Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival that is celebrated with great devotion throughout India. Lord Ganesha is said to be the God of beginning as he is honored while starting something new, is the Deva of wisdom, good fortune and prosperity.He is also the God of art and science.
Ganesha is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There are two different stories about the birth of Ganesha. One says that he was created by goddess Parvati out of dirt while she was having a bath. He was meant to guard the door while she completed her bath. Lord Shiva who was out, and came back at that moment. Lord Ganesha could not recognize him and refused to let him in. Angry Lord Shiva was furious and beheaded him in a battle between them. Parvati was fuming and devastated looking at her son dead. Shiva then promised that Ganesha will live. He sent the Devas looking for a head for his son, to which they could only find the head of an elephant. Hence he is called the elephant god.
The other states that he was created by the Lord and the Goddess on a request made by the Devas to be a savior, who would put obstacles in the paths of the demons.
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is marked as the day Ganesha was born. It is a 10 day festival. This year it starts on the 17th of September and ends on the 27th of September. The Lord has more than 107 different names, by which is known. It occurs on the 4th day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. This usually falls between August and September.
The celebration are the liveliest in the state of Maharashtra. It happens on a bigger scale here. The celebration starts by buying the image of Ganesha and inviting the deity to your homes. This is the first ritual of the festival which is called the Pranapratishhtha.
Next is the ritual of praying to the Lord till the time he is at your home. The Puja is performed with family members, friends and a priest. This is called Shhodashopachara. This Aarti takes place in mornings and evenings.
During the festival there are colorful and beautiful temporary shrines also called the pandals that are set up in different parts of the state which are worshiped for 10 days. There is different sweet dish that is cooked during this festival. It is called Modak. It is a very tasty sweet prepared by using flour or rice which is stuffed with dry fruits, coconuts and mincedjaggery. Most foodies await this festival for this sweet dish.
Then there is the Uttarpuja after which the idol is ready to leave. He is said to take all the negative energy and the bad things from the house and makes it pure. Then is the last ritual called the Ganpati Visarjan in which the idol is immersed in the river. He is taken in hundreds with music and joy.
In Maharashtra different sizes of the Lord are worshipped during this festival. You can see enormous figures around which people are dancing. People are chanting the words “Ganpati Bapa Morya”. If you really want to enjoy the experience then you should visit the five famous pandal that are taken out in the city. They are Icchapurti Ganesh Mandal, Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, Fort Vibhag Ganesh Utsav Mandal, Anjeerwadi Mandal and Kamatchawal Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.
You must visit the city during this festival. It is colorful and beyond belief. You can see hundreds of people uniting and celebrating.