The temple is dedicated to Khandoba, also known as Mhalsakant or Malhari Martand or Mylaralinga. Khandoba is regarded as the 'God of Jejuri' and is held in great reverence by the Dhangars, one of the oldest tribes in India.
Khandoba Temple is located in the city of Jejuri in Pune. It is the prime temple among the Khandoba (Martanda Bhairava) Temples across Maharashtra. In fact, there are two shrines on top of a hill in Jejuri: one is Kadepathar and another is Gad-kot Temple.
Popular Legends of God Khandoba
As said earlier, there are many versions of the legends relating to Martanda Bhairava. One or two myths are very famous and are associated with the creation of this temple.
One of the major sources is the literary work, Malhari Mahatmya. Lord Khandoba is also known as Malhari (the warrior king). According to this literary work, the battle between Khandoba and the demons called Malla and Mani is the prime story behind the birth of Lord Martanda Bhairava.
The tale says that, the demon-brothers named Malla and Mani were creating a havoc in the world as they had got a boon from Lord Brahma. All Gods got annoyed by the menace they were creating on earth but were not able to destroy them. So, they requested Lord Shiva to destroy these demons. It is then Khandoba (a form of Shiva) was born. Finally, Malla and Mani were killed in the battle; while dying Mani asked for forgiveness by offering his white horse to Khandoba and gains a boon to be in every shrine of Martanda Bhairava. In fact, the name Malhari or Mallari comes from the words 'Malla' and 'ari' which means the destroyer of Malla or the enemy of Malla.
Folklore says Khandoba is a warrior king and a form (incarnation) of Lord Shiva. Some Sanskrit versions recognise him as Martanda Bhairava, a fusion of Bhairava (the fierce form of Lord Shiva) and Martanda, the solar deity. Though there are many versions of Khandobas tales,he is one of the prominent Gods worshipped in Maharashtra, North Karnataka and some parts of Andhra Pradesh.
How to Reach Jejrui
Jejuri is around 50km from Pune. It is well-connected to other parts of the state. Visitors can take government run buses from Pune or hire private cabs to reach Jejuri. Jejuri Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Khandoba Temple. You can also board trains from places like Pune and Mumbai to reach Jejuri. Pune Airport is the nearest airport to the town of Jejuri.