The spectacular festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. In honor of Lord Ganesha – the lovable elephant headed God – Ganesh Chaturthi or Ganeshotsav is celebrated all over India. Many Hindu families across India and abroad celebrate this festival with much grandeur in their homes. The festival is celebrated on the 4th day of the Bhadrapada month according to the Hindu calendar, which falls in late August or early September. Celebrated for a period of 11 days, Ganesh Chaturthi 2015 is on September 17th while the last day called Anant Chaturdasi is on September 27th.
Celebrated in the honour of the beloved elephant headed God, Lord Ganesha, Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is one of the most important festivals for the Hindus. It mainly involves the worshipping of an idol of Lord Ganesha in a temple or pandal and at the end of the festival, the idol is immersed in water, in a process known as visarjan. Though it’s a Hindu festival which is celebrated all over the country, certain areas and regions are more pompous in terms of celebrations. The most extravagant and elaborate celebrations take place in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
The beginning of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival is marked with bringing home a clay modeled idol of Lord Ganesha or to the elaborately decorated community pandals or tents. With soaring chants and traditional drum beats, the deity arrives to the place which would be his abode for the next 11 days. It is then followed by ritualistic ceremonies performed to invoke the Lord’s presence in the idol. Offering of a variety of sweets, flowers, rice, etc are made to the deity. Modak – a type of sweet which is believed to be a favorite of the Lord, is a popular sweet that can be found everywhere during this festival. The days to be followed are marked with regular morning and evening ceremonies and special events of singing religious songs, traditional dances and chanting prayers.
Muhurath details about Ganesh Chaturthi 2015
There are certain rules which need to be kept in mind while taking part in the festival of Ganesh chaturthi :-
Shubh Muhurat to bring the idol home - the Shubh, Labh or Amrit Choghadiya
Time at which to install the idol - Char time between 11:03 and 12:33 or Shubh Time between 6:30 and 8:01
Preferred time for Ganesh Puja - Madhyanhana on Ganesh Chaturthi ( As it’s widely believed that Ganeshji was born during this kaal itself)
The Muhurut time and other details given above is the best time and way in which to perform the Ganesh Puja and to perform any work related to the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival 2015.
The families, who host the deity, open their homes to near and dear ones to visit and it’s a tradition to not let the guests leave empty handed. The events hosted by the community are always open to everyone for all the eleven days. The last day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival is the most exciting of all, the devotees gather around the idol in large numbers to worship and pray for the last time as the idol is carried away to be immersed in water. This ritual is known as Ganesh Visarjan. The Hindus believe that the form of things in the universe constantly changes, however the energy remains and the immersion of the idol in water serves to them as a reminder of that. The idol decorated with flowers and fabrics is carried out of the pandals amidst a procession of devotees singing and dancing to the beats of the large drums chanting phrases in praise of the lord and urging him to come back again next year.
Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, Maharashtra
Though the Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai is celebrated with much grandeur in many parts of the country, nothing however comes close to the enthusiasm and the grand scale of events that takes place in Mumbai. The festival was initially introduced by the Maratha ruler Shivaji Raje in his days; however it was the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who provided the impetus to make this into a public event. The motive behind this was gather people of all faiths to unite against the British rule. Serving its purpose, it went on to become one of Mumbai’s grandest festivals celebrated by everyone regardless of their faiths.
The local communities take much pride in organizing the event and have healthy competition to outdo one another every year. Numerous communities organize their events across Mumbai on both small and large scales with more than 1, 50,000 Ganesh Visarjan happening each year. But there are some events that surpass even the large scale and have become an institution where every year crores of devotees flock to see the idols. There are five famous Ganesh Mandals that combined, witness more than a million devotees each day, growing more every year. Thus Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai witnesses the grandest celebration of the elephant deity as compared to any other state or region in India.
5 must-visit places (Pandals) that makes the most of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai
1. Lalbaugcha Raja (Lalbaug – Central Mumbai)
Undoubtedly the most popular Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, if the sheer size of the statue doesn’t astonish you, look at the unending line of devotees that is formed just to see the idol up close. Apart from it’s grandeur, it is also the most revered Ganesh Mandal in Mumbai.
2. Ganesh Galli Mumbaicha Raja (Central Mumbai)
Located near Lalbaugcha Raja, one of the oldest mandals in Mumbai, it lost its popularity to Lalbaughcha Raja in the 1990’s however it still manages to pull a respectable number of crowds because of its elaborate themes of replicas of famous places in Mumbai.
3. Khetwadi Ganraj (Grigaim – South Mumbai)
Of all the famous statues, this one is considered to be the most magnificent often decked with gold and diamonds. It’s been credited of hosting the tallest Ganesh idol in the history of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai.
4. GSB Seva Gamesh Mandal (King’s Circle – Central Mumbai)
Famous for the eco-friendly statue made with clay and more than 60 kilograms of gold. The stunning the statue glittering in the festive lights is quite a sight.
5. Andhericha Raja (Andheri)
This mandal doesn’t have a towering statue like the others; however, it is popularly reputed of fulfilling wishes of the devotees. It attracts a lot of spectators for their unique themes and carnival like installations.
The events at these places are a grand affair in Mumbai and the streets in and around are jam packed at any time of the day; even nights are busy with people either lining up to be the first ones to see the idols once the gates open in the morning. If you’re in Mumbai around this time, irrespective of where you are heading to, you’ll run into the celebrations at almost every streets of Mumbai.
If not out of religious reasons, visit Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja atleast once to see how the entire city comes together to participate in this grand public event of celebrate the stay of Lord Ganesha – rightly believed to be the destroyer of evil and restorer of goodwill.
Wish you a Happy and a Blessed Ganesh Chaturthi 2015!
Ganpati Bappa Morya!!