Come Ayudha Pooja, the Ganesha temple on Kasturba Road as well as other temples in the city witnesses a rush of devotees especially those who have purchased new vehicles. One can see a trail of new cars and bikes with their owners standing in a queue to get the blessings of Vahana (vehicle) Ganesha.
This Ganesha Temple is 600 years old and was known as Patala Ganapathi back then as the idol is below the ground,” says 75-year- old Lepakshi Deeksheed, the seventh generation priest. “I started assisting my father, Rama Deeksheed who assisted my grandfather,Putta Deeksheed. Today, I have been entrusted for the upkeep of the temple and the Gods - Ganesha, Gayathri and the Navagrahas.” The lord is believed to have appeared on a piece of rock. “If you come before 7 in the morning or after 8.30 in the night, you can see the formation of the god on the piece of rock very clearly,” he adds.
Back in 1960s, instead of vehicles, there were elephants, horses, bullocks that were brought to seek blessings of Lord Ganapathy. Maharaja Jayachamraja Wodeyar and the late chief minister Devaraj Urs would also frequently visit the temple.
According to temple records, Kempegowda, the ruler of Mysore state would stop over to seek blessings before heading to the forest for hunting.
Even circus people used to bring in their animals to seek blessings from the Lord. In those days, the place was known as Kalayana Nagari. The priest adds, “Today, we get lot of new vehicles at the temple to get the Lord's blessings.”
Devotees believe any vehicle blessed by the Vahana Ganesha will be free from accidents and damages. Nearly 2000 vehicles arrive on Ayudha Pooja day, but the priest doesn’t have an actual count of it. “People come with bicycles, scooters, bikes, SUVs and even tri-cycles and it is our duty to do the pooja for a safe ride,” he said.
The temple is open from 8.30 to 12 in the morning and from 6 to 8 in the evening.
A long-time devotee, Sandhya says, "This time, we bought a new SUV and we wanted to get the pooja done today as there will be heavy rush on Ayudha pooja day."
The flower vendor Savitri who has brisk sales on auspicious days in fact, does very good business on Ayudha Pooja.
“The number of vehicles will be at its peak compared to other auspicious days. So, it will be a very busy day for me,” Saviti said.