Pune was once the sitting throne of the Maratha empire. Our culture and history revolve around the victories and sacrifices our people had to make. Our pride lies in how true we have always stayed to what we have been taught; and religion is a huge reason for it.
Ever since the commiseration of Ganeshotsav by Lokmanya Tilak, Maharashtra has been united under one name, one God. For Pune, the ‘manache’ Ganpati have always held unprecedented importance. The five manache Ganpati are scattered in different areas of the city and they hold the skeleton of the city together, like vital organs.
Of those five legendary deities, the first (literally) and the only presiding deity happens to be Kasba Ganpati. The story of Kasba Ganpati is also the story of Pune’s rapid growth- from a modest city with culture and history to a huge metropolitan city now. Our deity has seen and presided over it all.
In 1630, a young Shivaji saw the plight of the Marathas and vowed to free our kingdom from the Mughals. Coincidentally, an idol of Lord Ganesh was found near the house of Vinayak Thakar, who used to live near the royal queen and Shivaji’s mother- Jijabai Bhosale.
Jijamata considered this lucky find to be an auspicious signal from the deities, and instructed Shivaji to build a temple for the idol. The temple and the idol together are known today as Kasba Ganpati Mandir. This is where ‘swarajya’ took birth for Shivaji Maharaj as well.
Later on, The Peshwa dynasty worshipped and cherished this deity. It is said that the Peshwas used to walk from Shaniwarwada to Kasba Peth on foot to worship Lord Ganesh every week. Keeping this history in mind, Lokmanya Tilak constructed the idea of ‘sarvajanik Ganeshotsav’. Kesariwada and Kasba Ganpati became integral parts of Ganeshotsav and acted as a catalyst for the fight against the British.
With the successful start of Ganeshotsav, other mandals soon took birth. The five manache ganpati are actually the first five ‘sarvajanik’ Ganesh mandals.
When the idea of ‘visarjan’ was collectively voted for, all the mandals got into arguments; who would get to immerse the idol first? However, Lokmanya Tilak resolved the rivalry and declared Kasba Ganpati as the first in line for Visarjan. To this day, the order has never been broken.
After understanding the history of Pune and Ganeshotsav, it’s no doubt that Kasba Ganpati plays a pivotal role in establishing the importance of Ganeshotsav and unity.