Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple, Pune - Ganesh Chaturthi public festival first began here

Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune findmessages.com
Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune is a popular one and is being visited by thousands of devotees  every year.  The temple is so famous, besides celebrities, politicians from Maharashtra including the rookies made a beeline to this temple to get blessed by Lord Ganapathi. The CMs of Maharashtra State never fail to pay a visit to this temple during the ten day festival - Ganeshutsavam. 
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune junglekey.in

There is a story behind the origin of this temple which was founded by one Dagadusheth Gadve who settled in Pune and was a Lingayat trader and Sweet maker (Halwai in Marathi). Hailing from  Ausa, District Latur, Maharashtra, he engaged in Halva making business. Soon, his quality halwa became a popular sweet item which the old and young loved to taste. Subsequently he gained name as  a Halwai (meaning sweet maker in Marathi), that became his surname. His old  Halwai shop is still operating  under the name Kaka Halwai near Datta Mandir in Pune. Mr. Dagdusheth Halwai became a successful business man in the 1800s through dint of hard work and good customer service. The edit of God is that no body is free from misfortune and in the case of Dagadusheth Halwai, in the late 1800s he lost his son in a plague epidemic that swept across Pune and Bombay.  Grief-stricken and depressed, he could not get over the loss of his beloved son. To get rid of mental agony and dejection, he sought the help of their Guru, Shri Madhavnath Maharaj who suggested that he build a Ganesh mandir. Upon his advice and to get himself going, he put his mind and energy in the construction of a mandir dedicated to Lord Ganapath (Vinayagar meaning one who removes the obstacles). The temple was completed in  n 1893.

Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune junglekey.in

An interesting fact is emerging from this temple with respect to Public Ganesh festival Lokmanya Tilak (23 July 1856- 1 August 1920), a great freedom fighter, social reformer  and an important  Indian Nationalist leader (he was the one who advocated Self-rule for the Indians)  was a close friend of Dagadusheth Halwai. He was amazed by the dedication and interest  with which  his friend  was busy with  the construction of the temple (mandir). It was right at this temple  the idea of celebrating public Ganesh festival  dawned on Tilak. It proved to be an epoch making event in Indian history. During the British Raj, Tilak gave a public form to the Ganesh festival celebrations as a way of getting around a Government order that barred public meetings.

This  temple steeped in rich history is a beautiful one and at the entrance one can see the sentinels - Jay and Vijay  made of marble. Being simple in design   all the proceedings in the temple- puja, etc  before the  Ganesh idol can be seen even from outside.  The amazing fact is this huge Gansh idol measuring 2.2 metres tall and one metre wide is adorned with roughly 40 kilos of gold. The devotees of Lord Ganesh,  in order to fullfil their vow or to make wish before him, offer gold and money. Each donation is well accounted and taken care of properly.  Daily puja protocols such as  abishekam (anointing) and the arti of Lord Ganesh are  done regularly. Tons of coconuts are offered almost daily to the temple by the devotees.  Yet another surprising fact is the main  Ganesh idol is insured for a sum of ₹10 million (US$150,000).  During the Vinayakar festival time, this place is over crowded and is well lit. The colorful lighting attracts lots of children  The entire place is drenched in religious fervor with Ganapati mantra renting the air. Shrimant Dagdusheth Ganpati Trust is taking care of the maintenance of the temple.  Shri Datta Mandir in Budhwar Peth, Pune  is in a busy area.  The trust organises various cultural and religious events - bhajans and music concerts - mostly classical. The trust is one of the richest in Maharashtra and is engaged in various charitable activities. Way back in 2003 they built an old age  home  at a cost of US. 220,000.00. They also run health care centers for the poor people, particularly in the tribal belt.   
Among the various Hindu festivals, Ganesh festival (Vinayaka Chathrthi) is celebrated on a grand scale.