A Punekar or not, every person who is a part of this city right now knows about the legendary Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati. The indomitable jewel of our city, this beloved Ganpati and his Mandir gets a heavy amount of visitors. Adorned with gold and diamonds, this deity is a relief for sore eyes.
When I think of Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, I get a healthy dose of nostalgia. I remember being a part of the congested crowd on Laxmi road at 4 am on Anant Chaturdashi. Waiting anxiously to see the gorgeous idol slowly parade in front of me, so I could touch it and pray. Every Punekar has an emotional attachment with Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, and rightly so! Here are some interesting facts to cement our faith in our city’s beautiful savior.
Dagdusheth Halwai, originally Dagdusheth Gadve, was a Sweet maker from Karnataka. After gaining enormous success in his business, he was referred by the locals as Dagdusheth Halwai (sweet maker) His original shop still exists near Datta Mandir, we know it by the popular name- Kaka Halwai.
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The temple was established in 1893 by a grief-stricken Dagdusheth Halwai. After losing his son to the plague, Dagdusheth and his wife were advised by their Guru- Shri Madhavnath Maharaj, to build a Ganpati Temple. The temple became a healing source for not just the merchant and his wife, but to the millions of Punekars who still visit it regularly.
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Lokmanya Tilak was a close friend of Dagdusheth Halwai. While witnessing the construction of the temple, it dawned on him that Maharashtra needed a festival to come together and celebrate. Thus, the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati became a source of historical importance; this is where the festival originated!
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Often renowned for making several devotees weep tears of joy, this idol simply cannot be explained in words. To call it beautiful would be an understatement. It is merely 7.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide, but unlike Mumbai’s Ganpati idols, Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati is famous for his elegant and detailed facial features, rather than the idol’s size. The idol is adorned with more than 8 kilos of gold.
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Worshipped by his devotees for being the ever-granting deity, Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati gets hundreds of thousands of visitors during the Ganpati festival. The mandir receives a staggering amount of coconuts daily, prasad offered by those who come to pray. Several celebrities visit Dagdusheth Ganpati for the Abhishek ritual, one such celebrity being Amitabh Bachchan.
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Dagdusheth and his grandson Govindsheth shared a common belief- service to man is service to God. Thus, the Temple’s Trust was established, and is now one of the richest trust foundations in India. This trust receives heavy donations and they are renowned for their philanthropic work. They operate an old age home called ‘Pitashree’ and they are also responsible for the maintenance and decoration of the temple.
The Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati is an active part of the annual religious festivals. Apart from the daily pooja and arti, several other events are organized by the temple’s trust foundation. The Mango, Mogra and music festival are worth checking out. There’s also an Atharvasheersha recitation event organised by the trust. You can take a look at their schedule.