Ganesha Chaturthi is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, who is believed to bestow his blessings on his devotees during the duration of this festival. This is a great Hindu festival celebrated all over India dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom, good fortune and prosperity. The festival is observed in the Hindu months of Bhaadrapada. The festival is worshipped by both Shaivites and the Vaishnavites. Even the Jains and the Buddhists have faith for Ganpati. Lord Ganesha is considered to be an avatar (incarnation) of both Shiva and Vishnu. On the celebration of Ganesha Chaturthi a large number of clay or metal idols are made of Ganesha of various sizes even up to 20 feet. Devotees install these idols in their houses following all the religious customs and rituals and worship for one to ten days. In western India, especially in Maharashtra, Ganesha Chaturthi is a grand affair and people treat Ganesha as King.
Ganesha Chaturthi in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra the Ganesha festoval is celebrated in a grand way. It is celebrated for 10 days. The duration of this festival is filled with joy and festivity and several cultural programs are also held in many parts of the state. During the struggle for independence, Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak introduced a new concept and made the festival a community affair for reinforcing unity amongst the people. Ganesha idols are the prime attraction of the festval. The last day of the festival is known as ‘Ananta Chaturdashi’ and Lord Ganesha is worshipped with mantras. The enthusiasm reaches its peak during the last days. On the 11th day a long procession is held and the devotees sing and dance along with drum beats. Finally they immerse the idol to the water. In Maharashtra the last day of Ganesha Chaturthi is declared as a national holidauy and schools, colleges and offices remains closed. The road is generally jam-packed with long processions and huge traffic jam can be observed.
Ganesha Chaturthi Pandals and Decorations
The objective of the festival is to commemorate the birth of Lord Ganesha. Previously this celebration was a homely affair but now the concept of community festival has given a new perspective to the festival and today its exceptional grandeur is well known throughout India. One of the best Ganesha Mandals in Maharashtra is the Lalbaughcha Raja in Mumbai which is one of the most popular among pandhal hoppers. During these ten days all the devotees gather in the community pandals for puja and celebration. The pandals are very creatively decorated by skilled artisans. The trend of designer pandals with decorative lightings and intricate patterns are in extreme demands on this occasion. These pandals beautifully decorated with flowers, lightings and several other items gives the celebration a grand look.
Ganesha Chaturthi Recipes
Lord Ganesh is known for his inclination towards sweets especially laddoos. A variety of sweets are prepared on this occasion and the most popular among them is Modak. Devotees also visit Ganesha temple during these days and offer milk and sweets to Lord Ganesha. Other sweets that are especially prepared on this festival include Besan Ke Ladoo, Motichoor Ke Ladoo, Puliyodarai, Kaju Ke Barfi, Karanji, Rawa Ladoo, Puran Poli Modak and Moong Dal Ka Halwa.