Mandore Ganesh Temple: Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi with a Touch of Rajasthani
Praying Ravana and Ganesh in the same temple
While India celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi, most tourists wanting a glimpse of the festivities can choose Maharashtra or Karnataka. But there are other parts of India that offer a unique experience of celebrating this festival and have a strong and direct connection with the elephant-headed God. Mandore in Rajasthan is one such place that can serve as an offbeat destination during Ganesh Chaturthi.
For those looking to experience Ganesh Chaturthi with a different flair, Mandore in Rajasthan is an ideal destination. Located about 350 km west of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, Mandore is best known for its connection to the demon king Ravana who is said to have married a celestial beauty called Mandodari, who is said to have been born here.
And to honor Mandore’s most famous son-in-law, a Ravana temple, with a large statue of the King of Sri Lanka, was built here. The same temple complex also houses a unique Ganesh temple, which is said to be the oldest and largest Ganesh statue built from a single stone.
The temple was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh, who was the ruler of Jodhpur from 1707 to 1724. The temple was built in a garden complex called Mandore Garden, about 17 km north of Jodhpur. Besides the idol of Ravana, another unique aspect of the temple is that the idol of Ganesh, which is placed in the center, is chained to two other idols – Kala Bheruji and Gora Bheruji, two local deities. Devotees from all over the country visit the temple seeking blessings.
Ganesh Chaturthi Festivals
As part of the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, the temple holds a flower festival, which is actually celebrated twice a year on the new moon day of Bhadrapad, currently in progress and Pause which falls in mid-December. During the Bhadrapad, Jodhpur vendors take part in the flower decoration for the troops on August 27. It is an alternate version of Mahashivratri, where Lord Ganesh is offered flowers, honey and other sweet offerings!
Mewari Architectural Wonders
The Mandore Garden Complex along with the rest of the city boasts of several architectural marvels that display the beauty of Mewari architecture. Starting with the temple itself, which houses a marvel. A single rock was used to carve the figures of 16 Hindu deities! The garden also has several cenotaphs honoring various personalities including the rulers of Jodhpur. Outside the garden, wonders include the Royal Cenotaph, Ek Thamba Mahal, the now ruined Mandore Fort, and the Chhatris (cenotaphs) of the rulers of Jodhpur. The garden also houses a public museum known as the “Hall of Heroes” which commemorates the region’s famous folk heroes.
Fairs and festivals
As in most Indian cities, fairs and festivals play a major role in Mandore’s folk culture. Some fairs include:
Rao’s Day: During the festival, the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort rumbles with musical notes filled with ecstasy, joy and euphoria. The history of the Rao Festival dates back to the 15e century when the founder of Jodhpur, Rao Jodha Rathore made the city his capital in 1459. Eventually, he married the sister of a local prince who helped him establish an empire in the region. The festival is celebrated to mark the occasion.
Hariyali Amavasya: The Shravan month, in mid-July, marks the start of a plethora of festivals for Hindus. It also marks the beginning of the monsoon season. As its name suggests, the Hariyali Amavasya marks the celebration of greenery, a true prayer to Lord Shiva for bountiful monsoons for a good harvest.
Veerpuri Mela: This festival is celebrated in the temple of Ganesh on the penultimate Monday of Shravana month each year in honor of the heroes of Rajasthan. Cash, coconuts and sweets are offered in front of deities Ganesh, Bhairon, Chamunda and Kankali.
The Bhogishail Parikrama is a circumambulation of the Bhogshail hills in Jodhpur. The 105 km long is a seven-day ritual that is celebrated every three years according to the Hindu calendar, on the occasion of the month of Purshottam. More than 100,000 faithful participate in this circumambulation to wash away their sins. The journey of faith is organized under ‘Hindu Seva Mandal’ and is strewn with obstacles: rocky terrain, inaccessible hill cuts and other roadblocks. More than 50 voluntary religious organizations and all departments of the district administration work together to make the event possible.