Happy Ganesh Chaturthi – Celebrations and Pandals

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, is a Hindu festival observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada(mid August-mid September), starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi, and is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, especially in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

Lord Ganesha who is considered to be the god of wisdom, prudence and prosperity has been worshipped right from the Vedic times. Every religious ceremony is completed even today with invoking his blessings at the very beginning with the solemn recitation of “Om Ganeshaya Namaha” (I bow to Thee Lord Ganesha).

Ganesh idols
Ganesh Idols | by Harsha K R

Ganesh idols made up of clay and or other material (such as plaster of paris which is hazardous to the environment and must be avoided) are created 2-3 months before the event. Skilled artisans prepare clay models of Ganesh in various poses. These idols are then installed at specially erected temporary structures known as Mandapas or Pandals. Thus begins the festival of Ganesh.

Huge canopied tents called as pandals come up in almost every other lane, society and locality beautifully created by neighbourhood puja manadals (committees), and innumerable numbers of homes are cleaned and decorated with festoons and flowers to welcome the divine guest. The pandals are decorated with flowers, garlands, lights and depict religious themes. People decorate their houses especially for this occasion and also place statutes of ganesh in their homes. He blissfully sits in the various pandals and homes, amidst His devotees, ensuring that His grace and blessings reaches all. Big temples and shrines do not make the cut for Him. All He looks for is a pure heart, true devotion and plenty of modaks , His favourite sweet!

During these ten days, the devotees gather together for the celebration every day at the temporarily arranged Pandal to worship their deity. Each Pandal is unique in it’s own way of arrangement and decoration. At homes, people place the idols of Lord Ganesha and perform puja with other members of the family. The pandals and the surroundings are all loaded with temporarily set up shops offering mouth watering delicacies and various other items. A visit to these eateries is a must where you get the lip smacking delicious street food of Maharashtra!

Don’t miss the 10 most iconic Ganesh pandals in Mumbai

There are other things to watch out as well. The Pandals also serve as the venue for free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, dramatic performances, films, devotional songs, etc. during the days of the festival. People sing songs, burst crackers and dance to the tune of traditional drums in order to express their gaiety.

Today this festival is the most colourful and joyful event in the religious, social and cultural life of India, especially that of Maharashtra. Enjoy the festival of Ganesha!

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi !! 🙂 🙂

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