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Lenyadri Caves

Lenyadri is one of the 8th venerated Ganesha temples which are collectively known as Ashtavinayaka. Lenyadri is a part of famous Junnar caves and itself represents a series of 30 caves known as rock cut Buddhist caves. These caves are situated in Pune district near Junnar in Maharashtra, India. Among these 30 caves, Cave number 7 is the most prominent one which is the holy shrine of Lord Ganesha while total 26 caves have been numbered individually but couple of them are still un-numbered. The layouts of all of the caves, ordinarily, are similar in shape and pattern. As per legends, these caves have their history related to Lord Shiva, his wife goddess Parvati and their son Lord Ganesha. These caves date back from the era between 1st and 3rd century AD.

The existing name “Lenyadri” factually means "mountain cave” and has been derived from the word “Lena” which is a Marathi word meaning ‘’cave” while ‘’Adri’’ is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘‘stone’’ or ‘‘mountain’’. These caves are also locally known as ‘’Ganesha Caves’’. Though Lenyadri is one of the most famous tourist attractions for Junnar in Pune but it is a deserted location having no human settlement close by. There are also quite a few rocks-cut beautiful water cisterns among which couple of them has got inscriptions. All of these ancient Lenyadri caves crop up from Hinayana Buddhism.

Total 283 stairs are there which need to be climbed to reach the temple premises. The main idol there is supposed to be found, and not sculpted by hands of humans. The idol is known as “Swayambhu”. All of the caves of Lenyadri are under the supervision of ‘Archeological Department of Government of India’. Sardar Deshpande is currently the priest in command of the all of the temple's activities.


Lenyadri has been associated with ancient stories as said by legends. According to traditions, Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, incarnated as Mayureshwar (Mayuresvara) who had a bright white complexion and six arms. It is believed that once child Ganesha knocked down an egg from a tree (mango). From this egg, as per legends, emerged a peacock. It is said that Ganesha mounted that peacock while assuming the name Mayureshwar (Mayuresvara). Mayureshwar (Mayuresvara) later killed demon Sindhu along with his demon army of generals at the place of Morgaon which is now popular as the infamous Ashtavinayaka temple.


Lenyadri is one of the 8th venerated Ganesha temples which are collectively known as Ashtavinayaka. While some consider that the apt order of visiting all of these 8 temples during the Ashtavinayaka pilgrimage is immaterial yet Lenyadri is frequently visited, by devotees, as the number 6th temple.

Junnar Caves

Junnar caves are group of caves, one of which is Lenyadri. These caves have further been sub divided as per the small excavations and caves they posses. These sub level are as following –

  • Tuljalena This includes 11 caves which are smallest of all other caves.
  • Manmodi group of caves - This cave group incorporates almost 40 small individual excavations but excluding the main cisterns. These excavations are further divided into 3 sub levels –
    • Bhimasankar group
    • Bhutalinga group
    • Amba-Ambika group
  • Sivaneri group of caves This cave group incorporates small and plain 50 caves.
  • Lenyadri or Ganesha Lena group - There are total 30 caves (while some claim these to be 40) in the Lenyadri. The chief one remains the cave number 7 which is the main temple of the Lord Ganesha.

Cave 7: Ganesha Temple

Among all of the 30 caves, the most important one is the cave number 7. The major reason behind this is that this one is the main Ganesha temple. This cave is the chief excavation near Junnar area and is about 30 m (100 feet) exceeding the plains. It is a key dwelling area for Buddhist monks especially for meditation cells. A total of 283 steps have to be covered to reach the temple premises which are quite difficult to cover. The temple is in a form of a big hall and has entrance at the central door.

The lord Ganesha form which is worshipped here is known as “Girijatmaja”. This name is interpreted in dual meanings, as per one meaning, it is "Atmaja of Girija" which means the son of goddess Parvati while the other meaning is termed as “mountain-born”. Both the meanings are, somehow, related as per legends since even the goddess Parvati was herself daughter of Himavan, the king of mountains. The idol which is present and worshipped here is covered with ‘Sindoor’.

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