Ashtavinayaka or eight Ganeshas are located in Maharashtra state. The Ashtavinayakayatra or pilgrimage covers the eight holy temples of Ganesh. All the eight Ashtavinayak Temples are Swayambhu(self-originated) and Jagrut.
Tripurasur was the son of Sage Gritsamad. One day the sage sneezed and from this was created a young boy who the Sage brought up as his own son. The sage taught the boy the ‘Gananam Twa’, Ganesh Mantra. Equipped with this mantra the boy meditated intensely on Ganesh who ultimately blessed him. He was given three pura-s of gold, silver and iron. Since he was the owner of these three pura’s he was given the name Tripur. Ganesh also bestowed on Tripur to be the most powerful, who none but Shiva himself could destroy and after being destroyed by Lord Shiva he would attain mukti-salvation.
This boon made Tripur proud and he brought havoc in the entire world. He conquered the Nether world and then proceeded to take over Heaven. He defeated Indra the king of heaven. His aggression made Brahma hide in a lotus and Vishnu in the kshirsagar (ocean of milk). He soon also took over Shiva’s Kailash Parvat and thus became the King of all the three worlds. The gods wondered on how to vanquish Tripurasur. Narada told them that, since he had been granted a boon by Ganesh himself it would be very difficult to vanquish him. He advised them to meditate on Ganesh. Pleased by the prayers Ganesh decided to help the Gods.
Disguised as Brahmin he visited Tripurasur and told him that he was a very enlightened Brahmin and could make for him three flying planes. Riding these he would be able to go anywhere he wished within minutes. The planes could only be destroyed by Shiva. In return Ganesh asked him to get him the statue of Chintamani which was at the Kailash Mountain. Shiva refused to give the statue to Tripurasur’s messenger. The angry Tripurasur himself went to get the statue. A fierce battle started between him and Shiva. He destroyed everything that belonged to the Lord Shiva who too retired to the Girikandar.
Shiva too realized that he was unable to destroy Tripurasur because he had not paid his respects to Ganesh. He recited the Shadaakshar Mantra to invoke Ganesh. On doing so from his mouth emerged Gajanan to grant Shiva a boon. Shiva continued his invocation of Ganesh who ultimately directed him on how Tripurasur could be killed. Lord Shiva was asked to recite the Sahastranaam and then direct an arrow at the three pura’s of Tripurasur.
The village Ranjangaon is considered to be the place where Shiva himself sought the blessings of Ganesh and ultimately destroyed Tripurasur. The temple of MahaGanapati is very close to the centre of the town Ranjangaon. The temple was erected during the rule of the Peshwas. The temple was built by Sardar Kine. Peshwa Madhavrao had constructed the Garbhagriha, the sanctum to house the swayambhoo statue. The place where Shiva invoked Lord Ganesh he also created a temple for him.
The temple faces east. It has an imposing main gate which is guarded by two statues of Jay and Vijay. The temple is designed in such away that during Dakshinayan, the apparent movement of the sun to the south, the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol. This statue has ten trunks and twenty arms and on both sides of the idol are statues of Riddhi and Siddhi.
Yatra : Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi
By road : About 50 km from Pune on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway.
Railway : Uruli is nearest railway station on the Pune-Solapur line. The temple is situated 16 km from the station.