Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Pune. It lies in the Budhwar Peth area of Pune near the popular Shaniwarwada, which used to be the base for the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire. The Halwai Ganapati Trust looks after the temple.
It was Shree Dagadusheth Halwai who founded this temple in 1893. Humble and down-to-earth by nature, he was a sweetmeat maker who grew into a rich businessman. The previous year, things became worse when his son succumbed to death from the epidemic plague. Due to this, he and his wife went into depression. To bring him back to normal state, his guru suggested him to create idols of Ganesha and Dattatreya upon which he made them. In the same year, he established the Halwai Ganapati Trust. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a renowned freedom fighter ofIndia, was a good friend of Dagadushethji. During the British rule, it was Lokmanya Tilak who came forward with a notion of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi as a public festival, which was otherwise celebrated at home. The main motive behind it was to unite people and encourage brotherhood. From that day onwards, this festival is celebrated as Ganeshotsav every year once.
Being one of the oldest temples of the city, people from Pune and other parts of the country come to visit the Dadagusheth Ganapati with faith and devotion to seek his blessings. Apart from the devotion towards him, the main features that fascinate the visitors again and again include a splendid Ganesha idol and the elegance of the temple. Embellished with almost 8 kilos of gold, the Ganesha idol is 7.5 feet high and 4 feet wide, which is the highlight of the temple. Plus, the construction of the temple has been done in such a manner that even an outsider can view the happenings of the temple and most importantly, the marvelous Ganesha idol. In addition, the overall decoration of the temple adds to its grandeur. It receives the most number of visitors during Ganeshotsav and Ganesh Chaturthi. During this time, people offer heaps of coconuts to the idol.
For safety reasons, the temple has the security cameras installed at different spots whereas the security guards patrol the crowd. Besides maintaining the temple, the Halwai Ganapati Trust serves the needy people from the donations received. This trust runs an old-age home called Pitashree in Pune itself and provides shelter and education for around 40 deprived children there. It also provides the ambulance service for the needy and health centers in tribal areas of Pune district. Thus this trust is leading a good example by working for the betterment of the society.
Finding the Dagadusheth Ganapati temple is not an issue as it is situated near Shaniwarwada. You can take a bus or hire a rickshaw to reach there. Thus make a visit to this temple to understand the reasons behind its popularity.