वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा II
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most awaited and widely celebrated festival of Maharashtra. It is celebrated with great pomp and show in different parts of the state, though Mumbai and Pune witness maximum grandeur and zeal. Lord Ganesha also known as Vighna-Harta (remover of obstacles) is believed to be God of wisdom, knowledge and prosperity.He is considered auspicious God of new beginnings therefore Lord Ganpati is worshiped during every festival and before people go for any journey or embark upon a new venture. He is patron deity of the Maharashtra state . Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as birthday of Lord Ganpati.
Ganesh Chaturthi commonly known as ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ or ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’ is celebrated in the month of August usually and lasts for 10 days (Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, according to Hindi calender). Preparation for the festival starts well in advance. Shops showcasing different sized and designed, idols of Lord Ganesha are set up at every nook and corner. The energy and spirituality dominates the entire atmosphere.
Story Of Ganesh Chaturthi :
According to Mythology, Lord Ganesha is Son of Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati. It is believed that Lord Ganesh was born on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the Hindi month of Magh. Since then, an association between Ganesh and Chaturthi has been established. Thus the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha on this Chaturthi day is named as Ganesh Chaturthi.
There is a very interesting story related to the birth of Lord Ganesha! It is said once while bathing, Mata Parvati made an idol of the uptan (paste) she used on her body. She infused life in the sculpture and asked him to guard the door while she bathed. At the same time, Lord Shiva returned from ‘Kailash’ after long meditation to meet Parvati but he was abruptly stopped by the boy at the door. This enraged Lord Shiva and he cut off his head only to discover moments later that the boy was Parvati’s son. Shiva immediately dispatched his ‘ganas’ (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. The first living creature happened to be an elephant. As instructed by Lord Shiva, the head of the elephant was brought back to Shiva, who placed it on Parvati’s son’s body, bringing him back to life. The elephant-headed son of Parvati was named Ganpati which means the chief of the ‘ganas’, or the attendants of Shiva.
History Of Ganesh Chaturthi :
Ganesh Chaturthi is said to have been celebrated since the days of Maratha rulers: Satavahana, Chalukya, and Rashtrakut according to historian Shri Rajwade. Again then great Maratha Ruler Chatrapati Shiva Ji Maharaj initiated the celebrations in Maharashtra as a public event, to promote cultural traditions and nationalism. Even Peshwas celebrated the event but only as the family tradition.
Later Bal Gangadhar Tilak one of the eminent leader, an Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter, brought back the tradition of Ganesh Chaturthi and revitalizes the annual Ganesh festival from private family celebrations into a grand public event. He spread the word of Lord Ganpati as “God of everybody” and popularize the festival, nationwide as in order to bridge the gap between all the classes and caste of the society. This festival brought in a feeling of unity and oneness in people that helped in the revival of their patriotic spirit. Also at that time gatherings of the social and political kind was not allowed by the British Government. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi festival gave people an opportunity to interact with others.
It is from that time this festival has been celebrated every year with great zest and fervor all over the country.
How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi :
Ganesh Chaturthi is so popular in Maharashtra that preparations begin a couple of month in advance. Elaborate arrangements are made for lighting, decoration, mirrors, and flowers. Clay idols of Lord Ganesha are placed with all the rituals and tradition in the household and public pandals. Various ‘pooja’ are performed with the offering of Durva (grass) blades .red flowers and modaka, a delicacy made from rice flour, jaggery, and coconut. During the festival days, the Lord is worshiped with great devotion and prayers and prasads are offered daily.
As per the tradition of their respective families and pandals, the celebrations come to end after 1,3,5,7 or 11 days. After which statues are taken in a big procession to a large body of water such as rivers or sea for immersion. This procession and immersion are accompanied with dancing and the sound of exciting drum-beats, devotional songs, and exploding firecrackers. Ganesh Chaturthi comes to end with the chants of Ganpati bappa morya, pudcha varshi laukar ya” (Hail Lord Ganesh, return again soon next year).
Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration In Mumbai :
Almost every community and locality, in Mumbai, celebrate this festival with full zest and vigor. According to BMC in 2014, there are total 1, 91,000 idols were installed across the city of which 10,350 are at Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandals and 1,80,650 belong to local households.
- 80-year-old Lalbaghcha Raja in Central Mumbai is most famous Sarvajanik Ganpati and major mass puller. Approximately 1.5 million people visit this pandal daily and offerings are made in gold and silver.t is believed that this Idol of Lord Ganesha is Navsacha Ganpati(which means the “one who fulfills all wishes”)
- There are pandals set up with different social and cultural themes to reflect reality. Some of the interesting themes this year was Social Media, Female feticide, farmer’s suicide, etc. In Byculla, the betelnut Ganpati of Makba Chawl effectively conveys the need to avoid gutka and tobacco.
- Another famous mandal is Ganesh Galli, one of the biggest mandals of Lalbaug area that has created some fantastic replicas of temples and palaces in the past.
- Instituted by Lokyaman Tilak in 1893, The Shree Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Sanstha at the Keshavji Naik Chawl in Girgaum still hosts Ganpati Bappa every year.
- Many Bollywood stars like Salman Khan, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Hrithik Roshan, Jeetendra, Govinda, Akshya Kumar, Raveena Tondon etc also take part in festivities by installing Ganpati idol at their home.
- Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board appeal to install eco-friendly Ganesh idol is making the wide-spread and more and more people are opting for it. To surprise, a housing society in Khar area of Mumbai has switched to eco-friendly Ganpati idols in their homes this year.
- BMC facilitate people by setting up the artificial pond in a different area for Visarjan. This year BMC increased the number of artificial ponds from 19 to 22.
The entire Mumbai city celebrates the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi with at-most belief, devotion, and dedication, irrespective of their caste creed and religion. This festival helps in binding people at a different level and strengthening their relationship. The splendid atmosphere during these 10 days is hard to describe in words. One will be awestruck to witness such energy and vivacity on the day of Visarjan. People dancing on road, playing with colors, fireworks, music and orchestra, one procession followed by another and another, Is like witnessing Holi and Diwali together.
To be part of this festivity, visit Mumbai or Pune in August or September and catch the fervor of 10-day celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. Ganpati Bappa Morya!
Have a great day!