Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of Ganesha to earth from ‘Kailash Parvat’ with his mother goddess Parvati/Gauri. The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals.
Ganesh Chaturthi 2020
I just enjoy and love Ganesh Chaturthi festival. It feels great and gives a positive feeling. When I was a child, I had heard the entire story of Ganapati festival from my best friend’s mother. The story was so interesting, I remember my mother reading it every night from the book of those childhood stories.
We Indians are truly blessed with a rich culture and I think it is fortunate to be born and come here. I make it a point to visit at least five places every year to seek the blessings of Ganapati Bappa.
Luckily I have many friends who bring Ganpati’s idol to their place, so it is fun to visit their homes and catch up with other friends. I also love hearing Aarti that they chant every evening during this festival. I feel so calm, it just rejuvenates his soul completely. I like the whole process of worship.
I make it a point to always visit my friends’ places on Ganesh Chaturthi as I love the whole festivities and festivities that go with it. I like Modak and used to gorge on them earlier but now I am a little conscious and try to resist my temptation. I love this festival because it draws my friends closer to me.
Famous festivals of Mumbai – Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is a very famous and colorful festival of India. It is more commonly and grandly celebrated in the northern parts of the country. If you are looking for a colorful time to visit India, this is the best festival to choose from. Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi symbolizes the birthday of the elephant god, Lord Ganesha. It is celebrated in different manners throughout the country. Tourists are welcomed with no connection to religion, creed or culture to be a part of this ceremony.
According to legends, Goddess Parvati planted turmeric to a son to protect her palace while she was taking a bath. Lord Shiva was the destroyer in search of his wife Parvati, when a young boy stopped her from entering the palace. Enraged, Shiva beheaded the boy, which angered Parvati. To pacify Parvati, who was furious at destroying the earth, Shiva assured her that he would bring the boy back to life.
He sent Lord Brahma to head north and search for any sleeping creature. Lord Brahma came with the head of an elephant. Shiva, as promised, gave life to the boy after attaching the elephant’s head to the body. The child was then called Ganapati (ruler of all beings) or Ganesha. This birthday of Lord Ganesha is celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi.
The exact date of the festival varies from year to year and is celebrated according to the lunar calendar. The festivals come in late August or the first week of September. It falls on the fourth day after Amavasya. The festival starts on the fourth day and is celebrated for 11 days. The main festival and celebration take place on the eleventh day.
The festival is very common in Maharashtra. Apart from Maharashtra, this festival is also celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. Mumbai is an iconic place to enjoy this festival. The main festival takes place at the Siddhivinayak temple located in the Prabhadevi suburb. In addition, several Ganesh statues will be erected for rituals in various parts of the city.
Rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi
On the fourth day after Amavasya, people make a Ganesh idol out of clay or buy it from the store. You can find huge idols of the deity throughout the city. On the first night, seeing the moon is considered a bad omen. On the first day, the moon god looked down from the sky and laughed to Lord Ganesha, when he fell from his mouse. Moon was later punished for his action.
For the next ten days, people perform rituals, prayers and offerings to the deity. On the eleventh day, after morning prayers and rituals, the idol is taken to a nearby water source (preferably the Arabian Sea) and immersed. The procession that goes out to reach the water source is spectacular.
You can find many cultural activities that take place during the procession. In Mumbai, every year more than 150 thousand idols are immersed in water. By immersing in water and dissolving it, it is said to indicate the concept of God being omnipresent and figureless.
Sweets, coconuts, flowers and fruits are offered to the statue for eleven days. Special group prayers, dances and musical performances and rituals take place during these eleven days. You can also find recitations of legend and other religious activities.
You can find many tents at the roadside which have large Ganesh idols. Tourists are free to enter, watch the rituals, participate in the festivities and enjoy the dishes served. You can also participate in the procession, where you can watch concerts, dance performances, ritual chanting and more.
Although the entire city will be immersed in celebration, here are the top places to visit during the festival.
Lalbagh Raja – This is the place where you can find the biggest statue of the city.
Ganesh Gali Mumbaicha Raja – Mandal for rituals and ceremonies
GSB Seva Ganesh Mandal
Fort Division General Public Ganeshotsav Mandal
You can have many cultural performances throughout the city during this festival. Many Bollywood films hit the silver screen during this festival. If desired, you can watch a local movie.
Top Mumbai dishes to try during Ganesh Chaturthi
- Modak – A sweet or salty dumpling is prepared only during this festival.
- Puran Poli – A sweet roti made with coconut and jaggery filling.
- Shrikhand – Sour sweet curd made of cardamom, curd, saffron and fruits.
