One of my most favorite spots in the city – Sarasbaug. For those who do not know (I will be genuinely surprised) Sarasbaug has always been one of our city’s major landmarks. Now of course, the major highlight of Sarasbaug is the majestic Ganpati temple, simply because it has always been of utmost historical importance. Located just 3 km away from Swargate, this temple and Sarasbaug have proven to be one of the most important city-centric points. Let’s see why Sarasbaug is so irresistibly charming!
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A gorgeous lake occupied the space which Sarasbaug does today. However, since the lake dried up, the 25-acre land was developed into the beautiful complex which we now know as Sarasbaug.
The Ganpati temple is also popularly referred as ‘Talyatla Ganpati’ which literally translates to Ganpati in the lake. So in 1750, the construction of this lovely temple commenced during the Peshwa rule, Nanasaheb Peshwe to be precise. Requiring a lengthy 34 years for completion, the Ganpati temple was finally constructed in 1784. It was built in the lake near the Parvati Temple, which was also the primary residence of the Peshwa family.
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The temple holds extreme strategic importance from a military point of view. In the 18th and 19th century, it was used for military strategic discussions against the Nizam and British empire.
It’s said that the Peshwe used to go with their commanders and advisors in the lake by a boat where they would discuss their military plans and line of action. The interesting point to be noted here is that the boats were steered by non-native people, for example, Africans, for complete secrecy as they did not understand the local Marathi language.
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In the past two centuries, the temple has been renovated several times. In 1842, a notable renovation took place with the help of East India Company. In 1969, another major renovation took place under the direction of Mahadev Kumthekar and Anandrao Mane. That’s when the renowned Peshwe Park was built in the 25-acre land. However, the animals were all relocated to Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park in 2005. There’s also a tiny museum which displays over a hundred idols of Lord Ganpati. This museum is located in the premises of Sarasbaug.
The Ganapati temple is run under the authority of Shree Devdeveshwar Sansthan, Parvati and Kothrud. It gets a tremendous amount of visitors daily and it’s said that on Ganesh Chaturthi, the temple is visited by almost 80 thousand worshipers.