Pompous and colourful are only a few of the words that describe the much-awaited Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrated every year in Mumbai. With such zest and vigour, the whole city takes on a different appearance. A festival in honour of the birth of the elephant-headed God, Ganesha, which has become a competition of sorts between communities for organising the grander, the bigger, and the more awe-striking display and the statue of the God. When in Mumbai during Ganesh Chaturthi, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and even a little puzzled by all the drama, all the activity, and all the crowd on the roads. So, we have pulled together an essential guide of everything you need to know about one of India’s biggest religious festivals. By Shubhanjana Das
Ganesh Chaturthi, an 11-day grand affair, is slated to take place from September 2 to the 12, this year.
While some communities celebrate the festival as a mark of the birth of Mahabharatha as Lord Vyasa recited it to Ganesha, it’s widely-known history is that of Ganesha being created out of the dust by Goddess Parvati to guard her.
On Shiva’s return, not knowing who Ganesha was, he invited him into the palace but was denied on grounds of guarding the palace against the outside. Following a fierce battle between the two, Shiva beheaded Ganesha which infuriated Goddess Parvati. Shiva promised her that he will make Ganesha leave and ordered a search party to find a soul facing the north. They returned with an elephant head, which was then placed on Ganesha’s head, resulting in the birth of Lord Ganesha.
Dedicated devotees either buy or make a Ganesh idol out of clay, which is then placed in their homes or pandals with much celebration. Special rituals, music, dance, celebrations are performed every day till the 11th and the concluding day, the idol is immersed in the sea or the river with a huge procession in a ritual famously called the ‘Ganpati Visarjan’.
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations take place in every street of Maharashtra amongst Hindu households. However, the following are a few temples worth visiting during Ganesh Chaturthi:
· Ashtavinayaka Temple of Pune
· Siddhivinayak Temple of Mumbai
· Kanipakam Vinayaka temple of Chittoor
· Karpaka Vinayakar temple of Thiruppatthur
· Chintaman Ganesh temple of Ujjain
Food Items to Try During Ganesh Chaturthi
No festival in India is celebrated without a delectable affair of sweets and savoury items, which are peculiar to the region ad even to the occasion. While the best place to try these would be at a local’s home feat as they celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with full pomp and glory, you can also find these in the streets of Mumbai, Pune, Goa, and Hyderabad, where the festival has spread to over the last few decades. As for Ganesh Chaturthi, the following are some of the food items you oughtn’t to miss:
· Modak or Puranpoli
· Rajgira Laddoo
· Gur Nariyal Wadi
· Sabudana Kheer