- Patholi – steamed rice rolls
- Kothimbirwara – a fried fitter made with spices and chickpea flour
- Varan Bhat – Dal curry and boiled rice served with a side dish of potatoes and beans
- Sabudanavada – Fried snack made with boiled potatoes, peanuts, spices and tapioca pearls
- Chaulais – a vegetable made with black-eyed beans
- Katachi Amti – Tangy lentils made with chick peas and other spices
- Kala Vatan Amati – Curry with Dried Peas
- Karanji – Fried pastry made with almonds, cashews, coconut and others.
- Tips for tourists visiting Ganesh Chaturthi
- Do not embarrass, tease or act in any way, the locals will feel humiliated.
- Leave your shoes outside the tent or mandala before entering.
- Cigarettes, alcohol, and non-vegetarian dishes are not allowed near places of ritual.
- If you are not allowed inside any religious event, do not worry. There are many mandalas and rituals to choose from.
- The temples will be quite crowded during this festival. You must be prepared to stand in the queue for several hours. It is better to bring water with you.
- If you want to participate in the procession and immerse the idol in the sea, you can find many stores selling clay idols of the deity.
- Most of the roads will be blocked due to the procession and traffic jam is quite common. If you are planning to be somewhere on the eleventh day, plan as soon as possible.
If you are planning to visit Mumbai during this festival, book tickets and other facilities at the earliest. Many tourists and locals come to Mumbai for this festival, with transportation and hotels crowded.
History behind the festival
The story narrated by our parents and grandparents is during the time of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. To protect her bathroom door while taking a bath in the absence of Lord Shiva, Parvati composed Ganesha with her sandalwood paste. Upon Shiva’s arrival and Ganesha worked strongly to not allow Lord Shiva to go to Lord Shiva who was angry with Lord Ganesha. According to the orders of Goddess Parvati, her followers went in search of the head of a child, but all could find that it was the head of an elephant and the birth of Lord Ganesha, the expression of an elephant-headed god.
The work of skilled craftsmen begins months before the festival arrives. In different poses, various artistic clay models of Lord Ganesha have been made, ranging in size from 3/4 inch to 70 feet. Specially constructed temporary structures called mandapas or pandals are made and beautiful statues are installed on them on the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in homes, localities and temples. To invoke the life of God in the idol, temple priests chant mantras called “Pranapratishtha” in a red silk dhoti.
After this, the Lord is prayed in 16 different ways which is called Shodashopchar. The statue is decorated with crimson and sandalwood paste and various offerings of coconut, jaggery, modak, durva grass and red flowers are made. Throughout the ceremony, Ganesha Stotras are recited from the Vedic hymns Rigveda, Ganapathi Atharva Shirsha, Upanishads, and Narada Purana.
For 10 days, Ganesha is worshiped and on the 11th day, the idols are taken through the streets in a procession with a dance, singing, immersed in a river or sea which is the god in their journey. Is a symbol of observing a ritual. On his way to his residence in Kailash, he took away the misfortune of all the people with him. “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Purti Varsha Lucaria” (O Father Ganesh, will come again early next year) This phrase is sung by everyone. After offering the last offering of coconut, flowers and camphor, people take the idol to the river to immerse it.
The most famous dish of the festival is modak. A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour / wheat flour with stuffing of fresh or dried grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other spices. It is either steam cooked or fried. Modak is known by different names in different parts of the country in their languages, such as Modakam / Kudumu in Telugu, Modak / Kadubu in Kannada, Kozhkatta / Modakkam in Malayalam and Kozhutattai / Modagam in Tamil Nadu.
Another popular dessert is Karanji which is similar to Modak in composition and taste but has a semicircular shape. This festival is celebrated with great grandeur across the country, but Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important festival in Maharashtra. Why over here!
The first festival of festivals begins from the time of the great Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja. The festival continued to be celebrated by the Peshwas, as Lord Ganesha was their local deity, but after the fall of the Peshwa rule, the festival was revived by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who was also Lokmanya Tilak, renowned freedom fighter, nationalist and social reformer.
Tilak who was a visionary noticed that the festival was more common in the upper echelons of society and hence decided to bridge the gap. He realized the national importance of Lord Ganesha and tried to bridge the differences between the Brahmins and non-Brahmins of the country to unite all the citizens.
He first placed public images of Ganesha in the pavilions and established the tradition of his immersion on the tenth day. Making the festival public, they created a platform for all, irrespective of their caste, creed and gender and mingled with each other to form the basis of the freedom struggle.
Apart from India, the festival is also celebrated by Hindu residents in Britain, America, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore and Mauritius.