Pune’s Ganesha in ‘Thanjavur temple’

The famous Dagdusheth Ganpati idol that will be installed in this replica during the 10-day Ganesha festivities.  

Dagdusheth Ganpati will spend this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi in a replica of the Brihadeeswara temple

In what is one famous temple’s tribute to another, the idol of Pune’s Dagdusheth Ganpati temple will spend this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, which commence on Thursday, in a replica of Thanjavur’s iconic Brihadeeswara temple.

Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Trust, the custodians of the Dagdusheth Ganpati Temple, has a 75-year-old tradition of making replicas of historic temples across the country on the occasion of Ganesh Chathurthi, said Ashok Godse, president of the Trust. This year, a 100 ft by 100 ft replica of the 11th century Brihadeeswara temple would be featured as part of the Trust’s 126th year of public Ganesha festivities.

“The original purpose was two-fold: to showcase our country’s heritage to devotees who cannot afford to travel to other parts of the country, and to serve the larger purpose of uniting people during festivities,” Mr. Godse said.


Idol as tribute

In 1893, Dagdusheth Gadve, a successful sweetmeat seller (or halwai), made an idol of Lord Ganesha on the advice of his spiritual guru, following the death of his only son in a plague epidemic. The halwai, who was known to have been admired by ‘Lokmanya’ Bal Gangadhar Tilak, built a second Ganesha idol in 1896. Around this time, with Tilak at the fore, the mobilisation of public Ganesha festivities had begun in earnest.

With the passage of time, however, the condition of the second Ganesha idol deteriorated. “Rarely has the name of a person been so intertwined with that of the idol of a deity,” said Mahesh Suryawanshi, treasurer of the Trust.

He said the idol currently installed at the Dagdusheth Ganpati Temple was sculpted in 1968 at a cost of Rs. 4,500. “It was the work of the Dharwad-based sculptor, Naglingacharya Shankaracharya Shilpi. This idol is 1.5 m in height, 1.25 m wide, and adorned with 40 kg of gold. This is the idol that will be kept in the Thanjavur temple replica.”

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