Lord Ganesha i.e. the elephant headed God of wisdom, is one of the most beloved and ardently worshipped Gods all over. 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 last or the eight temple to be visited while doing the Ashtavinayaka pilgrimage is the Mahaganpati in Ranjangoan which is around 50 kms from Pune. This Ganesha is considered to be one of the most powerful places of Ganesha worship.
It is believed that this temple exists from the 9th or the 10th century, and was built by Madhavrao Peshwa from the Peshwa dynasty. The story that follows the origin of this temple is that, once there was a demon named Tripurasura who was causing misery and difficulties to all the beings on the earth as well as the heavens. Looking at the plight of all the Gods and humans, Lord Shiva decided to battle the demon, but it was very difficult to defeat the demon. Thus Lord Shiva saluted Lord Ganesha and then fired an arrow and killed Tripurasura. Thus Lord Shiva attained victory over the demon with the grace of Lord Ganesha. To mark this event, this place came to be known as the Mahaganpati Temple.
The architecture and designing of the temple is extraordinarily splendid and a very well thought out one. The idol is positioned in such a manner that when the Sun turns on the southern side the sunrays fall on the idol as a worship to the Lord. Also the temple has a grand and beautiful entrance gate which has the statues of Jay and Vijay as the Dwarpalas.
It is believed that there is an idol of Lord Ganesha in the basement of the temple. Supposedly this idol has 20 hands and 10 trunks and is known as Mahokat. This is one of the most empowered representations of Lord Ganesha, but the temple authorities refuse the existence of any such idol.
All the Hindu festivals are celebrated here with gaiety, enthusiasm and 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 accosrding to the Hindu mythology.