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Ganesha Festivals

Ganesh Visarjan Rituals

In India and other parts of the world the devotees of Lord Ganesha observe a fast on Ganesh Chaturthi and celebrate it with pomp and show. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the fourth full moon day of Bhadrapad (Sep- Oct) month of Hindu calendar. An idol of Lord Ganesha is brought at home on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi and is immersed in water after 10 days i.e. on Anant Chaudas. Anant Chaudas or Anant Chaturdashi is the last day of the ‘Ganesha Festival’.

This day Lord Ganesha’s idol is taken from home and is immersed in flowing water. We ask God to go to his Heavenly abode from where he had come; so that we can invite him the next year too with equal fervor.

          The time of farewell to Ganesha’s idol is a poignant moment in itself. Some rituals have to be followed in order to do the visarjan. There is one specific mantra which is chanted at the time of taking the idol for the visarjan. The prayer is:

Mushikavaahana modaka hastha,

Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra,

Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra,

Vighna vinaayaka paada Namaste.

O Lord Vinayak! You are the remover of all obstacles. You are the son of Lord Shiva, and have a form which is remarkable, with the mouse as your carriage. You hold a laddu (sweet pudding) in your hand and  have wide ears and long hanging trunk. I prostrate with sincere devotion at your soft Kamal (lotus) like feet.

Ganpati VisarjanBefore taking Ganesha for the visarjan ceremony, one should perform the arti (prayer). All the family members should be present at that time. The rituals of the visarjan begin with an uttarang Puja (holy ceremony) which involves offering panchameva (five items), deep (oil lamps), Pushpa (flowers), Dhoop (incense), Gandhi (fragrance) and naivedyam (food) to Ganpati. After offering panchameva to Lord Ganesha, all should gather and perform Aarti. Then some Akshat (raw rice) is sprinkled onto the idol. The idol of Ganesha is then lifted from his seat and is carried to some threshold, where it is turned to face the house and is placed on the floor.

We should ask for his pardon for any mistakes committed by us. If we plan to bring the idol next year for Pooja, we should invite him and ask him to return next year. A spoonful of curd is poured by the women of the house in the idol’s mouth, as it is believed that guests who receive curd and rice are sure to visit again. Then everyone in the family should ask for his blessings. Now the family members should circumambulate the Ganesha idol and proceed for the immersion. The Ganesha idol is now taken to every of the house. This is done to ask Ganesha to bless every part of our house.

Take some Gangaajal (Holy water) and sprinkle it on the person doing the visarjan. All the garlands and the other decorations done on the Ganesha idol should be removed by the person doing the visarjan. They should be collected in some newspaper or a cover, and not to be immersed with the idol. They can be offered at the peepal or bargad (banyan) tree. Now the idol is to be lifted up, and people going to do the visarjan chant the mantra:

‘Ganpati Bappa Moriya, Mangal Murti Moriya’.

Once the idol is lifted it should not be placed in the home. The person holding the idol in hand should move out of the home and should proceed to the immersion point. One should not look back at the house once they proceed to the immersion point. If you have time you can also perform a small Aarti (prayer) at the immersion point. After performing the immersion, do not look back at the idol. You can either take a dip in the river itself or come home take a bath and perform a small Pooja (prayer). This  visarjan of Lord Ganesha is performed and devotes  wait for a year for him to come and give them  the golden opportunity of his service.

Jai Ganesh!

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Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival which is celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is believed to be the Ganeshgod that bestows wisdom and prosperity. It is on this day that Lord Shiva declared that his son, Lord Ganesha is superior to all gods and shall be worshipped before any of the gods are worshipped. Thus, in India before starting good work it is said, “Shree Ganesh Karo”. This means that we are seeking the blessings of lord Ganesha for prosperity. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi usually lasts for about 10 – 12 days. These days usually fall in the period between August 19th and September 20th . According to the Hindu calendar it is celebrated in the month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon). The celebrations continue for 5 -12 days. Although the festival is celebrated in most parts of the country some where it is of special significance are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

In these parts of the country the festival is highly popular and the preparations begin months in advance. Idols of lord Ganesha are installed across streets and homes. These are beautifully decorated with most intrigue materials. The size of the idols may vary from 3/4th of an inch to more than 70 feet. In 2011, the biggest murthi was installed in Vishakapatnam which was over 70 feet tall. There are mandaps or pandals (large tents that are used for community gatherings) in every locality decorated with flowers lights of various shapes, sizes and colors. These can be personal, group based or society based. In some cases the decorations are according to a particular theme. The idols are made with precision and detail by specially skilled artisans.

