Ballaleshwar Vinayak Temple of Ganesh / Vinayak Khopoli Pali Road, Near State Highway No. 92, Pali, Raigad-410205

Ballaleshwar is the only incarnation of Ganesha that is known by his devotee's name. This temple is one of the most eminent amongst the Ashta Vinayaka (Eight Vinayaka) Temple.

Temple Etiquette

  • Footwear not allowed inside

    Footwear not allowed inside
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    Footwear to be left outside the temple. In summer be careful of the hot paving stones.

  • Prasad and donation

    Prasad and donation
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    Use your right hand to accept prasad and give donations. The left hand is considered unclean in India.

  • Dress conservatively

    Dress conservatively
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    Avoid shorts, skirts, tanktops and do not expose legs.

  • Restricted entry

    Restricted entry
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    Entry is normally restricted to temple priests in the sanctum sanctorum. Some temples restrict the entry of non-Hindus

  • Avoid cellphones

    Avoid cellphones
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    Use of cell phones is restricted normally. Photography is restricted in some temples.

  • Circumambulation or pradakshina

    Circumambulation or pradakshina
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    Devotees are to walk around the sanctum sanctorum in a clockwise direction


About Ballaleshwar Vinayak Temple

Ballaleshwar temple is one of the eight temples of Lord Ganesha. Among Ganesha temples, Ballaleshwar is the only incarnation of Ganesha, that is known by his devotee's name.  The temple, which was built by Nana Phadnis in 1770, was named after Ballal of Pali.  The presiding deity is Lord Ballaleshwar (Ganapati). Ganapati is known as Ballaleshwar here.

The Ashta Vinayaka temples are:-

1.  Shri Mayureshwar, Morgaon
2.  Shri Chintamani, Theur
3.  Shri Siddhi Vinayak, Siddhatek
4.  Shri Mahaganapti, Ranjangaon
5.  Shri Vighneshwar Vinayak, Ozhar
6.  Shri Girijatmaj, Lenyadri
7.  Shri Varada Vinayak, Mahad
8.  Shri Ballaleshwar Vinayak temple, Ballaleshwar

The Ganesha idol in the temple is 3 ft tall. His consorts Siddhi and Riddhi flank Ganesha's image.  The eyes of the Ganapati are studded with diamonds. There is also another Ganesha temple, known as Dhundi Vinayak just behind the temple. The Peshwas in the temple installed a big Portuguese made bell.

The temple is the only one of its kind, which is named after his devotee Ballal.  Being pleased with the devotion of Ballal, Shri Ganesha remained in the form of a stone , which was propitiated by Ballal and the place began to be known as Ballaleshwar of Pali. He is also known as Ballalavinayaka.

The legend of this temple can be traced back to Ganesha Purana and Madgal Purana.

In the Krita Yuga, in Pallipura village, there lived a rich merchant named Kalyan Sheth whose son, Ballal, was a great devotee of Lord Ganesha.  The young Ballal had installed a stone, symbolizing Lord Ganesha, in the nearby forest.  Ballal spent most of his time worshiping the Lord and his devotion also inspired his friends to propitiate the deity. However, his friends’ parents started feeling that their children were unnecessarily drawn into Bhaktimarg (the path of devotion) at a tender age. They also asked Ballal’s father, Kalyan, to impose certain restrictions on his son.

Upon facing severe criticism, Kalyan’s anger towards his son accelerated and he decided to teach Ballal a lesson. He went to the forest and found Ballal completely engrossed in Ganesh dhyanam. Despite understanding his son’s endless devotion for his Lord, the fuming Kalyan disrupted the pooja and threw tantrums at his son.  The angry father then tied up his son avowing that Ganesha himself would rescue his son from this situation. Lord Ganesha indeed appeared before the struggling Ballal and released him from the bondage.  When Ganesha granted Ballal a boon, he without any delay, asked the Lord to make Pallipura his abode.  The Lord assented to the devotee’s request and rested in a stone which is now propitiated as Ballaleshwar Vinayak.  The earlier idol of Ganesha was also installed alongside.

Baburao Phadnavis and his son Moroba Dada Phadnavis converted the original wooden temple into a stone temple in the year 1770, for its better lasting and protection.  Two lakes are streamed on both sides of the temple, while one of them is exclusively meant for bathing Lord Ganesha and following pious rituals.

This temple is eastward facing and includes two beautiful sanctums. At Ballaleshwar, the idol of the deity is depicted- enthroned on a Cyprus tree shaped seat.  This divine view is complimented by eight exquisitely carved pillars in the eight directions of the shrine.   

The temple is of Shrikari style,  which means in a shape like the letter ‘Shri’ in the Devnagiri script.  The unique feature of this architecture is that, during dhakshinayana (southern declination of the sun), Sun’s rays fall on the idol of Lord Ballaleshwar.  Out of the two sanctums, the outer sanctum depicts Mooshika idol of Ganesha, where a mouse is placed facing the deity and grabbing a modak in its paws. The idol of Ballaleshwar is placed inside in the other sanctum. The east facing idol is 3 feet in height and is extremely beautiful with its trunk turning towards the left side. Valuable stones are engrained in the eyes and naval of the idol.  
The birth celebration of Dhundi Vinayak takes place from Jeshtha Pratipada to Panchami, first to fifth day. From ancient times, it is a practice to see Dhundi Vinayak before proceeding to the main idol of Shri Ballaleshwar.

The two grand annual celebrations celebrated at the temple are,  during the waxing period of the month Bhadrapad (Hindu calendar); from the first (Pratipada) to the fifth (Panchami) and during the waxing period of the month Magh (Hindu calendar); from the first (Pratipada) to the fifth (Panchami).

In both the months of Bhadrapad and Magh, a series of festivities are organized.  Kirtan, cultural activities and important religious discourses take place in the temple area. On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi,  that is on the fourth day of Bhadrapad, a Maha Bhog (grand food offering) to the Lord is performed. There is an old, yet popular belief that God personally takes the food being offered to him and the impression of his fingers can also be traced on the offerings. On the day of Chaturthi, people in thousands throng the temple to witness this sacred phenomenon. In the month of Magh, again a five day Ganesha festival is observed where the Palkhi (palanquin) of the deity is carried around the city of Pali in a large procession.   
 

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