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Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, is not just famous in India but also around the globe. Everyone loves this pot-bellied son of Lord Shiva as he bestows good wishes and fortune on his devotees. People from all sects in the Hindu religion worship Ganesha or Vinayaka as he is the bearer of all good things. He is known to remove obstacles, and hence a pooja for him is conducted before every ceremony. Even ceremonies honoring other Hindu gods begin with a Ganesh pooja. People Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi to mark the birthday of this god. 

The Birth Of Ganesha

Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi
  • Two stories talk about his birth. In the first one, it is said that Parvati, Shiva’s consort, created Ganesha out of the dirt from her body and placed him as a guard when she went to take a bath. She instructed him not to permit anyone to come inside. Lord Shiva appeared at this time and was promptly stopped by Ganesha as he didn’t know who Shiva was. Angered by this, Lord Shiva severed the boy’s head. Enraged by this action, Parvati demanded that Shiva bring her son back to life.
  • He sent the Devas and asked them to bring the head of the first living being they saw. They saw an elephant and brought its head. Shiva used his power to fix Ganesha’s head and bring him back to life. In honour of this elephant-headed boy’s birth, people Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Another story says that Shiva and Parvati created Ganesha on request from the Devas as the god to remove obstacles and bring fortune to them. Whatever the real story, one cannot deny that this boy remains the most revered and loved God among Hindus. 

 

The History Of Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations

From history, we know that the festival was celebrated from the time of the great Maratha King Shivaji. But it was Bhausaheb Laxman Javale who introduced the practice of placing the Ganesha idols in public. During the independence struggle, Lokamanya Tilak made it a grand public function to bring together various sections of the Hindu population. He started this practice to unite all castes. From that time onwards, Hindus across the globe Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in a gala manner. 

There are four major rituals in the Ganesh Chaturthi ceremony. The procedure begins with bringing the idol and placing it in the right place. This is called Pranapratishta. Once the idol is placed in the pandal or the temple at home, life is invoked in it. By this act, the ordinary idol made of clay or other materials turns into Lord Ganesha himself. The next step is to offer the 16-step pooja called shodashopachara. The lord is bathed and adorned with new clothes. He is decorated with sandal paste, vermillion and flowers. 

The lord is placed in the holy place for ten days, during which people present various offerings. Devotees also receive prasad in the form of various sweets and savouries. On the tenth day, the Uttar Puja is performed before taking the idol to immerse in the sea, river or other water bodies. Ganesha is offered aarti, pushpanjali and pradakshin before sending him for immersion or visarjan. The lord is then taken as a procession to be immersed in water. People bid a tearful farewell and wait for the next year to Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. 

India is a country that has a variety of cultures and traditions. It means that the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities also differ from one region to another. Though the basic story remains the same, the actual procedures may vary from state to state. 

Mumbai

Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is the biggest festival in this bustling capital of Maharashtra. The city comes alive with brightly coloured and decorated pandals that hold huge Ganesha idols. Mumbaiites Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with a passion that is not seen in other places. People try to visit all the famous pandals and pray to their favourite lord. The most famous pandals are Lalbaugcha Raja, Khetwadi Ganraj, Ganesh Galli Mumbaicha Raja, Andhericha Raja, etc. The visarjan is marked by large processions of giant Ganesha idols to the beach to immerse in the Arabian Sea. 

Delhi 

Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi

The capital of India is not far behind when it comes to observing Ganesh Chaturthi though you may not see the same enthusiasm as in Mumbai. Huge Ganesha idols are placed at various vantage points in the city. Due to its cosmopolitan nature, you will find different areas celebrating the festival in ways peculiar to certain regions of the country. One can find Ganesha in different modern forms in Delhi. The city reverberates with chants from the Vedas and Upanishads during this period. 

How Goa Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi

Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi

Goa is known for festivals and celebrations. People in this state Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with the same enthusiasm as in Mumbai. The celebrations start with cleaning houses. People visit relatives during the event and exchange sweets. Goans who are settled in other parts of the country come home to take part in the festivities. Marcel and Mapusa are the two main areas where Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated widely. This is because there are a lot of Hindu temples in these localities. 

Tamil Nadu

As in the western and northern states of India, Tamil Nadu in the South also celebrates the festival with much zeal. In various parts of the state, one can find colourful Ganesha idols in decorated pandals. One of the main offerings to the lord is “Kozhukattai”, a sweet with a mixture of jaggery and coconut covered by rice flour. It is very similar to a dumpling. As with other places, the idols of Ganesha are immersed in the sea or river on the tenth day. 

How Karnataka Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi

The people of this southern state Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with a slight difference. The festivities start one day earlier than in other places. On this day, the Goddess Gauri, Ganesha’s mother, is offered special prayers. The celebration is called Gauri Ganesha in this state, denoting the importance of both mother and son. People prepare sweets like Gojju, modakam and payasam and distribute them to their friends, relatives and neighbours. In cosmopolitan cities like Bengaluru, people from various states celebrate the festival as per their tradition. 

Ganesh Chaturthi is also celebrated in many other Indian states. Hyderabad has the unique distinction of installing the tallest idols of Ganesha. Khairatabad, one of the famous pandals here, erects Ganesh idols that can go up to sixty feet tall. Over 5,000 kg of laddu is laid on the lord’s hand.

Conclusion

Apart from its religious importance, Ganesh Chaturthi gives people an opportunity to come together and have fun. People wear their best clothes and eat the tastiest delicacies. It also offers employment to a large section of people who prepare large idols and construct pandals to hold them. People across India use this opportunity to spread love and happiness among their near and dear ones.

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