Lord Ganesha i.e. the elephant headed God of wisdom, is one of the most beloved and ardently worshipped Gods all over the world. He is the one who is known to be giver of happiness and the one who eradicates all the sorrows. Also he is considered to be the first God to be worshipped during any Pooja or any other such godly ceremonies or rituals. Lord Ganesha has many names like Ganpati, Atharva, Chintamani, etc. One of the names of Lord Ganesha is Vinayaka. Worship of Lord Ganesh prevails all over the country but especially in Maharashtra Lord Ganesha is worshipped enthusiastically and on a very large scale. There are a famous set of eight Ganesha temples in Maharashtra which are to be worshipped in a certain sequence which are known as the Ashtavinayaka. The fourth temple to be visited in the Ashtavinayaka Pilgrimage is the Varad Vinayak temple situated in Mahad village in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The temple holds great significance and is revered by a large number of devotees.
Though the original temple was built ages ago by Gritsamada, the current temple was reconstructed and built in the year, 1725 A.D by Peshwa General Ramji Mahadev Bilwalkar. The story behind the origin of this temple is that young prince Rukmaganda once when on a hunting trip, went to rest in Rishi Vachaknavi's Ashram. The Rishi's wife was so attracted towards the prince that asked him to fulfill her wishes. Rukmaganda refused instantly and left the Ashram. But the Rishi's wife Mukunda had become lovelorn. Seeing her troubled condition, Lord Indra came in the form of Rukmaganda and made love to her. Thus Mukunda gave birth to a son named Gritsamada. But when he grew up he cursed his mother knowing that Rishi Vachaknavi was not his father. To this the mother cursed that he would give rise to a demon. But suddenly they heard a heavenly voice which told them that Gritsamada was actually the son of Indra. But as it was too late to change the curses Mukunda became the Bhor plant. But to free himself from the curse of his mother Gritsamada performed a penance to Lord Ganesha in the Pushpak forest. Appeased, Lord Ganesha granted him a boon to stay at this place and Gritsamada built a temple there which was known as the Varad Vinayak Temple.
Scenically located this temple is adjacent to a beautiful pond and it is believed that the idol of the Lord was found immersed in the nearby lake. There are statues of four elephants on four sides of the temple that are said to guard the temple.
The statue of the presiding deity is said to be self originated i.e. Swayambhu. Also since the year 1892 there is a lamp that is burning continuously in this temple. It is also believed that the person who receives a coconut as Prasadam during Maghi Chathurthi is blessed with a son
All the Hindu festivals are celebrated here with gaiety, enthusiasm and in high spirits. Most popular amongst them are the Ganesh Chathurti, The Vinayaka Chathurti and the Ganesh Jayanti i.e. the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Also there are a huge number of devotees who throng the on Tuesdays as this day is considered to be auspicious for the worship of Lord Ganesha according to Hindu mythology.