Ballaleshwar temple is one of the Ashtavinayakas. Among all the Ashtavinayakas, Ballaleshwar is the only incarnation of Ganesha that is known by his devotee's name. It is located in the village of Pali which is at a distance of 30 km from Karjat in the Raigad district at around 119 Kms. from Pune. It is situated between fort Sarasgad and the river Amba.
Legend of this Ashtavinayak is associated with the devotion of a boy called Ballala to Lord Ganesh. Ballala was an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesh. One day he organized a special pooja in his village- Pali and invited all other children of that village to take part in that. The pooja went on for several days and the devoted children refused to return home before the completion of the pooja by Ballala. This annoyed the parents; they complained to Kalyani Seth- father of Ballala. Kalyani seth went to the place where the pooja was taking place. He threw the Ganesh idol worshiped by the boy into forest; beaten him up severely. A seriously injured Ballala, though tired, continued with chanting Lord Ganesh prayers. Pleased with the devotion of the boy, Lord Ganesh appeared before him in the disguise of a sadhu and healed Ballala. The boy requested Lord Ganesh to take abode at his village. The Lord Ganesh agreed and told Ballala that he will be known here by the boy’s name.
The murti of Vinayaka sits on a stone throne, facing east with its trunk turned left and sitting against a background of silver which displays Riddhi and Siddhi waving chamaras. The murti's eyes and navel contain diamonds.
The original wooden temple was renovated in 1760 to make way for a new stone temple designed by Shri Fadnis. Built in the shape of the letter Shri, it was made by mixing lead with the cement during construction. The east-facing temple was carefully positioned so that, as the sun rises, sun rays fall directly on the murti during worship. The temple contains a bell that was brought back by Chimaji Appa after his defeat of the Portuguese in Vasai and Sasti.
The temple complex encircles two lakes and is tiled throughout. There are two sanctums in the temple, an inner and an outer sanctum. The inner sanctum is 15 feet (4.6 m) high, while the outer sanctum is only 12 feet (3.7 m) high. The outer sanctum contains a murti in the shape of a rat, holding modak in its hands while facing Ganesha. The main hall of the temple is 40 feet (12 m) long and 20 feet (6.1 m) wide and contains eight pillars resembling cyprus trees.
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