Considered to be “one of the largest and most popular” amongst the “Ashtavinayaka” group of temples in Maharashtra is the Chintamani Temple. This “Lord Ganesha” dedicated temple is located in the Pune district in close proximity to the confluence of the River Bhima and River Mula-Mutha. It is said that this temple is closely linked to the saint Morya Gosavi, who lived in between the 13th and 17th century. In addition, historically speaking this temple is said to have been a sort of a “spiritual magnet” for the Peshwa dynasty.
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a. Best time to visit Chintamani Temple
The ideal time to visit this temple would be during the winter season which begins in October and ends in February when the climate is pleasant and the temperature ranges from a maximum of 15 degree Celsius to a minimum of 10 degree Celsius.
b. How to reach Chintamani Temple
Chintamani Temple Map
1. By train:
The nearest railway station to this temple is located in Pune city. The Pune Railway Station is well connected to major cities in the country.
2. By road:
If you intend to drive to this temple then the ideal starting points would be Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nashik, and Nagpur.
- Via Mumbai:
There is one route from Mumbai to this temple, and it is via Western Express Highway.
- Via Navi Mumbai:
There are two routes from Navi Mumbai to this temple, and they are via Bangalore-Mumbai Highway/Mumbai Highway/Mumbai Pandharpur Road/Mumbai-Pune Highway/Sion-Panvel Expressway and Western Express Highway and via Bangalore-Mumbai Highway/Mumbai Highway/Mumbai-Pandharpur Road/Mumbai-Pune Highway/Sion-Panvel Expressway.
- Via Nashik:
There are two routes from Nashik to this temple, and they are via NH160 and via NH160 and NH48.
- Via Nagpur:
There is one route from Nagpur to this temple, and it is via Nagpur-Aurangabad Highway.
3. By air:
The closest airport to this temple is located in Pune. The Pune Airport is well connected to major cities in the country.
c. Religious significance of the Chintamani Temple
According to a legend stated in the “Mudgala Purana” a sacred Hindu scripture a greedy king called “Gana” once due to his sheer devotion managed to appease Lord Shiva. As a result of being impressed Shiva grants the king control over the three worlds i.e. heaven, earth, and underworld (aka gunnas) as well as a boon which stated that this king cannot be killed by anyone who did not possess any of the three “gunas”. Then one fine day Gana happens to witness a “wish granting jewel” called Chintamani in the hermitage of a sage Kapila. Now with the king being greedy by nature he intended to acquire this jewel “by hook or by crook “. As a result the king forcefully grabs the jewel from the sage since he was unwilling to give it up. This in turn results in the sage requesting Lord Ganesha to intervene in the matter. This request is accepted by Ganpathi who appears in the dream of the king and apparently beheads him. It is under such circumstances then that Gana along with his army travels to Kapila’s hermitage with the intention to destroy. It is then that Lord Ganesh with help of his power in the form of Goddess Siddhi manages to completely destroy the arrogant king and his army and thereby returns the “Chintamani” jewel to its rightful owner. However, the sage refuses the jewel in favour of Ganpati himself. Thus the “elephant god” decided to stay back taking the name of the jewel, as a result of which a temple was eventually built at the site where this pious shrine currently stands.