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“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

This is another incarnation of the Lord Shiva having horse as his vehicle and loaded with the sword, trident, bowl and trident. Lord Shiva in this form is mainly worshiped in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. He is the most popular family deity in Maharashtra.


Khandoba History – Story of Hindu God Shiva’s Manifestation as Khandoba
Khandoba is believed to be a manifestation of the Rudra form of Hindu God Shiva. The Khandoba History indicates that the deity had it origin in South India. Origin and story of Khandoba is found in the ‘Malhari Mahatmya. The story suggests that Khandoba appeared to annihilate demons Mani and Malla and restore Dharma.

Story of Khandoba
Legend has it that Mani and Malla became powerful by performing intense Tapas (austerities) dedicated to Brahma. After several years Brahma gave them boons. With unimaginable power on their disposal, Mani and Malla started harassing saints, Devas (demi gods) and humans. They created havoc and disturbed the peaceful life on earth and heaven.

Manichurna Mountain the abode of several holy persons was captured by Mani and Malla. Unable to tolerate their violence, saints, humans and demigods approached Shiva.

Shiva brought out several lieutenants from his matted lock to fight Mani and Malla and went to Manichurna Mountain. He himself took the form of Bhairav, the terrible form of Shiva, and Parvati took the form of Mhalsa. In some regions, Mhalsa is believed to be an incarnation of Mohini and Parvati.

The battle began on the Amavasi day of Kartik month and ended on the sixth day Margashirsh. Mani and Malla fought hard for six days. Finally, they fell on the feet of Shiva and they were killed. This happened on the sixth day of Margashirsh and is observed as Chamba Shasti. It is believed Lord Shiva decided to stay here in the form of a Swayambhu lingam after defeating the demons.


Mhalsa and Banai are the two consorts of Khandoba. A horse or a bull is the Vahana or vehicle of Khandoba and dogs surround him. There is also a belief that the Bull is Nandi and he takes the form of a horse.

Khandoba is believed to be a deity, which fulfills one’s wishes. He is the Kuladaivat or family deity of millions of people in Maharashtra and Karnataka in India. The cult of Khandoba does not recognize any caste and religious barriers. There are numerous names of Khandoba – Malhari, Mailar, Mairal, Martand, Malhari-Martand, Mhalasakant, Khaladeo and Elkot are the important among them.

Majority of the temples dedicated to Khandoba are located in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. The most important one is the Khandoba Temple at Jejuri near Pune in Maharashtra.

The most important festival dedicated to Khandoba is observed on the sixth day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in Margashirsh month as per traditional Marathi calendar and is known as Champa Sashti. The festivities begin six days early. It is believed that Khandoba annihilated demons Mani and Malla on the Champa Sashti day.



Khandoba of Jejuri
Lord Khandoba is an incarnation of Lord Shiva who killed the demon brothers, Mani and Malla, and freed Earth from their atrocities. He had two wives named Mhalsa and Banai. Malhari is mainly worshipped in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is the Kuladaivat (family deity) of millions of Hindus in these regions. Khandoba Temple in Jejuri is the main temple of Khandoba. Thousands of devotees visit the temple each year to pray to god.

Meaning of the word Khandoba:
According to Wikipedia, the word Khandoba comes from the words “khadaga” (a sword) and “ba” (father).


Different Names of Khandoba:
1. Malhari Martand.

2. Malhar.

3. Malhari.

4. Malanna.

5. Mailara.

6. Mallu Khan.

7. Ajmat Khan.

8. Khaderaya.

9. Khanderao.

Khandoba is depicted as having a huge body with two big eyes. He has four arms, carrying a damaru, a sword, a trident, and a bowl filled with turmeric. He has big mustaches and wears a double-pointed horizontal hat over his head. His face is red. His forehead is smeared with turmeric with a straight red Tilaka in the center. Overall, the murti appears Ugra (angry).

Turmeric and Coconut:
Turmeric and coconut are the dearest things to Khandoba. Devotees scatter turmeric over and around the temple. Because of its yellow color, the Jejuri temple is also called “Soniyachi Jejuri” (Golden Jejuri). Devotees smear dogs around the temple with turmeric. They eat pieces of dry coconut as Prasadam.

Khandoba Story per Malhari Mahatmya:
Mani and Malla:
Mani and Malla were two demon brothers who did penance and propitiated Lord Brahma. They got the boon of invincibility from him. After this, they became arrogant and started torturing sages and innocent people.

Saptarishi Seek Help from Gods:
One day, Saptarishi went to heaven and complained to Indra about the Malla demon who tortured them when they went to Manichul mountain. They requested him to get rid of these demons. Indra told them that both the demons had propitiated Lord Brahma. Therefore, he was unable to kill them. They should go to Lord Vishnu.

