Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati
Dagadusheth Halwai (Dagadusheth Gadve) was Lingayat trader and Sweet maker (Halwai in Marathi). He originally came from Karnataka and settled in Pune. After he gained fame as a Halwai, that became his surname. His original Halwai shop still exists under the name Kaka Halwai near Datta Mandir in Pune.
Mr. Dagdusheth Halwai was a successful sweetmeat seller and a rich businessman. In late 1800s, he lost his son in a plague epidemic. This caused Dagdusheth and his wife to go into deep depression. To heal themselves, their Guru, Shri Madhavnath Maharaj recommended building a Ganesh temple. This was completed in 1893.
Lokmanya Tilak, the Indian Nationalist leader and a contemporary of Dagdusheth, was a close friend of him. Tilak saw his dedication and also the construction of the temple and it was here that the idea of celebrating public Ganesh festival struck him. It proved to be an epoch making event in Indian history.
Every year the Ganapati festival was celebrated with deep faith and enthusiasm not only by Dagdusheth’s family but the entire neighbourhood. Tatysaheb Godse, then in his early youth, was a zestful participant in the celebrations. In later years when Lokmanya Tilak made Ganapati festival a public celebration to bring people together for the freedom struggle, Dagdusheth Ganapati became the most respected and popular idol in Pune.
In 1952, the responsibility of organizing the festival at Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati temple officially fell upon Tatyasaheb and his group of friends. Under Tatyasaheb’s able guidance and leadership, his associates like Mamasaheb Rasane, Adv. Shankarrao Suryavanshi and K. D. Rasane planned and executed the festival with meticulous planning and professionalism, and since then, there was no looking back for them. As generous donors and devotees contributed towards the temple fund, Tatyasaheb and his friends thought what better way to worship the Lord than to serve our own fellow beings.
Soon, the young motivated group took the activities of the festival and the temple beyond traditional worship, into the domain of social and cultural development. Besides a rich religious schedule at the temple, they engaged in addressing the social and political problems of the state.
Under the aegis of Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganapati Trust, they started several social initiatives including educational and financial support to deprived children, micro finance to small businessmen and vendors through Suvarnayug Sahakari Bank, old age home, rehabilitation of workers working at brick kilns to name only a few.
Today Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganapati Trust, by Lord Ganesha’s blessings has flourished into a veteran organization that is gratified to worship the Lord through its service to humanity.
The temple is a beautiful construction and boasts a rich history of over 100 years. Jay and Vijay, the two sentinels made of marble catch the eye of all at the outset. The construction is so simple that all the proceedings in the temple along with the beautiful Ganesh idol can be seen even from outside. The Ganesh idol is 7.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It is adorned with nearly 8 kilos of gold. The devotees of Lord Ganesh offer Him gold and money and with every offering the Lord gets richer and richer. Moreover, heaps of coconuts offered to the deity are yet another feature of the temple. Daily pooja, abhisheka and the arti of Lord Ganesh are worth attending. The lighting of the temple during the Ganesh festival is marvelous. Shrimant Dagdusheth Ganpati Trust looks into the maintenance of the temple. Various cultural activities like music concerts, bhajans, and Atharvasheersh recitation are organized by the trust.
Shri Datta Mandir placed in Budhwar Peth, Pune was their residential Building. Dagduseth's grandson govindseth was also famous for his kindness and generosity.In Pune, govind halwai chowk is famous by his name.
He later established the Halwai Ganapati Trust. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, during the British Raj, gave a public form to the Ganesh festival celebrations as a way of getting around an order that barred public meetings.
The main Ganesh idol is insured for sum of ?10 million (US$160,000). People are celebrating 125 years of celebration for this Ganapati in the year 2017.
From Pune Airport the temple is 11.3 Km, from Pune Railway Station 4 Km and from Dagdusheth Bus Stop 02 m. City buses, Taxis and autos are easily available.
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