Tag Archives: Ganesh Chaturthi

When it is about celebrating the birthday of one of India’s most popular deity, Hindus don’t fall back. Lord Ganesha supposedly descends on earth and blesses his devotees on this day. It was this auspicious occasion when Ganesha was declared superior to all Gods, except Vishnu, Laxmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganeshotsav (festival of Ganesha) is celebrated in the month of Bhhadrapada that starts on the 4th day of the waxing moon period. The date of Lord Ganesha’s birthday usually falls between 19th August and 20th September. The festival lasts for 10 days.

While this festival is celebrated all over India (and even internationally), it is more elaborate in states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. It is unclear when the festival was first celebrated. Historical references indicate the time to be in the era when the Marathas ruled India. During the reign of Shivaji (17th century) the festival was celebrated publicly in Pune Maharashtra. In 1893 Lokmanya Tilak encouraged Ganesh Chaturthi’s celebration on a large scale.

One of the most elaborate celebrations in modern era is at Lalbaug Mumbai, Maharashtra. The idol adorns the best clothing and gold. Devotees from far of places come to catch a glimpse of the idol. Millions of visitors along with celebrities flock in queues to worship the idol specifically in Lalbaug. The donations made on this day run into millions. It is on this day when everyone witnesses the entire Maharashtra on the streets dancing and immersing huge idols of Ganesha in water. The idols take thousands of artisans several weeks to sculpt.

With more and more Indians migrating by the dozen, Ganesh Chaturthi has now become a festival that is celebrated the world over. The festival was first celebrated in UK in the year 2005. The Shobha Yatra (which was the name coined for the procession) started at the Vishwa Hindu temple and ended at Ram temple at King Street with government dignitaries also in attendance. The idol was finally immersed in river Thames. Since then the celebration happens every year with not just Hindus in attendance but also other religious groups.

52% of the population in Mauritius comprises Hindus. It is this sect that brings in Ganesh Chaturthi with fanfare. The celebration started in the year 1896 and the Mauritian government observes this day as a public holiday because of the magnitude of celebration.

The Ganesh Chatturthi celebrations in France are pretty huge in Paris.  The Shri Mannika Vinayakar temple in Paris celebrates the day in a majestic manner by not just decorating the idol beautifully but also taking out a procession on chariot. The attendance is not just by people from Indian origins but Sri Lankan and European too.

Different religious organizations take the onus of celebrating the festival in a grand manner in USA.  Temples in Warrenville and Illinois witness a huge crowd in this day to see elaborate idols dressed in gold.

The universal celebration of Lord Ganesha’s birthday illustrates the popularity of this deity the world over.

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This is the famous stuti (Prayer) of Lord Ganesha. In this prayer the devotee is praising Lord Ganesha as he is the savior and he is the one who ends problems and removes all obstacles in life. Devotees sing this aarti on the Ganesh Chaturthi to praise their beloved God Ganesha.

 

  • Sukhkarta Dukhharta Vaarta Vighnaanchi

Oh Lord! You are the one who provides us joy, removes all the vighnas (obstacles) from life.

  • Noorvi Poorvi Prem Krupa Jayachi

You are the one who spreads Prem (love) everywhere

  • Sarvaangi Sundar uttishendhu Raachi

You are the one who has shendur utna  (yellow-red paste with fragrance) all over your body

  • Kanthi Jhalke Maat Mukhtaphaleckaanchi

You wear a necklace of Mukhtaphal (pearl) around your neck

  • Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murty, Darshan Maarte Man Kaamna poorty

Hail you the auspicious God!, All my wishes will be fulfilled just by having your darshan (looking at the idol)

  • Ratnakhachit Phara Tujh Gauri Kumra

I offer you the seat studded with auspicious Ratna (jewels), Oh Gauri Kumara (Gauri’s Son)

  • Chandanaachi Uti Kumkumkeshwara

I want to smear you with chandan (sandal) an kumkum (vermillion) on your head

  • Hirejadit Mukut Shobhato Bada

The crown that is adorned with diamonds and all expensive jewels suits you right

  • Runjhunati Nupure Charani Ghaghariya

Your ankles tingle in your feet

  • Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murty, Darshan Maarte Man Kaamna poorty
  • Lambodar Pitaambar Phanivandana

You are the one who is Lambodar (who has a long tummy) who wears Pitambar (yellow colored cloth)

  • Saral Sond Vakratund Trinayana

You are the one who is vakratund (the one who breaks the ego) and trinayana (has three eyes)

  • Das Ramacha Paahe Vat Sandana

I am waiting for you at my Sadan (home) just as a slave waits for his master

  • Sankati Paave Nirvani Rakshave Survandana

I worship and pray you to help us in bad times and protect us.

