Jejuri, is the main centre of worship of Khandoba, also known as Malhari Martanda, and is the deity of many warrior, farming, herding and priest families of Maharashtra and the Deccan region. Jejuri is situated on a 758-meter high hillock about 80 kilometres away from Pune in the administrative district of Purandar. Located at a distance of 50 kilometres from Pune, Jejuri is famous for its Bhandara festival, which draws close to six lakh devotees when the temple town erupts in celebrations.Amidst riotous showers of haldi or turmeric popularly called ‘bhandara’ devotees make their way up a steep hill to the top. The entire stretch of the winding path becomes yellow-tinted during the journey. By the time the hundredth step to the temple comes into view, Khandoba’s pilgrims have showered turmeric on every passing person and idol.
The bhandara festival takes place almost three times each year. Known locally as ‘sonyachi Jejuri’ or golden Jejuri, the festival begins with the ‘yatra’ of the idol and culminates in its immersion in the nearby Karha river. The hilltop on which the temple stands is called Jejurigad and its history can be dated back to 1688. One has to cross seven arches and descend several steps to reach the temple whose very extensive courtyard has walled compounds within which are 63 verandas (roofed porches). This style of architecture is probably the main reason why villagers refer to it as a ‘kot’ or fort. It has three entrance gates and devotees have to approach the temple from the northern gate.