Talking about the history of the festival, it is believed that the festival was celebrated in the state of Maharashtra by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to promote nationalism and cultural harmony. During the Indian freedom struggle, the festivities were revivied by Lokmanya Tilak. It was a way to defy Britishers who had banned public assemblies. It was just a away to promote unity and national integration.

The celebrations go on for at most 10 days and on the 11th day, the idols are taken to a river or sea for being immersed as a final farewell. People dance and sing and celebrate with flowers and colors. People chant mantras and recitals with the most popular one being “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya” (O lord Ganesha, come again early next year) in Maharashtra.

The main sweet dish that is made during this festival is Modak. It is a dumpling made up of rice flour which is stuffed with grated coconut, jaggery and lots of dry fruits. Modak is considered to be the favourite sweet of lord Ganesha that’s why it is an important part of the celebration.

The festival is a great way of bonding and cultural harmony. People from all religions and castes are allowed to visit tents and seek blessings of lord Ganesha. Also many artists and small businessmen survive on these kind of festivals, thus proving to be a means of livelihood for them.

As the idol is immersed in water, people hope that Lord Ganesha would bless them for the coming year and would return to their homes very soon.

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Idol Immersion of Ganesha Idol

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is usually a 5 – 12 day festival which is celebrated in theGanesha idol Bhadrapada month of the Hindu calender. The festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm across India. The festival that is marked with bringing a Ganesha idol into our societies and homes, ends with Ganpati Visarjan (idol immersion of Lord Ganpati). Lord Ganpati comes into our lives and distributes happiness for the time he stays and at the end of the eleventh day, the idol is immersed in water. This symbolizes that nothing is permanent, not even God. As we immerse the idol, we hope that with him all our sorrows also drown and what is left is a great deal of prosperity and happiness for everyone around. It helps us understand that even if the body perishes the thoughts and ideas are always left behind. Be it an animal, a human being or even the idol of God, once we come into the world and our lifespan gets over we need to go. Even Lord Ganesha cannot escape this truth. It is up to us how we remember those who are not with us. After the immersion of the idol, also known as Ganpati Visarjan, Lord Ganesha is not forgotten. He remains in people’s hearts forever and we wait for him to come to our homes and lives very soon in the next year. That’s the reason the chant says “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya” (O lord Ganesha, come again early next year).

The immersion is a special part of the festivities. Before taking Lord Ganesha for the visarjan (immersion), devotees perform aarti (a prayer form) and chant mantras. It is believed that all family members, friends and close ones should perform this prayer together. The ritual of immersion is usually characterized by offering five items to Lord Ganesha. These five items are deep/diya (oil lamps), pushp (flowers), dhoop (incense sticks), fragrance and food. As the aarti proceeds, the family members sprinkle uncooked rice and flowers to the deity. Then the idol is lifted from its throne and placed at the threshold of the house. During this time, people thank Lord Ganpati for coming to their homes and blessing them with prosperity and hope to see him soon next year. Then one of the member of the family takes the idol for immersion. The streets are filled with people, dancing, rejoicing and reciting prayers and chants. It is colorful mix of flowers and gulal (dry powdered color). The parade is usually accompanied by music from different kinds of musical instruments.

Keeping in mind the environmental factors, it is advised that all the garlands are removed from the idol before immersion. Initially the idols were made from Plaster of Paris (POP) but the material is non biodegradable and is not soluble in water, hence it poses a great deal of risk to the water bodies. Also the paints used to decorate the idols are dye based which prove to be harmful for the marine ecosystem. But now with increased level of awareness among the masses courtesy mass media tools like newspapers, radio ad campaigns, social networking sites etc the trend is changing. People are switching to idols made from clay. The paints used are also lead and heavy metal free. Also there are constant efforts to make people aware so that they try and immerse the idols in man made lakes, ponds or small water tanks instead of rivers and seas.

The festival is celebrated on a very large scale in Maharshtra and various film and TV personalities take part in the festivities. Going by the numbers, a leading newspaper quoted that in September 2011, nearly 40,000 idols were immersed in Hussainsagar near Hyderabad. In 2010, Mumbai saw 1,91,072 immersions as compared to 1,87,506 from the previous year.

The immersion helps us understand that change is inevitable. It makes us realize that the body perishes but the soul always remains. It also represents the circle of life. All good things come to an end, and are reborn in different forms at destined times. It teaches us that instead of being cynical about the end, we should celebrate life and look forward to the change it brings with it. It is a tribute to new beginnings, and leaves us with hope, that one can start afresh, no matter what the baggage.

