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Indian Festivals and Fairs - Ganesh Chaturthi

by Madhav Srinivasan 5 year, 8 months ago

Ganesh Chaturthi is a major Hindu festival that’s celebrated across the country. The states of Maharashtra and Karnataka particularly witness colorful and widespread celebrations during this time and idols of the deity are taken in long processions…


Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, is a Hindu Festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Ganesh. The festival is celebrated during the Hindu month of Bhadra (extending from August to September in the Gregorian calendar). Celebrations during this festival last for ten days and the last day is termed as Ananta Chaturdasi. This year the festival will be celebrated on the 1st of September.

The Idols

The celebrations begin when idols of Lord Ganesh are installed on raised platforms in homes and offices, or in special outdoor tents in full public view. The idol sizes may vary from a quarter of an inch to nearly 25 feet. These idols are mainly made of clay and Plaster of Paris. Idols made with the latter can cause serious damage to the environment due to the insoluble chemicals present in the paint.

The Rituals

On the first day, the priest performs a ritual called Pranapratishhtha, which literally signifies an act of invoking life into the idol. After this the priest will follow it with the Shhodashopachara, which are 16 ways of offering tribute to the God.

According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Ganesh is believed to love food; so devotees offer coconuts, jaggery and modakas to the lord. The idol is anointed with red chandan-kumkum powder, and the sanctity of the ritual is maintained by the continuous recital of Ganesh stotra from Naradha Purana, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad.

Major Spots of Celebration

At the Siddhivinayak temple located in the central suburbs of Mumbai, special pujas are performed during these days. Devotees from all over the city throng the temple to offer their obeisance to the lord.

  • This festival is celebrated with pomp in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • In various parts of the country, the day before Ganesh Chaturthi (depending upon the Hindu calender) is dedicated for Gowri Puja. On this day, married women offer their prayers to Goddess Parvati, mother of Lord Ganesh, to pray for the longevity of their married lives.

Eco Friendly Measures

On the last day, all the Ganesh idols are carried in a procession accompanied with songs and dance, to be immersed in the sea or any water body. Environmental concerns over immersing the idols of Lord Ganesh in the sea have been growing over the years, mainly because of the impact that the chemical paints used in these idols have on natural water bodies.

The plaster of Paris used to make such idols and the chemical paints pollute and increase the acid content in the water. This impact on the environment can be significantly reduced by using clay idols or by depositing the idols in common water tanks that are constructed by the government for this purpose.

With the right mix of fun, food and eco friendly festivities, witnessing Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations can be a unique experience. 

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