Therefore, Saptarishi went to Vaikuntha and requested Lord Vishnu to kill Mani and Malla, but Lord Vishnu told them that only Lord Shiva was able to kill them. Therefore, they went to Shivabhuvan to seek help from Lord Shiva.

The Incarnation of Martanda Bhairava:
When Lord Shiva heard what havoc Mani and Malla were causing on Earth, he was infuriated. He assumed the form of Martand Bhairava and left for Manichul mountain to kill Mani and Malla along with Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya, and his army.

When Martand and his army approached Manichula mountain, one servant informed Malla demon about them. Malla ordered to kill the servant because he thought he was lying. When he went to the top of the mountain, he saw that the servant was not lying. Therefore, he ordered his army to get ready for war.

Both armies met each other, and a fierce war started. Martanda Bhairava resuscitated the Shivaganas who were killed in the war. Seeing the defeat of his army, Malla got very angry and went in his chariot to kill the enemy, but he was interrupted by Khadagdanshtra, who was a valiant warrior. He requested Malla to allow him to kill his enemy.

When Khadagdanshtra saw Lord Kartikeya, he challenged him to a duel. A fierce war took place between them, but in the end, Lord Kartikeya killed the demon. Seeing this, the demon army started running away from the battleground.

The Death of Mani:
Seeing the death of his commander, Mani attacked Martanda Bhairava. A fierce war took place between them. In the end, Khandoba killed Manikasura. While dying, Mani apologized to Lord Shiva and asked for forgiveness. Lord Shiva forgave him and gave him salvation. Lord Shiva was satisfied with Mani’s devotion and decided to spare the life of Mallasura. Hence, he requested Lord Vishnu to tell Malla to go to Patala Loka.

The Death of Malla:
But Malla wanted to avenge the death of his brother and decided not to leave the battleground. Malla attacked Khandoba with many weapons, but Khandoba made them ineffective with counter-weapons. Then, Malhari threw his trident toward Malla, which struck him in the chest. When he was lying on the ground, Khandoba put his foot on his head. Therefore, all his sins were washed away, and he asked for forgiveness to the god.

After the death of Malla, his five sons attacked Lord Shiva, but Lord Shiva ignored them because they were sons of Malla. But they continued to attack him. Therefore, he cursed them to be mountains.

After this, the sages requested Lord Shiva to stay at that place permanently in the form of a Shiva lingam. Malhari accepted their request and stayed at Jejuri in the form of a Swayambhu Shiva lingam.

There is no mention of Mhalsa and Banai in Malhari Mahatmya.

Malhari Mahatmya:
The original source of the stories about Khandoba is Malhari Mahatmya, written by Siddhpal Kesari in 1585. The original Sanskrit Mahatmya was composed by a Deshastha Brahmin whose family deity was Khandoba.

There are many popular legends in Maharashtra about Khandoba. The story mentioned above is also mentioned in legends with slight modifications and additions.

When Mani was dying, he offered a white horse to Khandoba as an act of repentance and asked for a boon. He asked Lord Shiva that he be present in every shrine of Khandoba and that he be given an offering of goat flesh. Therefore, there is an idol of Mani outside the Khandoba temple in Jejuri.

Malla asked for a boon of the destruction of the world and human flesh to Martanda Bhairava. Khandoba got angry at his request and chopped his head off. It is believed that his head is fitted in the stairs and is trampled by devotees.

Per the legends, Khandoba had two wives, named Mhalsa and Banai. Mhalsa was his first wife, who was an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. She participated in the war and helped Martand Bhairava kill demons.

Wives of Khandoba:
She was the daughter of a merchant named Timarsheth and belonged to the Vani community. Once Khandoba appeared in the dream of Timarsheth and ordered him to marry Mhalsa to him. Their marriage took place on Pausha Pournima. Therefore, an annual festival is celebrated in Pali temple to celebrate this event.

Once Khandoba and Mhalsa were playing a game named Saripat, in which he deliberately lost to Mhalsa. Therefore, Mhalsa got angry and banished him for 12 years from the kingdom (Per another version, Malhari accepted a self-exile.).

Banai was the daughter of Indra. (Per some stories, she was a servant of Goddess Parvati). She was abandoned by Indra. A shepherd found her and brought her up as his daughter. In his exile, Khandoba assumed the form of an old shepherd and started serving Banai’s father.

One day, Banai’s father told him to wash all sheep. Khandoba took all sheep to a river, killed them, and spread their skins on the bank of a river. When Banai and her father saw it, they were shocked because, for a shepherd, their sheep are everything they have. Khandoba promised him to bring back all sheep to life if he promised to marry his daughter to him. With some hesitation, the shepherd agreed. Then Khandoba brought all sheep back to life and married Banai. It is believed that at Naldurg, Khandoba revealed his real form to Banai.