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Ganesh Chaturthi – The history behind the celebration of the festival

“Vakratunda Mahaakaaya Suryakotee Sama Prabha ,

Nirvighnamkuru mey Deva, Sarva kaaryeshu Sarvadaa”

Ganesha Family
Lord Ganesha along with Lord Shiva and parvati. The most famous offspring that might have ever been produced.


The Human God made by Parvati during her bathing time and asking him to be her guardian during her bath.


According to the Hindu Calendar, every month has a special day dedicated to one of the Gods. The very first God who is worshipped by the Hindus is Lord Ganesha. The offering of his puja is considered to be the most important and the first big festival in the array of festivals that tend not to get over with.

Ganesh Chaturthi or “Vinayak Chaturthi” is observed in the Hindu calendar as the month of Bhadrapada, commencing on the ‘Shukla Chaturthi’ (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in order to mark the birth of the most desired son of the eternity.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the son of Shiva (The God of Destruction in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) and Parvati (Shiva’s consort), Ganesha or Ganpati has the head of an elephant(iravat) on which rests an elegant tiara, four podgy hands joined to a sizeable gut with each hand holding its own symbolic object – a trishul or a trident in one, an ankush or goad (made from his very own broken tooth) in another, a lotus in the third and a rosary (which is sometimes replaced by modaks, his favourite sweet) in the fourth. Revered as the deity of auspiciousness and astuteness, Lord Ganesha is also famous for being a counterfeit and for his profound sense of humour.

There is a curiously interesting tale about the birth of Ganesha. It is believed that once while Parvati was bathing, she created a human figure from some unguent and salve, gave him life and asked him to guard the door while she cleansed. After a long period of meditation on Mountain Kailash (Lord Shiva’s abode), Shiva chose that very moment to drop by to see his better half, but was abruptly stopped by the man-god Parvati had posted at the door. Outraged by the impudence of this stranger, Shiva cut off his head only to discover moments later that he had killed Parvati’s son! For fear of enraging his wife, Shiva immediately dispatched his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. The first living creature which they happened to have found was an elephant. As instructed, the head was chopped off and brought back to Shiva, who placed it on Parvati’s son’s body, bringing him back to life.

Even though the act put together by Lord Shiva didn’t enrage Parvati, she was deeply hurt. She respected what Shiva did for her but had only one thing in her mind that Shiva didn’t respect Parvati’s privacy and just wanted to enter her bathing area. With a confused mind she went to Lord Brahma to shed off her grieved mind. Lord Brahma consoled her and promised her that her son will not only be a part of entire family but also be worshipped before any god could be worshipped. By this time Lord Shiva had also regained his composure and apologised to Parvati for his rash behaviour.

This elephant-headed god was welcomed into the first family of the Hindu heavens and named Ganesha or Ganapati, which literally means the chief of the ganas, or the attendants of Shiva. Ganesha is the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon. This brave guardian of the door to Parvati’s bath is beheld today as the most auspicious God of new beginnings. He is worshipped during every festival and before people undertake a journey or embark upon a new venture. We can also see him carefully guarding entrances to temples and homes, peeping out of calendars and happily gracing marriages and other such occasion.

It is not known when and how Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated. The earliest Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations can be traced back to the times of the reigns of dynasties as Satavahana, Rashtrakuta and Chalukya. Historical records reveal that Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were initiated in Maharashtra by Chatrapati Shivaji, the great Maratha ruler, to promote culture and nationalism. And it had continued ever since. Emperor Shivaji created the designation “Peshwa” in order to ensure a proper administrative system in Maratha rule, consisting of Brahmin clans, can also be considered as on one the early clique to have worshipped Ganapati. It is believed that Lord Ganapati was the family deity of the Peshwas.

Today, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and many other parts of India. The festival is so popular that the preparations begin months in advance. Days before the actual worship, homes are cleaned and marquees erected at street corners to house the idols of the Lord. Elaborate arrangements are made for lighting, decoration, mirrors and flowers. While celebrated all over India, Ganesh Chaturthi festivities are most elaborate in states like Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas which were former states of the Maratha Empire. Ganesh Chaturthi is also a favourite festival among the Kokanees people, the people living by the Konkan Coast of Western India by the Arabian sea. The place is not only famous for the Ganapati festival but also for its serene and eye-catching Ganapati immersion. It’s a treat for the eye as the entire place is up on their feet and enjoys the festival to its fullest extent.

Ganesha being the god of wisdom and prosperity is worshipped in every sphere of life and still maintains his position as one of the strongest offspring’s of the world. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most awaited festival in India. It marks the start of all the other festivals and is made a point to be celebrated vividly throughout the entire country.


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