Siddhivinayak Temple – Home to Mumbai’s beloved God
One look at His sweet face, with those tiny twinkling eyes, the elephantine snout and the hand possessively clutching a modak, you instantly feel at peace. We’re talking about our very own Elephant God, Ganpati. For many of his devotees, he is the Almighty, but he is also their baby. They love taking care of him and pampering him during his festival, Ganesh Chaturthi. Many devotees bring idols of Ganpati, big and small, and treat him in an extra special way for a few days every year.
Ganesha – One who makes your wishes come true
One of Ganpati’s many homes, one is right in the middle of Mumbai, and sees a lot of visitors day in and day out. This is the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple located in the charming locale of Prabhadevi, near Dadar. Siddhivinayak, another name for Ganpati, is also known as the God who makes your wishes come true. The original Siddhivinayak Temple was built in 1801, and was not as affluent as it is today. But soon, all the biggies of the city, politicians and celebrities alike, helped in making this temple what it is today—a majestic abode for the local God!
The history of the temple
The Siddhivinayak Temple has a small hall that has the shrine for Siddhivinayak and the doors to the inner sanctum have intricate carvings of the eight manifestations of the God. The roof of the inner sanctum is gilded and houses the statue of Ganesha. You will also find a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman in the surroundings. The original structure when it was built in 1801 was a small brick temple with a dome-shaped brick sikhara (tower). It was built by the contractor Laxman Vithu Patil, and was funded by a rich lady called Deubai Patil. Deubai didn’t have any children and so, she wanted to build a temple for Lord Ganesha so he would grant children to other women who wanted children but couldn’t have any.
Visit the Elephant God
The Siddhivinayak Temple sees a huge throng of visitors especially on Tuesdays, considered to be the Lord’s Day. So, if you plan to pay a visit to this temple on Tuesday, come prepared to wait in line for a long time! You will find countless stalls outside the temple selling sweets and colourful garlands to be gifted to Ganesha, so you can pick something up to take inside. There will also be stalls that look after your footwear, as wearing shoes inside temple premises is not allowed.
The best thing to do is to decide on a weekday to visit the temple and take your time exploring and taking in the hustle and bustle of the Elephant God’s home!