Other Wives:
Per some stories, Khandoba had five wives. Ramabai Shimpin was his third wife who was from the Shimpi (tailor) community. She is worshipped as a goddess whom Khandoba visits after his hunts. Phulai Malin was his fourth wife, who was from the gardening community. The fifth wife was Khandai Bhagavin from the Teli caste. Muslims believe that she was from the Muslim community.

Hegadi Pradhan:
Hegadi Pradhan was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu whom Martanda Bhairava appointed as his prime minister at the time of the war. He helped Goddess Mhalsa to administer the kingdom in the absence of Khandoba. His temple is in the midway of the staircase to Jejuri Fort. It is believed that one must pray to Hegadi Pradhan before praying to Martanda Bhairava.

Why are there Two Temples of Khandoba in Jejuri?
When Khandoba and Banai reached Jejuri, Mhalsa denied them entry into the fort as she was very upset because of his second marriage. Therefore, Khandoba gave the upper half of the hill to Mhalsa and the lower half to Banai. Therefore, there are two temples of Khandoba in Jejuri; one is the main temple, and the second one is called the Kadepathar temple.

Many couples who do not have children or if their child does not live longer make a vow to Khandoba that they would offer their first child to him. If the child is a male, he is called Vaghya, and if a female, she is called Murali. Vaghya and Murali spend their lives serving Martand Bhairava.

It is a ritual performed in the honor of Khandoba after marriage and on other occasions by families whose family deity is Khandoba. Vaghya and Murali dance and sing all night praising Malhari and telling his stories. Jagran-Gondhal is also considered a folk art of Maharashtra.

Khandoba Temples:
1. Khandoba Temple, Jejuri:

There are many temples of Khandoba across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, but the temple in Jejuri is considered his main temple. Thousands of devotees visit the temple each year. It is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Maharashtra.

The temple is located on a hill and has 472 steps. The temple looks like a hill fort and is called Jejuri Garh. It has an idol of Khandoba and his wives inside it. There are some small temples of other deities around the main temple. There is an idol of the Mani demon in front of the temple.

2. Kadepathar Temple:

This temple is also located in Jejuri and is a few kilometers away from the main temple. This place is believed to be the original place of Khandoba’s incarnation.

3. Khandoba Temple, Pali:

It is another popular temple of Khandoba in Maharashtra. It is located in the Satara district. This temple is about 1000 years old.

4. Khandoba Mandir, Mangsuli, Karnataka.

5. Khandoba Temple, Naldurg, Osmanabad.

Famous Khandoba Temples in Maharashtra:

1. Jejuri.

2. Pali.

3. Satare.

4. Nimgaon.

5. Shegud.

6. Naldurga.

7. Andur.

8. Malegaon.

9. Chandanpuri.

10. Nevasa.

11. Malawadi.

12. Beed.

13. Dhamadi.

14. Rewadi.

Popular Slogans:
1. Yelkot Yelkot Jai Malhar.

2. Malhari Martand, Jai Malhar.

3. Sadanandacha Yelkot.

The Miracle of Khandoba:
When Aurangzeb invaded Maharashtra, he desecrated many Hindu temples. He wanted to destroy Jejuri Temple also, but when he tried to do so, thousands of bumblebees attacked his army. The Mughal army had to run away to save their lives.


Khandoba is a deity, who is also known as Makhari, Mallari, Martand, etc. This deity is a form of Lord Shiva and is popular in western India. There is a pilgrim shrine constructed for him at Jejuri, near Poona, not far from Pandharpur.

The deity Khandoba can often be seen with the elements such as a sword, trident, drum, and bowl. The vehicle (vahana) of the deity is a horse and he may be seen associated with a dog. The sect of Khandoba is not regarded to be very old. The first record of the Jejuri temple of Khandoba belongs to the late fourteenth century which is probably later than the beginning of the cult itself.

The early appearance of Khandoba is related with at least two mythological stories. As per one such legend, he made himself known to a number of cowherds who were resting in a field but went away again when one of his most pious worshippers approached. This devotee was disappointed very much by this and the village elders also became suspicious about the significance of a linga that was found on the spot where Khandoba appeared.

A strange contest was conducted to end such doubt, which involved cutting lines in the earth. The pious devotees won and a shrine of Khandoba was constructed at the place where he appeared. This particular story involves all the elements of a rustic myth projected to impress villagers and also contains historical material about clashes between prominent local families.

