Ganesha is a chief deity in many Indian belief systems. Panchayatan Pooja or worship of 5 chief deities is one of them. There are other systems who believe in prominence of their belief deity are
Vaishana – Believes in Vishnu as Chief
Shaiva – Belives in Shiva as chief
Shakta – Believes in Devi/ Shakti or female power as chief
Sauri – Believes in Sun (Surya) as chief
Ganpatya – Belives in Ganapati as chief
However Panchayatan is a system where all above 5 deities as worshiped, this sect is called as Smartism (स्मार्त Smarta). This type of worship believes worship of 5 deities in quincunx (geometrical pattern with 5 points in cross. Four points in square and 5th point in center).
Panchayatan pooja is attributed to Adi Shankara. It is widely practiced across India and South East Asia. Unknowingly many people follow this worship system. Philosophically Smart believes in idol being an icon of Sagun (personified) Brahman (universal truth).
In Ganesh Panchayatan, Ganesha being prominent deity, Shiva on top left, Devi on top right, Vishnu on bottom left, Surya on bottom right.
Many Indian temples have arrangements of Panchayatan. Famous temple of Parvati in Pune is also made in Panchayatan Pattern.
Following are few more examples of Panchayatan temple structures
• Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho
• Brahmeswara Temple in Bhubaneswar
• Jagdish Temple in Udaipur
• Lakshmana Temple in Khajuraho
• Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar
• Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh. It should be the oldest panchayatana temple in India.
• Nabaratna Temple in Pantchupi
• Shiva Panchayatana Temple in Tumbadi, Tumkur district. Subsidiary shrines dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimha, Vinayaka, Parvati and Surya.
• Gondeshvara temple, in Sinnar, Maharashtra
May we all get the power of Devi, stability of Shiva, brightness or shine of Sun, the actions of Vishnu and at the centre intelligence of Ganesha.
1) Ganesh Panchayata Representative
2) Lakshmana Temple complex of Khajuraho in Panchayatan patten (there is no relationship between the temple and mythological character Lakshmana with this temple)
Compiled by Dr. Sandeep Sadanand Chaugule.
You can follow the author on Twitter @sandipchaugulle