Indian Festival | Ganesh Chaturthi | Ganpati (2016)
Ganesh Chaturthi or Ganpati is being celebrated from 5 - 15 September 2016.
About Ganesh Chaturthi
Lord Ganesha (Ganesh) or Ganpati is one of the most revered deities in the Hindu religion.
Ganpati, Ganeshotsav or Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Lord Ganesh, the elephant headed deity is the God of wisdom and prosperity. He is also known for removing obstacles and his blessings are invoked before beginning any auspicious venture.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the month of August or September, all over India but the greatest fervour is seen the states of Maharastra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.
Ganeshotsav is also celebrated in Nepal and by Hindus wherever they are in the world.
Ganpati Idol Making
Ganesh Chaturthi festival is a 10 day celebration; the final day - the 10th day - culminating on the Anant Chaturdashi day when the idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in a body of water.
This festival was started by Chatrapati Shivaji, a Maratha King. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, popularly called Lokmanya Tilak, a Maratha politician and a nationalist, transformed this festival, from a privately held smaller festival, into a publicly celebrated state and national festival.
At various places and areas in each city, associations and organisations were formed that pool their resources, collect funds from the common man, shopkeepers and business houses and hold these celebrations on a grand scale.
Preparations for this festival start a couple of months before the festival. Idols of Lord Ganesha of all sizes are being made by artisans and kept ready for purchase by people before the actual festival starts. Some of these idols are as tall as 10 to 20 meters.
The smaller idols are purchased by those who wish to keep Lord Ganesha in their homes while the larger idols are installed at specific areas in the neighbourhood. Traditionally, these idols are made of clay but are now being made from plaster of Paris; though since recent times, with the increased awareness of going green, many people have started making idols of biodegradable materials.
These huge Lord Ganesha idols are installed in pandals or mandaps (pavilions), specially erected temporarily for this purpose. The installation is done on the Ganesh Chaturthi day, that is, the first day of the festival. The mandaps are colorfully decorated with lights, flowers and religious themes.
Prayers are performed along with singing of devotional songs and sweets are offered to Lord Ganesha. Religious music is also heard blaring from publicly installed loudspeakers.
Ganpati Visarjan (Immersion) Day
Ganpati Visarjan Day
The Visarjan (Immersion) Day
Ganesha visarjan is done on the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 10th day with the 10th day being the biggest day.
The fervor of this festival is at its zenith in Mumbai; the commercial capital of India. On the day of visarjan of these idols; all idols whether kept at home or in a public place are immersed in water. These idols are taken in huge processions on colorfully decorated floats and lorries (trucks). All roads leading to the sea beaches are jam packed with the sea of humanity that finally descends onto these beaches.
Visarjan starts off in the afternoon and goes on late into the night. It is a magnificent sight to behold thousands of Ganesha idols being immersed into the sea waters. The procession is accompanied by music,dance and devotional songs. Chants of "Ganpati Bappa moriya, pudcha varshi laukar ya", meaning " O Lord Ganesha, come again early next year".
In Mumbai, the largest idol is installed at Lalbagh and Lord Ganesh is often referred to as "LalBagh Cha Raja" meaning "The King of LalBagh".
The Legend Of Ganesh Chaturthi
The story of the birth of Lord Ganesha is fascinating.
Legend has it that Parvati (Lord Ganesha's mother) created a human figure, manas putra, from the sandalwood dough she used for her bath and breathed life into it. Shen then asked manas putra to keep a watch outside while she bathed and not allow anyone in.
When Lord Shiva came, he was stopped by manas putra from going in, as he did not know who Lord Shiva was (Lord Shiva as Parvati's husband). Angered, Lord Shiva beheaded manas putra.
When Parvati came to know about this she asked Lord Shiva to revive her son, manas putra. Lord Shiva then asked his servant to go outside and bring the head of the first living being he encountered. An elephant it was and the servant presented its head to Lord Shiva who affixed the head to the body of manas putra who was then on known as Ganesha.
Hence this day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha and called Ganpati, Ganesh Chaturthi, Vinayaka Chaturti or Ganeshotsav.
Lord Ganesh is also called Vinayak sometimes.
Modak - The Favorite Sweet Of Lord Ganesh
The main sweet during this festival is Modak - a dumpling made of rice or wheat flour with a filling of fresh or dry grated coconuts, jaggery, dry fruits and condiments. It is either steam cooked or fried.
Other sweets like laddoos of different types, karanji, puran poli etc are also prepared.
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Ganpati Visarjan (Immersion) Procession
Ganpati Visarjan Video
Modak Sweet Recipe
Whole Wheat Ganpati Laddoo
Laddoo Recipe For Ganesh Chaturti
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly
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