The second story is more sophisticated and connects Khandoba more directly to Shiva and even brings reference of Lord Vishnu. This story is more or less like some other stories, which speak about the interference of Lord Shiva against the devastation done by the demons against the worlds of gods and men. In this second story related to the appearance of Khandoba, the reincarnation of two demon kings are told, who were reborn after they had been killed in a battle. This fight involved the participation of Lord Vishnu as the opposition of these demons. Finally, Shiva had to take the form of Khandoba or Martand so as to lead the winner army. This encounter took place on Jayadri Mountain, which is now known as Jejuri.



The Khandoba Temple of Jejuri is a well-known temple in Maharashtra. It is popularly known as ‘Khandobachi Jejuri,’ and is one of Maharashtra’s great Gods. The Dhangars worship Jejuri Mhalsakant, also known as Malhari Martand. Dhangar is one of Maharashtra’s ancient tribes. Khandoba is revered as their deity. Jejuri is located to the southeast of Pune, near Phaltan.

Book Jejuri Khandoba Temple Online Puja!
Hindu gods are worshiped at this temple. Lord Khandoba is the main deity of this Temple. Khanderao, Khanderava, Malhari, Martand, and Mallu Khan are other names for it. Khandoba is essentially Lord Shiva’s avatar or form. Lord Khandoba is well-known among Vaishnavas as well as Jain traditions. Khandoba is one of Maharashtra’s most popular deities. Jejuri in Maharashtra is the most important center of Khandoba worship, hence the location is well-known. Khadoba is a warrior monarch, and ‘Kand’ is a sword.

He is a benefactor deity of the agricultural caste, the Brahmins, the hunters, and the Dhangar people, who reside in the area’s hills and forests. The Khandoba cult is associated with both the Jain and Muslim cultures. He is worshiped as a warrior riding a horse or bull, or as the figure of a Linga. The Jejuri temple is Maharashtra’s most famous place of Khandoba devotion.

According to legend, two demons, Malla and Mani, were upsetting the Earth and worrying the sages. When Indra and Vishnu recognized their incompetence, the Sages begged Shiva for assistance. Shiva assumed the guise of Khandoba, rode Nandi (the bull), and led his army into battle against demons. His avatar is described as having a third eye with a semi-circular moon on the forehead and a turmeric-covered torso. Khandoba ultimately slew the demons after a hard battle.

Mani begged for forgiveness by immolating his white horse in front of him. He requested to be present in every temple in Khandoba and was served goat flesh by the people. Shiva fulfilled his wish and turned him into a demon. What if Khandoba called for the destruction of the earth and human flesh, Malla wondered? Khandoba became so enraged that he quickly decapitated Malla, who fell at the shrine’s stairs and was crushed by the devotees’ feet.

The temple was constructed around 1608 AD. Ragho Mambaji, a Maratha chieftain, finished the central mandap and other elements in 1637 AD. The Holkar emperors constructed the outer chambers and other areas. Tukoji Holkar assisted in the completion of the tank and battlefield around 1770 AD.

Temple Structure:
Because the temple is on a hill, there are about 200 stairs to ascend. However, the ascent is not difficult, and the view over Jejuri town is breathtaking. If the weather permits, one may see Saswad and Dive Ghat.

You may appreciate the panoramic magnificent view of the surroundings while climbing these steps. You may also stop here to photograph some wonderful moments. If the weather is clear, you can also see the ‘Saswad’ and the ‘Dive Ghat’. On the way, you may also see the famous ‘Deep Mala,’ also known as ‘Light Stands of Stones,’ which are extremely basic but lovely. The temple and the idols housed within it are all wonderfully sculpted and one-of-a-kind.

Temple Details and Information:
The temple priests worship Khandoba using Indian Bael leaves, turmeric, onion, and other vegetables. They also provide a delicious onion and brinjal dish. As Naivedya, he is served a vegetarian meal. Despite this, his followers regard him as a non-vegetarian. Devotees may occasionally sacrifice goat meat. The rite is performed outside the temple since meat is not permitted inside. As a memorial to Khandoba, the temple holds a 6-day celebration in the Hindu month of Margashirsha.

Jejuri Khandoba Temple is well-known for its Bhandara festival, which attracts over five lakh worshipers. Showers of haldi or turmeric, also known as ‘bhandara,’ turn the whole temple grounds and stairs yellow. The Bhandara festival, also known as sonyachi Jejuri’ or golden Jejuri, is held nearly three times a year.

Every year, in November, there is an annual fair. It is commonly referred to as Jatra. This Jatra, or fair, attracts around 40,000 worshippers from Pune and surrounding areas. Dussehra is a well-known event observed here. The competition of holding the sword for the longest period of time is conducted on this day, and it is quite popular among the people of Jejuri.

Best Time to Visit: All year and during festivals.

Khandoba Temple is located in Jejuri, Maharashtra, near Pune.

Activities to do: Daily Darshan, Rituals, and Festival Celebration