Dhundiraj Ganpati Temple, Vadodara

M and I have our little story linked to this temple (its 160 year old history apart). This temple was a mystery 2 months back. We scoured for it in the whole of Wadi area and MG Road (in rain and wind, in August) but failed to find it. So determined were we to locate it, we drove on the 2 wheeler, totally drenched, on crowded roads one Sunday evening and accepted confusing instructions from locals who had only vaguely heard of it. We stopped our search only when rain threatened to give us flu.

I was convinced the temple doesn’t exist.

Until, a friend, like a stork bringing happy news, informed us that his friend’s father has been a pandit (priest) in that very temple. Both of them led us there last Sunday (which incidentally happened to be my second-last day in Baroda) and very frankly, I had no hopes. I expected a really dilapidated, unimpressive temple.

I was quite wrong. The sight that met my eyes left me speechless (even though I did find the exteriors a bit bland).

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This temple is located in the heart of Wadi area. You need to reach there by meandering through narrow housing lanes and I assure you, once is not enough to remember the way.

The upsetting thing is the temple is totally concealed by a high wall, which makes it impossible to picture an important monument inside. No wonder, hardly anyone has ever heard of it. It’s disappointing and worrying that such a gem is hidden from everyone and is not getting the attention, praise, admiration it deserves.

The temple was built by Gopalrao Mairal, a diwan during the regime of Sayaji Rao Gaekwad II. As per a story, he was quite wealthy and close to the King; he had even lent some Crores of rupees to the latter in time of need. Today, the 5th generation of Mairals are maintaining the temple.

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The monument has been built using Gujarati and Marathi architecture. The arches, doors, ceiling and pillar supports are very colourful, blue, yellow, red and green very predominant. A unique combination of wood and marble has been used to build it. A Ganeshji idol, which is flanked by Riddhi and Siddhi (usually not spotted), is placed for worship. Pooja and aarti still happens here 3 times a day.

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A strong resemblance can be seen with Tambekar Wada. The jaali work, flowery motifs and excess use of colour is common to both monuments.

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We were shown around by current members of Mairal family who stay right there, maintain the temple and perform daily rituals. They were nice people and were happy to have interested visitors as guests.

This is a piece of art. A masterpiece.

Barodians, go and take a look immediately!

Others, DON’T MISS IT if you happen to be in Baroda during daytime.

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Categories: Gujarat Diaries, India, Photography, Travel, Vadodara | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

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51 thoughts on “Dhundiraj Ganpati Temple, Vadodara

  1. What is the address? Any link or url in google maps?

    Isnt it heritage monument?

    • Search for the following on Google Maps:

      Ganpati Mandir, Wadi, Vadodara, Gujarat

      That’s the place.

      It does not have the Heritage Monument tag yet.

      • alkesh

        Located in Wadi Rangmahal, near Fadnis Wadi Vadodara.

      • Thank you for the exact address..

      • AARTI

        I GIVE U ADDRESS MAIRAL GANPATI MANDIR NR. MAHARASHTRA KRIDA MANDAL WADI FADANISH ROAD BARODA.

    • Located in Wadi Rangmahal, near Fadnis Wadi Vadodara.

    • AARTI

      I GIVE U ADDRESS ” DHUNDIRAJ GANPATI TEMPLE” ITS ALSO KNOW AS MAIRAL GANPATI MANDIR NR. MAHARASHTRA KRIDA MANDAL WADI FADANISH ROAD BARODA.

  2. This is a wow place. The intricate details and the colors are so pretty! The knocker is a beaut!

  3. Nice temple and lovely captures.

    http://www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

  4. This is a beautiful place and your post is fantastic. I am visiting Vadodara in December and will definitely look for this temple.

    • Thanks! Do check out the other places I have written about. Many of them are hidden treasures. Visit them too, if the pictures interest you!

  5. Loved it 🙂 And your cover photo is has a great deal of your character. keep travelin!

  6. It was lovely to discover the temple! I love the part of our 2 wheeler ride too 😉 Lovely photos, as usual NS!

    • 🙂 I will never forget the 2 wheeler ride for sure! And, this also happens to be our last exploration mission together in Baroda.. 😦

  7. gorgeous! I’ve not even heard of this temple… India never fails to throw such surprises at you!

    • Thanks. Even Barodians don’t know about it. Even people who stay in 5 km vicinity don’t know abt it. So damn sad.

