Mahad is a village situated in the hilly region of Konkan region in the Raigad district and the Khalapur Taluka of Maharastra. It is considered to be one of the Astha Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra. It is believed that Ganesh as Varad Vinayak fulfils all desires of the devotees. This region was known as Bhadrak or Madhak in ancient times.
It is believed that King Rukmangad reached the ashram of
Vachaknavi Rishi and met Mukunda, wife of an ascetic. She was very much
attracted to the king, but the King refused and spurned her. She was
dejected and Mukunda cursed the king that he'd be stricken by leprosy
forever, but later bathing at the Kadamba pond cured the king's leprosy.
Lord Indra was also attracted by the beauty of Mukunda which made him come down from devaloka to the earth disguised as Rukmangad. Their union lead to the birth of a child called Gruthsmadh. Later on when Gruthsmadh came to know about this, he cursed his mother and went into the Bhadrak forest for meditation. He asked Lord Vinayaka for purification of his sin and his wish was granted. He adopted the forest of Bhadrak, which is today called Mahad. Since this is the place where Gruthsmadh was granted his wish, the temple is called Varadavinayak.
The Varad Vinayak temple is facing towards east. The idol
of the deity seen in the garbhagriha, faces east and the trunk of the
deity turns to the left. The original idol had been damaged and so the
temple trust decided to install a new idol and the old idol was to be cast
away. The devotees objected it and the controversy is still existing over
this issue. The matter is pending in the court. So one can see both the
old and new idol.
The temple has been renovated recently. The statues of elephants, two on each side, surround the temple. Few of its sections are scrolled in gold. The stone statues of Riddhi and Siddhi can be seen after entering the door. One idol is made in white Marble the other idol is covered with sindoor.
The most unique attraction of the temple is a lamp that is burning constantly since 1892 AD. On the Northern side of the temple is a Gomukh, a visage of a cow from which the tirth holy water flows. There is a holy pond on the west.
It is easily accessible by road from either Mumbai or Pune . Tourists can get down at Mumbai airport or Pune according to their convenience and take bus from Khalapur. There are also special buses, which are called Astha Vinayak darshan that take tourists to all the eight temples, run by government of Maharashtra and also private operators.
Accommodation is available in the Dharamshalas and rooms let by local people.