Location:- About located 40 km from Pune and 60 km from Solapur, lies the city of Jejuri. It is one of the famous pilgrimage destinations in the country.
Main Deity:- The entire city is devoted to Lord Khandoba. Khandoba is another form of Lord Shiva who is also called by other names like - Martanda Bhairava and Malhari. In marathi, the words "ba", "Rao" or "Raya" when suffixed to a name, denote respect. Here, Khandoba is also referred to as Khanderaya or Khanderao.
The city is also called Khandobachi Jejuri (Lord Khandoba's Jejuri). Unlike the Lingam form, Khandoba is often seen as a warrior riding a horse. He has a huge sword (Khadga) that he uses to kill the demons. The name Khandoba is derived from this word - Khadga.
Some people believe that Khandoba is an amalgamation of the Gods - Shiva, Bhairava (ferocious form of Shiva), the Sun god and Karthikeya.
Architecture:- The temple is constructed mainly of stone. It sits atop a steep hill and devotees need to climb up a substantial amount of steps (more than 500) to reach the main sanctum. At every step of the temple, devotees shower turmeric. This spectacle of turmeric strewn everywhere gives Jejuri the name Sonyachi Jejuri - Golden Jejuri.
Legend:- The folk songs of Maharashtra and Karnataka as well as literary works like Malhari Mahatmya mention Khandoba. The Brahmanda Puran mentions that the demons Malla and Mani were protected by a boon from Lord Brahma. With this protection, they thought they were invincible and went on to terrorize the sages and trouble people on earth. It was then Lord Shiva incarnated as Khandoba and rode his Bull, Nandi to provide respite to the world. As he proceeds to kill the demons, Mani offers Khandoba a horse and asks him to grant him a boon. Mani asks the Lord for the betterment of mankind. Khandoba happily grants his boon. The other demon Malla, asks for destruction of mankind. Angered, Khandoba chops of his head and places it at the temples steps, so that it can be crushed by any devotee that enters the temple.
Festivals/Prayers:- Khandoba is considered a ferocious deity and strict rituals are practised while offering Pujas. Along with the usual turmeric, flowers and vegetarian food, sometimes goat meat is offered to the deity outside the temple.
Khandoba is said to remove obstacles in childbirth and marriages.
To commemorate Khandoba's victory of Malla and Mani, a six day fair is held every year at Jejuri. This fair takes place during the Hindu month of Margashirsha. The last day is called Champa Shashti and fasts are done on this day by devotees seeking the lords blessings.
Sundays and Purnima (full moon days) are considered auspicious days for Puja.
How to Reach:-
This place is about 1 hours drive through Pune and is well connected by all modes of transport.