  8. This is a colourful and happening temple. Nice post, Neha.

  9. This indeed is a cheerful temple, with colors and intricate work. I have not visited Gujarat, but for AH. This seems a nice place to plan around. Thanks for sharing. And lovely photographs too.

    • Thanks.

      If you liked Ahmedabad, you will surely love the rest of Gujarat. Its monuments are worth seeing..

      • alkesh

        Vadodara also have nice wooden work monuments but suprisingly no one took care or owners sold it in urge to make big buildings.. 1 .Gaekwad Havli , Navlakhi Haveli (navlakha complex)
        3 Surevar Desi havli, and many houses have been ruined . i feel sorry about that but its not only owners responsible coz some cant maintain due to loss of money .. but its differnt story
        my mail is zaverialkesh@gmail.com

      • You are right. Baroda has lot of wood work monuments; that is typical Gujarati architecture. And people have not preserved it neither have promoted it. No one visits them. Hence, they are ignored more.

        Sad, I myself had not heard of the 2 monuments you mentioned here..

  10. Another delightful post. These are wonderful old structures which are very well captured.
    I have just returned from Goa. My travel piece on it coming soon. I don’t know how it would be as I have never written a travel post before 😀

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  12. The Creative Lens

    Very beautiful temple and pictures. Will never miss it if I am there.

  13. Love the colors. So catchy and yet so soothing

  14. Pingback: Summing Up 2012 « Therefore I travel

  15. I remember this post and the pictures of those ornate doors never left my mind. 🙂 I’ll be back to check out the rest of the ‘best posts’ of the year.
    You take care and enjoy your new home, ok. 🙂

  16. i was looking for pics so long i used visit it every day while working in wadi and pratapnagar used to visit every day this makes me so happy can u send this picturs on my emai zaverialkesh@gmail.com

  17. VADODARA: An ancient Sanskrit manuscript which was translated at the MSU department of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit has revealed details of a 157-year-old temple of Vadodara, its history and the other information about the erstwhile Baroda state. The temple exists even today and reveals a unique blend of architectural styles.
    The manuscript titled ‘Ganesha Tosini’ and dated 1870 AD, was written by Kashikar Prabhakar who was resident of Varanasi and had visited the erstwhile Baroda state in 1870.
    Department of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit head Uma Deshpande said the manuscript was given to her by seventh generation descendants of Gopalarava Mairal, who was Sardar in the erstwhile Baroda State during the time of Maharaja Khanderao Gaekwad.
    The manuscript gives details about Vatapattana (as the city was called then) and the erstwhile Maharaja Khanderao Gaekwad. It reveals that Mairal commissioned the construction of the temple 157 years ago. He was a wealthy Sardar of the Baroda State, and even gave loans to Mahraja Sayajirao Gaekwad II to meet expenditure of the latter’s son.
    The temple has withstood 157 years and stands in the old city area in Wadi Rangmahal. It is called Dhundiraj Ganpati temple of the Mairals. It is unique as it displays a unique architectural style. In the past many students of the department of architecture have come to the temple for study and sketches.
    “It is an amalgamation of Maharashtrian and Gujarati styles of temple architecture. The wooden carvings and the pillars display the unique style of the period. It also bears similarity to Tambekar wada which is an ASI protected monument,” says Prof S V Deshpande of the department of architecture. For students of Sanskrit too the temple became important after the manuscript was found and translated. Uma Deshpande says: “The manuscript itself is a unique literary treasure as it is in poetry format, and in addition to being an invocation to the Gods it also gives information about the period it was written in.”
    Kishore Mairal, one of the seventh generation descendants of Gopalrava Mairal, says, “The temple is now managed by the Mairal family trust and we have taken care of the traditions. Every evening, we have a person coming here to play the ‘shehenai’ as per the tradition of ‘Shehenai vadan’ at the temple. There are two beautiful fountains, which become operation once a year on Ganesh Chaturthi,” he said.
    This temple is unique as the marble idol of Lord Ganesha is placed with idols of his wives Riddhi and Siddhi and their children Labh and Laksh. The ‘moushaq’ which is generally at the feet of Lord Ganesh is placed in this temple on marble pedestal outside the temple.
    The manuscript describes the temple as a ‘superb shrine’ built within a palatial building. Though, over the years the ‘palatial structure has deteriorated, it still retains its royal charm, says Deshpande.
    VADODARA: It’s Gujarat’s one of the oldest Lord Ganesh temples and perhaps the only one made completely out of wood. The carvings on its wooden pillars are a must-watch apart from the fountain kept right in the front of lord’s idol.

