The Kartikeya Temple

Kartikeya or Shadanan, the God with six heads is the eldest son of Lord Shiva. Kartikeya is, in Maharashtra, believed to be a bachelor God, whom ladies are not supposed to worship. His temples are rather rare in Maharashtra. However in South India, he is commonly worshipped without any taboo attached to women-worship.

The Kartikeya mandir was built by Shrimant Raghobadada, elder brother of Nanasaheb  Peshwa. There was a continuous family feud between these two brothers and a life – long competition and rivalry between these two families. We see a clear picture of it in the words of his wife Anandibai, kept in confinement as a political prisoner at Kopargaon. When the subject of Parvati came for discussion, she said, “the idol of Kartikeya should have been installed on some other hilltop. It would have at least brought good name.”

Kartikeya Temple
Unfortunate incidents with Kartikeya’s idol
Historical events have proved how unlucky the idol of Kartikeya has been. During the invasion of Nizam, the idol was broken and so Madhavrao got a new one made through his able Prime Minister, Nana Phadnwis. It was installed on 14th March 1766. In 1767, it developed big cracks; hence another idol was made at Pune and was installed. The records show that on the day on which it was installed, coconuts were offered to ward off the evil eye. In 1791, lightening struck the temple. It destroyed the temples but spared the idol. It was a bad omen and hence another idol was installed. In June 1820, the British took over the administration of the temple. Shri Madhavrao Jayaram Sadavarte became the manager of the Devesthana and he restored the idols. In 1867, the right hand of the deity broke down due to the crown falling on the hands of deity. Hence on June 28th 1869, a new idol of black stone was installed. Traditionally, women were not permitted to see the idol Kartikeya for the fear of receiving the curse of widowhood. In Maharashtra, the custom is very strong and usually no woman enters the temple. Only in the month of Kartik, on a particularly auspicious day, all are permitted to go and worship the God Kartikeya. Among the South Indians, the same God is known as Subramanya or Murugan. However, there are ever increasing followers of Shri Kartikeya and now it is extremely difficult to cope with the large number of devotees who flock the temple on Tripuri Poornima.

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