Khandoba Temple, Mulgaon, Badlapur, Ambarnath, Thane

Khandoba Temple, kuldaivat of Maharashtra, is situated on a hilltop to the west of Badlapur at Mulgaon village of Ambarnath taluka in Thane, Maharashtra, India. Badlapur to Khandoba Temple distance is 8 kilometers. Khandoba is most popular clan deity (kuldevata or family deity) of Maharashtra. Khandoba is known by many names like Martanda Bhairava, Malhari, Malhar, Khanderaya, Khanderao and Mhalsakant. Khandoba Temple in Badlapur is considered to be an important places of Khanderaya. The Maghi Pournima Yatra here has a tradition of three hundred years.

Share auto-rickshaws are available from Badlapur railway station to Vaijayanti Dhaba of Mulgaon. From there It takes 20 minutes to reach the foothills of the temple on foot. Alternatively, you can come directly from Badlapur station by private rickshaw or taxi to the foothills of the hill. If you want to come from Murbad, you can take Murbad-Badlapur bus and get off at Mulgaon.

This Khandoba temple of Mulgaon is an awakened shrine. There are approximately 565 steps to reach this hilltop temple. There is no drinking water facility available on the hill. So keep drinking water with you while coming here. Since the distance between the two steps is long, it is very tiring to climb these steps. But while climbing the stairs, the trees, different types of plants, flowers, wildlife around us attract our attention. Therefore, the fatigue that comes from climbing the stairs goes away immediately in this beautiful and serene environment. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to reach the temple. As you start climbing the stairs, there is a small temple of Mhalsa Devi on the right side. After climbing a few steps from here, god’s footprints are visible. It is said that when Khandoba came to Mulgaon, he set his first footstep here. From there, after climbing the stairs, we reach near the temple. Here, on the right side of the stairs, the footprints of the horse which is the vehicle of Khandoba are seen.

A legend is told about this temple that once Khandoba left Jejuri Fort on his horse and directly reached this Mulgaon forest. He was passing through this forest in the form of a common man. On the way, he saw people taking goats and sheep to graze in the forest. Khandoba asked them if they wanted anything. Since Khandoba was in the form of a common man, the villagers could not recognize him.The villagers said that they didn’t want anything and asked him if he wanted anything. Khandoba asked them for something to eat and the way to reach this mountain. The villagers gave Bhakari to Khandoba to eat and showed him the way to the mountain. After that Khandoba went to the mountain and disappeared there. That night, Khandoba appeared in the dream of villagers and told them that he will meet them on mountain. The next day all the villagers came to this mountain. At that time they saw the footprints of the horse there and after going a little further, the Khandoba linga and the bhandara on it. A few years later, a temple was built here and the idol of Khandoba was installed.

This temple has been built in the middle of the hill top. As you reach the temple, the tiredness of climbing so many steps disappears somewhere and the mind becomes very happy. In front of the temple is a newly built linear dipmal (lamp-pillar). As you enter the temple, there is a small idol of a turtle in front and next to it is a black stone idol of Nandi. The idol of Khandoba has been installed in the sanctum. A small idol of Ganpati is beside the idol of Khandoba. In the same place there are three Shiv Lingas namely Khandoba, Mhalsa and Banu. Khandoba is in the form of seated on horseback and holds a damaru (drum), Trishula (trident) Khadga (sword) and Panpatra in his arms. A yellow bhandara is on the forehead.

In the month of Margashirsha, turmeric is applied to Khandoba at 2 pm on Champashashti. This is followed by the marriage festival of God at 5 pm on Shakambari Poornima in the month of Paush. Devotees visit the temple in large numbers on this day. Mahaprasad is offered by the villagers at this time. In the month of magh, a big yatra is organized. At that time, a palanquin leaves from the temple of Hanuman in the village and after visiting the Khandoba temple on the hill, it is taken around the village.

Devotees throng to the Khandoba Temple of Mulgaon on holidays and especially on Sundays. Surroundings of the temple is very peaceful and pleasant. There is dense forest on all four sides of this mountain. On one side the wide spread Barvi Dam and on the other side Malanggad, Chanderi Fort, Matheran mountain range, Prabalgad etc. are seen. The beautiful view of the sunrise and sunset seen from here is mesmerizing.

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