ID proof while applying for the room.
There are other hotels and lodging accommodation available for tourists to choose from. One can choose as per to their taste and ambiance.
Where to eat
For pilgrims and tourists looking for the variety in food, Indore is the right place to visit. It serves impeccable dishes at an attractive price to its visitors. So whether you are vegetarian or nonvegetarian, there are a plethora of options to choose from. For example, one can opt for poha, jalebi, samosa, kachori or dal bafla for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, you can opt for either Indian or Chinese cuisines. The Indian meal or Thali as it is popularly called is a balanced diet comprising of roti, daal, rice, sabzi, pickle, papad and curd.
Additionally, there are many international restaurants and eating joints that provide customized food options as well. For people who have a sweet tooth, there are multiple dishes to relish the unique taste of Indore. Try gorging on Gajak, Garadu and Moong Halwa to satisfy your appetite. Visitors are often found to carry some namkeens from Indore which reminds them of some wonderful memories spent here.
- Mamleshwar Jyotirlinga- It is also called as the Amreshwar temple and is a protected monument with fine stone artifacts. It is said that after the demise of the Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar in 1795, 22 Brahmins paid by the Holkar state perform the Lingacharan puja on a regular basis. 5 out of 12 jyotirlingas – the holy shrines of Lord Shiva, are in and around Mumbai.
- Annapurna Mandir- It is an ancient shrine where the Annapurna Temple Trust of Indore has raised a great complex containing a Sarva Mangala temple with the three goddesses Laxmi, Parvati, and Saraswati respectively.
- Gauri Somnath Mandir- This temple is the home to the six feet tall Shivalinga which is made up of smooth black stone and a shining polish. Legends say that no two people can embrace the lings until they are internal uncle and nephew.
- Siddhnath Barahdwari Siddheshwar- This temple is a protected monument which has been stated by Lord Curzon. It is an important piece of artwork from the concept of structural design. This is located on a plateau on the island hill supported by a large plinth. The plinths are carved on the four sides with about 5ft high that are carried out accurate brilliance and excellence of attitudes in a playful mood.
- Sidhwarkut Jain temples- It is an important place for worship for the Jains. Siddhwarkut of the 24 Tirthankaras of Jains comprises of some old and renovated shrines.
- Vishnu Mandir- The large and old Vishnu temple is also located very near to the Gajanan Maharaj Temple. This place is also called as Vishnu Puri by the devotees who offer pooja and seek blessings of the Almighty.