Maharashtra is famous for the collection of eight temples of Lord Ganesh called Ashta Vinayaka. Among the Ashtavinayakas, Ballaleshvara at Pali is the only Ganesha who is famous by the name of his devotee and who is dressed up as a brahmin.The Ashtavinayaka yatra or pilgrimage tour covers the eight holy temples of Ganesha which are situated around Pune. In the village of Konkan Pallir now known as Pali there lived a young boy Ballal who was a very sincere devotee of Lord Ganesh. Son of a rich businessman, his pre-occupation with worship at a young age displeased his father. Ballal spent a large part of his time in worship and influenced his friends to do so too. His friends' parents felt that Ballal was misleading their children by showing them the Bhaktimarg [the path of devotion] at such a young age. They asked Ballal's father to restrain him. His father went to look for Ballal and found him in the forest engrossed in his worship of Lord Ganesh. He disrupted the puja, threw away the idol of Ganesh and beat his son. Not content with this he also tied him to a tree. He then left Ballal in the forest asserting that let Lord Ganesh himself come and rescue him. Ballal was in great pain but he kept calling upon Lord Ganesh who took the form of a Brahmin and appeared before him. He set Ballal free and then asked him to make a wish. Ballal entreated Lord Ganesh to reside in this region. The God acquiesced and, resided in a stone which is now believed to be the idol of Ballaleshwar Vinayak, that people worship at Pali. The idol that Ballal's father had desecrated too was placed in the temple. The idol of Dhundivinayak nearby is believed to be that idol.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- To destroy evils and obstacles
- For education
Vakratunda Mahakaaya Suryakoti Samaprabha Nirvighnam Kuru Mey Deva Sarva Kaaryeshu Sarvada
Meaning -I pray to thee O Lord, who has a curved trunk and a strong body, the shine of a million suns, to remove all the hurdles that may block me from all the tasks I intend to perform.
Agajaanana Padmaarkam Gajaananam Aharnisham Anekadantham Bhaktaanaam Ekadantam Upaasmahey
Meaning -The sun to Mother Parvati's lotus face, I worship Lord Ganesh, with the elephant face, the one who grants a lot of wishes, the one with the single tusk, I salute thee to grant my wish.
Gajaananam Bhoota Ganaadhi Sevitam Kapitta Jamboophaala Saara Bhakshitam Umaasutam Shoka Vinaasha Kaaranam Namaami Vighneswara Paada Pankajam
Meaning -Oh elephant-faced Lord, who is served by all the Ganas, who consumes the essence of Kapitta and Jamboophala, His favourite fruits, who is Uma's son, who destroys the gloom of His devotees, who handles hurdles, we worship your lotus feet.
Tatpurushaaya Vidmahe Vakratundaaya Dheemahe Tanno Danthihi Prachodayaat
Meaning -We meditate on the great power, we call upon the single tusked Ganesh, who grants wishes.
The Ballaleshwar Ashta Vinayak Temple opens daily at 5.00 a.m. and closes at 11.30 p.m.. Please note that the outer sanctum of the temple closes at 10.30 p.m.. On Chaturthi days, the timing of Pooja is between 6.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m.