The Shrimant Dagdushet Halwai Mandir is amongst the foremost Ganpati temples in Pune. It was established in the year 1894, when Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak, one of the early spearheads of the Indian independence movement, gave Ganesh chaturthi celebrations a public platform.The Ganesha temple was initially constructed by Dagdushet Halwai a rich sweetmeat seller at the behest of his guru Madhavnath maharaj, and the temple was thus given his name. Earlier Dagdushet Halwai had lost his son to the plague and to alleviate his grief he was instructed by his guru to have idols of Dattareya and Ganesha conscecrated .Today the original idol donated by Shree Dagdushet Halwai finds place in Akara Maruti Mandir in Shukrawar peth and it was since replaced in 1967 by a larger idol (sculpted by a famous Kannada sculptor Shri Shilpi due to the efforts of the Suvarnayug youth club who organised the Ganesh chaturthi festivities) .
The Dagdushet Halwai Mandir is situated in old Pune's crowded peth area (near Appa Balwant chowk-Budhwar peth). Today it is one of the richest temple trusts in the country and contributes greatly to its social causes.
It also manages several smaller Ganesh pandals under its umbrella.
The temple has this very ornate shikhara constructed in the Rajasthani style .
The entire temple showcases some exquisitely carved woodwork and intricately designed silver platings.
The sabhamandap has a marble flooring and the ceiling is adorned with rich chandeliers.
During the Ganesh festival, the temple attracts devotees from all over the world making the Dagdushet Halwai temple amongst the major landmarks of Pune city.
Text and Photographs: Abhijit Rajadhyaksha