Jejuri Khandoba temple: A beautiful hue of yellow

Khandoba temple in Jejuri is dedicated to Lord Khandoba aka Martanda Bhairava or Malhari or Malhar, who is a manifestation of Shiv ji. Shiv ji in the form of Khandoba is worshipped mainly in the Deccan plateau of India. Khandoba is not worshipped in the form of Shivling but in the form of a handsome young man with an interesting mustache, beautiful big eyes and in the warrior form. 
Khandoba is the kuldevta of many families in Maharashtra and is also worshipped by many tribes and families with warrior, farming and hunting backgrounds. Khandoba temple of Jejuri is quite famous, for its temple set up, structure, location and a beautiful hue of yellow that surrounds it almost always. 

The worship of Khandoba is believed to have begun sometime in 12th/13th century while the Khandoba temple of Jejuri was rebuilt during the reign of the Peshwas. 

Narrow lanes with shops in both sides, bustling with people. Shops full of toys, trinkets, prasad, temple samagri and what not. On enquiring, I was told that these lanes are always crazy crowded and so is the temple. The day we visited here was selected based on it being not of importance but still there were thousands of people who had come for darshan and that was supposedly one of the least crowded days as per the same gentleman.

A beautiful hue of yellow

The hustle-bustle, the noise, the chants, people buying turmeric (which is offered to Khandoba here by blowing it in the air), playing with it and blowing it in the air, the whole way to the temple was covered in turmeric as we started climbing up and it felt different and amazing too despite the crowd. Also at the bottom of the climb, a huge bell is hanging.

Chimaji Appa, brother of Peshwa Baji Rao I, as memorabilia, gifted Portuguese church bells from Vasai to the temple. It was a mark of their win over Portuguese invaders in the Battle of Vasai in the year 1737.

The temple is situated on a hill at an elevation of 718 m and can be reached by climbing around 380 steps which borders many small shrines and around 350 deep-stambha (lamp-pillars). At the summit, there is a gate which is huge and looks exactly like what we see in forts, the temple also looks like a hill fort as a 320 m long fort boundary encloses the courtyard which boasts the beautiful main-temple shrine at the center.

Built in Hemadpanthi architecture style, the temple has a square hall with decorative pillars and pinnacle and two huge deep-stambha (on which diyas are lit) and an inner sanctum which includes a Shivling and three pairs of images of Khandoba along with his first wife Mhalsa. There is one more murti of Khandoba mounted on a horse in warrior form. The temple feels like having a slight influence of Mughal architecture as well. 

Jejuri's Khandoba temple is also Maharashtra state government protected site.

As we reached the courtyard, we were greeted by a huge queue to reach inner sanctum. It took quite some time but the line was well managed and people were well behaved considering how usually things turn out in the temples when there is crowd. However, due to the crowd, devotees were not allowed much time near the deity. Despite that we had good darshan and after spending some time in the courtyard, blowing and bathing in the yellow hue of turmeric which felt nothing short of divine, we started climbing down. 

There is also a huge murti (idol) of Ahilyabai Holkar outside the courtyard's gates, on the other side, which you can see from even faraway. While from top you get a panoramic view of the whole city. 

Khandoba on a white horse

As the legend goes, suffering at the hands of two demon brothers, Malla and Mani, the sages approached Shiv ji for protection who then assumed the form (avatar) of Martanda Bhairava, aka Khandoba. Riding on his Nandi bull and leading an army of gods, covered in turmeric and shining like the gold and sun with 3 eyes and a crescent moon on his forehead, just like Shiv ji, he charged towards the demon brothers.

As Khandoba slaughtered the demons, with dying breath Mani as an act of remorse offered his white horse to Khandoba and asked for a boon that he be present in every shrine of Khandoba, he also asked for betterment of human-kind. While his brother Malla, when asked by the deity if he wanted a boon, asked for world's destruction. This angered Khandoba who then removed his head from his body which fell through the stairs and was walked over by the devotees feet. While Mani's request was granted. It is since then Khandoba is also shown riding the white horse in the warrior form in all his shrines/temples.


The temple is really beautiful, my experience was good and there was a sense of satisfaction, after darshan
  • However, please remember to visit it in off-season, days of less to no significance and during non-peak hours. 
  • Carry water, scarf and goggles, and do not visit this temple if you have turmeric allergy. 
  • They also have palkis if you are unable climb up, however, seeing the people going in the palki, I felt that it may get little uncomfortable, specially for people with back problem. However, sans any issues, one should definitely visit this beautiful and architecturally different Shiv ji (Khandoba) temple at least once in their lifetime.
Have a good darshan people!!


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