Jejuri

Click on the photos for the larger images and you will see the intricate artistry, which went into them.

 

Jejuri  is situated 53 km from Pune in Maharashtra State. The town is known for being the venue of one of the revered temples in the state, known as the Khandobachi  Jejuri. The temple is dedicated to Khandoba, also known as Mhalsakant or Malhari Martand. Khandoba is regarded as the 'God of Jejuri' and is held in great reverence by the Dhangars, one of the oldest tribes in India.

 

Khandoba’s two principal wives Mhalsa and Banai are equated to Parvati and Ganga. Banai does not appear in the Sanskrit Malhari Mahatmya, the main scripture related to Khandoba, however it mentions Ganga arriving from heaven. Banai (Ganga) has a quarrel with Mhalsa (Parvati), ultimately ending with the message that both are the same. Some Dhangars consider Banai also to be a form of Parvati.

 

Frustrated by the constant quarrels between the two wives, Khandoba is said to have divided the hill of Jejuri into two halves: the lower half belongs to Banai, where she has a separate shrine while Mhalsa rules the upper half where she stays with Khandoba in the main temple. It is customary to pay respects to Banai on the way up to the main shrine, before worshipping Khandoba and Mhalsa there. It is said that Khandoba bestowed the honour of first worship on Banai, while sending her off to a separate residence.

 

Khandoba is often depicted with two identical goddesses accompanying him, representing Mhalsa and Bana.

The temple of Khandoba at Jejuri is located on the top of a small hill. You need to climb almost 200 steps to reach the temple

 

The idol of Khandoba in the temple is very beautiful. . Various weapons like Sword , Damaru and Paral are of historic remembrance.

 

Khandoba is  depicted with two identical goddesses accompanying him, representing Mhalsa and Bana  in the Jejuri  temple.

At the bottom of this holy idol are two naturally formed Siva Lingams. These are Swayambhu Lingams.

Lord Khandoba is very powerful and ever vigilant to protect his devotees.  That by appearing in front of him alone, that devotee’s troubles would be removed.

 

Those wishing to do more elaborate worship in the Jejuri  temple, should reach early in the morning at least 8 am, or even earlier and they can hire priests to do the special Poojas as per their requirements.