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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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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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“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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Bequeathed as I am to the Elephant god, Ganesha, in a manner of Naming, so to say, bestowed upon me by doting parents at birth, I am left with no choice but to be a faithful “partner in name- Ridhi, one of his consorts”. So here, I write the modern day card to celebrate his birthday well known in India as Ganesh Chaturthi which is not more, than few hours away. The festivities this year begin on September 19 and will culminate by the end of the month. Here is some interesting literature about it.

ganesh_chaturthi

Anyone with a simple mind is quite enamoured, by the rigorous ritual & preparation that goes into this ten day long ceremony to appease the pot-bellied deity in southern states of India like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. Hoards of followers intoxicated by the belief that “Vigneshwara” (remover of obstacles), will shower them with all the comforts a good life brings, are maddened in their rush to build elaborate artistically carved statues in his honour. Ball shaped (ladoos) or dumpling like (Modaks) sugary delights made of coconut, jaggery, rice or gram flour are offered in worship to satiate his appetite. Hymns are chanted to invoke his divine blessings & the hand crafted idols are treated with much reverence & decorated with exquisite finery. At the end of a long series of zealous activities of dance, drum beats, competitions & prayers to the tune of “Ganapatti Bappa Morya”, masses of people gather in processions to perform “Visarjan” or immersion of the idol into the sea at the end of the days of worship. This apparently, signifies a loving send off, by the devotees to their lord, as he makes for the heavenly abode of Kailasa, his parental home of meditation.

As legend would have it, this son of Shiva & Parvati was born, one fine day, when Parvati suffused life into the sandalwood paste she smeared on her body, before her bath. Being of her, she felt safe to have him watch the door while she bathed & so asked him to guard it. Loyal as he was to his mama, the young lad did not let Shiva, her husband, in when he came looking for her. Infuriated by this refusal to be allowed into his own wife’s chambers, Shiva severed his head. Grief stricken by this discovery, soon after, Parvati pleaded with her beloved, Shiva to restore him to life. Disturbed to see her state of unrest, Shiva then replaced his head with that of an elephant, ever since which he came to be known as the elephant god, Ganesha.

In Indian mythology, Ganesha is celebrated as the Lord of wisdom, prosperity & good fortune.  According to some texts these aspects are said to be personified by his two wives, Siddhi (spiritual powers) & Riddhi (Prosperity). In other sources, he is also associated with Saraswati, the goddess of culture & arts & Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Cumulatively, all these connotations make him an iconic figure in the Indian pantheon of Gods. Involvement, in the festivities & sincere prayers offered to the Lord at this time are believed to bear fruit for the sincere devotee. Moreover, the general spirit of cheer associated with the much loved god with his endearing tusk & round belly, & a variety of anecdotes to his name, make him a captivating persona worthy of much attention.

And so it is, Happy Birthday, to Lord Ganesha.

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ganesh-chaturthi-lGanesh Chaturthi is the celebration of the birth of lord Ganesh. This was the day when, according to the mythology of India, lord Ganesha was created from the dirt of Parvatiy’s body to guard her bathing place. Lord Ganesha was given the elephant head by lord Shiva on this very day too. The birthday of lord Ganesha is celebrated by millions of Hindus, especially by the people of Maharashtra, where Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the largest festivals of the year. They celebrate it for 10 days. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated generally in mid August all over the country and other parts of the world by Hindus.

A large statue of lord Ganesha is made to celebrate the day with rituals. The process of making the life like statue starts months ago so that the statue is prepared in time. There are lord Ganesha statues available which are almost 25 feet large, and these are used by many people who celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi together in their locality. The Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival which is not only celebrated in homes and temples, but the rituals are celebrated all over the country in clubs or in common parks. The home owners or the community Ganesh Chaturthi organizers decorate the place where the statue will be kept.

On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the large statue of lord Ganesha is placed on a higher place where everyone can see it. The devotees gather around the area to show their love, respect and devotion to the god. They pay tributes to lord Ganesha and pray for their and their loved ones. There is need for a priest for the Ganesh Chaturthi rituals to be completed successfully. Mass chanting, lead by the priest, is an important part of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Many different foods, sweets and flowers are offered to the lord on this day with prayers. This is the heart of the festival.

The celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi go on for 10 days, with prayers, rituals, music and dancing. At the end of the 10 days, on theganesh-chaturthi1 11th day, long processions of devotees go out in the street. They carry the large statues of lord Ganesha, or his pictures, on their shoulder. They dance and sing through their way towards the holly river, where they immerse the statues and images of the lord, which symbolizes the journey of lord Ganesha towards his home. The grace of the Ganesh Chaturthi is then celebrated with food and sweets, and the devotees go back to their home once the statues are submerged in the water.

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with many entertainments too. People gather in large tents where they perform drama, dance, music and other different shows. Many auspicious shows and movies about lord Ganesha are shown on large screen for the masses to take part in the celebrations together. This way all the devotees make their prayers stronger by sharing the wishes and singing aarties together to lord Ganesha.

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