    However, the 161-year-old Dhundiraj Ganpati Mandir at city’s Wadi area is struggling to maintain its age-old existence and is crying for attention. The temple is a mark of not only the religious bend that eminent people had during the regime of Sayajirao Gaekwad II, but also of their love for art. Gopalrao Mairal, who was a diwan during the rule of Gaekwad, constructed the two-storeyed temple.
    Gopalrao, a Ganesh devotee, designed the temple that has Maharashtrian and Gujarati styles of architecture. “This temple is like a monument and we are trying our best to preserve it. Not many know about its architectural importance. It’s a heritage structure and the government should protect it,” said Dr Ashutosh Mairal, whose family-run trust is maintaining the temple.
    “The Mairal family has been preserving the sanctity and structure of the temple over last one-and-a-half century. We have succeeded in maintaining the temple till date, but who will do it in future? We want the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take up its preservation and declare it as a heritage structure,” said Mairal, who heads the textile chemistry department at M S University.
    The temple constructed by labourers brought in especially from Hyderabad, Rajasthan and Mumbai is spread over 44,000 sq feet. Made from original teakwood, it stands on 44 pillars of 16 inch diametre each. The ‘mushak’, which is normally placed near Ganesh’s feet in temples, has been placed outside the temple facing towards the idol. The idol of Ganesh, flanked by two wives — Riddhi and Siddhi — and two sons — Laabh and Laksh — can be seen from between the two ears of mushak.
    Gopalanand Swami of Swaminarayan Sect had performed ‘havan’ to sanctify the temple after it was constructed. “ASI is the right body to preserve such monuments as it has better resources. The structure will help our future generation to know about our ancient art and culture,” Mairal added.

  18. Natasha

    NS- this mandir is very very special to me. I spent many hours as a little kid playing here, but I haven’t been back in years. So wonderful to see the pictures!

    • Thank you Natasha! I am hearing from so many people who have an emotional connect with this place.. I feel happy to have done a piece on this temple..

  19. Nikita

    NS – Thanks for taking the time to go there and also take pictures. These pictures brought back lots of childhood memories. My mother comes from Mairal family and hence the connection. Unfortunately haven’t gone back in years. The mandir used to one of our playgrounds during our summer vacations. Still the sounds of “shahanai and the nagadas” is fresh. I still keep the picture of Ganapati and Riddhi, Siddhi in my poojaghar.

    • Thanks Nikita. I am happy I brought back some good memories for you. I hope you get to go back one day..

  20. Pingback: Summing Up 2012 | Therefore I travel

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    http://www.lifelinetourism.com

  22. Please kindly give me the contact phone number and name of this Family – who are the caretakers and priests at this temple. I have worshipped this gaNapati from childhood via a photograph. I want to have prayers offered there. I spent the first 7 years of my childhood in barODa and came to know of this temple via a Maharastrian family friend. I never visited there – but, have kept the photograph with me have been worshipping the same. Please kindly give me their contact information – I have been looking for it for a while now. It’s a very auspicious sign that on akshaya truteeya day today – I came across your detailed article. I have a beautiful high-resolution photograph of the main deity – I can share it with you. I have this photograph printed and mounted on my front-door – so that I do not miss seeing Him daily – every time I enter or leave my home. If you have taken any photographs of the main-deity – please kindly share them with me as well. I am deeply devoted to this deity within this temple. Please kindly reply to my email id. Thank you, With best regards, Raghavendra.

    • Sure,I’ll ask my friend who took me there and then pass it to you.

      I do not see your mail id here. Please put it down here, or send me a message on my FB page.

  23. madhavsinh udaysinh gaekwad

    Its amazing temple. Every barodian must visit it once. My home is jst beside of this temple

    • Truly amazing. Those who have lived in Baroda and have visited this temple, have a special attachment to it. I can understand why.

  24. Awesome write up, and the images are truly amazing. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post. If you are planning a trip to Vadodara and wants to know about Vadodara tourism visit http://travelomiles.com/vadodara-tourism/. Here you will get all the information about Vadodara tourism, such as places to visit there, hotels in Vadodara, best time to visit vadodara etc.

  25. NP

    Just returned from India trip and visited to this mandir. It brings back childhood memories. Stumbled upon this article and found great information. Thanks for sharing…

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