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Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

By Sudha Mathew

“Ganpati Bappa Morya”

This cry is familiar to anyone who has lived for even a short while in the western part of India. This chant is associated only with the popular Hindu deity Ganesh and most often heard during the annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Lord Ganesh or Ganpati is also known as Vinayaka in South India and the festival is popular in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as Vinayaka Chaturthi. But in Maharashtra it is as much a community festival as a family one.

What is Ganesh Chaturthi?

The legend behind this festival is that the goddess Parvati blew life into an idol of a child that she made from sandalwood paste and set him as a guard while she took a bath. While she was bathing, her consort Shiva came back from his travels. But since the child couldn’t recognise him he did not allow Lord Shiva entry. Shiva, known as the Destroyer in the Hindu trinity, cut off the child’s head in his wrath at being stopped in his own house. Parvati was heartbroken and angry at the death of her child. Shiva found the head of an elephant to replace the head he had cut off and breathed life back into the child and accepted him as a son. And that day continues to be celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi till today.

Photo courtesy Washington Post

Ganesh is known as the god who removes obstacles. That’s why many Hindus worship him before starting any new venture like a business or building a house.

The date for Ganesh Chaturthi 2012 is 19 September. The festival lasts for 11 days and the idol is immersed in a water body on the last day. Bringing the idol to the house and taking it for immersion on the last day, Ananth Chaturdashi is accompanied by celebration and fervor. The beloved deity is immersed with devotees asking him to come back next year.

 Ganesh idol

The central element of the entire festival is the idol of the elephant-headed deity. Every year, families think of innovative decorations to outdo the neighbours and the local communities try to get a bigger idol than the previous year. Traditionally the idols were made of clay but over the years as demand for more colourful and larger idols grew, the industry turned to Plaster of Paris. Not only are these Ganesh statues not dissolvable thus blocking water bodies, the colourful paints have harmful lead and mercury elements that are fatal for fish and other creatures in the marine ecosystem. In the last few years due to the efforts of passionate eco-activists, eco friendly Ganeshas are available. If you are celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi this year, spare a thought for Mother Earth and buy an eco friendly Ganesh. At the end of the post, look for information on where to buy them.

Like a rich festival meal, let me close with a sweet ending.  The recipe for Ganapati’s favourite sweet, the modak is from an impeccable source, Sanjeev Kapoor, the celebrity Indian chef. You can find it at http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/ukdiche-modak-mithai-book.aspx

Photo courtesy www.mumbai-masala.com

Immersion of the idol on the last day of the festival

Photo courtesy Washington Post

Ganesh Chaturthi Resource guide

An easy way to explain the origin of Ganesh Chaturthi to your children – http://anustoriesforchildren.blogspot.in/2011/09/birth-of-ganesha.html#more

Step by step instructions to a basic Ganesh Chaturthi Puja

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/09/how-to-perform-ganesh-chaturthi-puja-at.html

Celebrations outside India – some links

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in London http://www.mmlondon.co.uk/

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Fremont – http://www.fremonttemple.org/upcoming-events.php

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Sunnyvale, California- http://www.yaadayaada.com/event/sunnyvale-temples-ganesh-chaturthi-celebrations

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Oman – http://hindupad.com/ganesh-chaturthi/ganesh-chaturthi-in-muscat-shiva-temple-oman/

 Where to buy an eco friendly Ganesh idol

Mumbai – http://www.memumbai.com/eco-friendly-paper-mache-ganesh-idols

http://www.askme.com/mumbai/ganesh-idol-eco-friendly/listings

Bangalore – http://hindupad.com/ganesh-chaturthi/eco-friendly-clay-ganesh-idols-in-bangalore-shops-to-buy-clay-ganesha-idols-in-bangalore-for-ganesh-chaturthi/

http://www.ahundredhands.com/

Pune – http://e-coexist.com/products/ganesh-chaturthi/ganesh-chaturthi-2012/ecofriendly-ganesh-chaturthi

Hyderabad – http://www.hyderabadgoesgreen.com/EcofriendlyGaneshaHyderabad

Where to get modaks

Order modak online in Pune – http://mealnut.com/ukadiche-modak-51.html

Or eat it at Hotel Shreyas at Deccan Gymkhana.

Bangalore – We don’t know for sure but you could get modaks in Bangalore either at Peshwa, JP Nagar or Rajvardhan Foods, Jayanagar.

Wishing you all a joyous Ganesh Chaturthi celebration and lots of modaks in your tummy!

As they say in Maharashtra, “Ganpati Bappa Moriya Pudhchya Varsha Lavkar yaa”

Sudha


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Posted by Sudha at 1:25 am
3 comments
    Comments ( 3 3)
  • Kavitha

    September 18, 2012

    Awesome note on Ganesh chathurthi…. Happy festival

  • sudha

    September 19, 2012

    Thanks Kavitha and wishing you the same.

  • kalaiselvan

    July 15, 2017

    Thanks for sharing ganesh chaturthi information really it is very helpful
    Great Article! .Read more on Ganesh chaturthi

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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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