Ganesh Chaturthi, a ten-day Hindu festival, celebrates the arrival of Lord Ganesha (an elephant-headed deity) to earth from Kailash Parvat with his mother Goddess Parvati (Gauri). On the fourth day of Hindu Lunisolar calendar month Bhadrapada, it begins. In the Gregorian calendar, it typically falls in the months of August or September.
The festival commences with the installation of Lord Ganesha clay idols privately in homes or publicly in fancy pandals. Chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as Ganapati Upanishad, prayers and fasting are part of the rituals.
After the daily prayers, prasadam is distributed which include sweets such as modaka believed to be a favorite of Lord Ganesha.
On the tenth day, the festival concludes when the idol is taken for immersion in a public procession with music and group chanting. Lord Ganesha’s idol is immersed in a nearby body of water such as a river or sea.
The festival has been quite popular in Mumbai. As per reports, Ganesha Chaturthi has been publicly celebrated in Pune since the era of Shivaji (founder of the Maratha empire). During the British Raj, the Ganesha Chaturthi festival lost state patronage in Maharashtra until it was revived by Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak.
However, nowadays it is being celebrated in the most party in India.
In Mumbai alone, reportedly, nearly 150,000 statues are immersed every year.
It is believed that after the clay idol is submerged in water, Lord Ganesha returns to Mount Kailash to parents Lord Parvati and Shiva.
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About Lord Ganesha:
Lord Ganesha is believed to be the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles. He is also believed as the god of intelligence and wisdom.
About the author: Anurag Sason is journalist with more than 7 years of experience in mainstream journalism. He has worked in newspaper, news agency, TV and digital media. He tweets at @AnuragSason
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