Devotee donates warm clothes to deity in view of dipping mercury; surge in number of visitors as curiosity pulls many to 250-year-old temple
As the temperature dipped in the city, trustees of the famous Sarasbaug Ganapati temple decided to adorn the idol with a woollen sweater and cap to keep the Elephant God warm. A 55-year-old devotee, Shashikant Dharmadhikari, donated the warm clothes for the Ganesh idol and the temple trustees wrapped the idol in the sweater and cap 15 days ago.
Warm regards: The idol at Sarasbaug Ganapati temple.
The 250-year-old Sarasbaug Ganapati temple is one of the heritage places in the city. It was founded by Nanasaheb Peshwa during the Peshwa regime. A state government employee, Dharmadhikari has been a devotee of the Sarasbaug Ganapati for three decades.
"I got the warm clothes specially woven. I had also got a special shawl made for the Sai Baba deity in Mumbai two year ago," Dharmadhikari said. Sudhir Pandit, a trustee of the Sarasbaug Temple, said: "We welcome such gestures by the devotees.
In fact, on behalf of our own Dev Deveshwar Trust we have also kept aside warm clothes for the deities." Shrikar Pandav, priest of the temple, said a sudden increase in the number of devotees coming to the Sarasbaug Ganapati temple had been observed.
He said that apart from curious onlookers, there were several politicians coming to seek blessings prior to the civic elections next month. "Around 30 to 40 politicians, aspiring candidates or political supporters visit the temple and seek blessings," he said. Among the devotees who visited the temple were Congress leaders Datta Pokale and Milind Pokale. Sachin Benkar, Kaka Chavan and Rahul Pokale of the Nationalist Congress Party also came to seek blessings.
Benkar, a leader from Dhayari, said: "I have faith in Ganapati and do visit Sarasbaug temple as a part of my religious sentiments." Chavan, an aspiring NCP candidate from Wadgaon Budruk, said: "My special prayers are that the city gets good political leadership in the days to come."