Ganesh Chaturthi Festival 2016
If you are planning for a holiday in Mumbai then make sure you are there at the time of the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. Celebrated extravagantly in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and slowly expanding to other parts of India… Ganesh Chaturthi Festival has also spread to countries like the United States, Canada and many South East Asian countries. One of the major festivals in India that is celebrated by the Hindus, the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is usually held between 19th of August and 20th of September OR in the month of Bhaadrapada according to the Hindu calendar. The joyful occasion starts on the propitious fourth day of the waxing moon period, traditionally known as “shukla chaturthi”. It is a 10 days of extravaganza and rendezvous that ends on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon period OR “anant chaturthi”. The hymn of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival 2016 is going to bell the sanctity from 5th September till 10th of September.
A brief history on Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, one of the Hindu deities, the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is said to be celebrated since the time of Shivaji… although it is not known when and how Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated. The event was largely popularized by the Peshwas in the 18th century BUT it lost its patronage slowly after 1818. Later in the late 19th century, Lokmanya Tilak encouraged the annual domestic festival and saw to it that it grows into a large and well-organized national festival motivating both the Brahmins and non-Brahmins.
Why and how the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is celebrated?
Lord Ganesha, also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka, is believed to be the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. Although Lord Ganesha was one of the primary deities of the “Smartism” of 9th century but it is believed that he emerged as a distinct deity since the time of the Gupta period (4th – 5th century). Thereafter the “Ganapatya” distinguished Lord Ganesha as a supreme deity. Today, he is worshiped by almost all castes and it is believed that if Ganesha is propitiated, he grants success, prosperity and protection against adversity.
Lord Ganesha is a non-sectarian Hindu deity and hence at the time of the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival you will notice that there is a rendezvous of people belonging from different social status. The grand celebration starts with the installation of Ganesh idols in colorfully decorated pandals (erected temporary structures)… followed by ‘pranapratishhtha’ where the chanting of mantras invokes the presence of Ganesha. Thereafter, ‘shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute)’ is followed. At the time of the ritual coconut, jaggery, modaks, durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered and throughout the ceremonial occasion several vedic hymns echoes down the mind of devotees bringing in a divine peace. Further… if you are in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, you will notice several music and dance performances, especially the Bharatnatyam dance. On the last day, immersion of the statues in the ocean, or other bodies of water, and their subsequent destruction serves as a reminder of this belief. In Mumbai… the occasion is celebrated with great fervor bringing in celebrities, business tycoons and common man under a divine allegiance.
Temples to visit during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
Ashtavinayak Temples, Pune, Maharashtra:
The Moreshwar Temple in Morgaon, Siddhivinayek Temple in Ahmednagar, Ballaleshwar Temple in Pali, Varadavinayak Temple in Mahad, Chintamani Temple in Theur, Girijatmaj Temple in Lenyadri, Vighnahar Temple in Ozar and Mahaganapati Temple in Ranjangaon are the notable eight temples in Pune dedicated to Lord Ganesha where you can experience the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival.
Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai, Maharashtra:
It is one of the popular temples in India that is located in Prabhadevi in Mumbai. The temple holds a small hall with the shrine of Siddhi Vinayak, a gold plated sanctum, carved images of Ashtavinayak, a statue of Lord Ganesha and a Hanuman temple as well. The temple witnesses a large gathering of Bollywood celebrities, politicians and business tycoons at the time of the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival and thus you can expect tight security.
Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh:
Built in the 11th century by the Cholas, it is one of the ancient temples in India that is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Located in Chittoor, which is approximately 580 kilometers from Hyderabad, the Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple is also popular for the gala affair on the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival.
Karpaka Vinayakar Temple, Thiruppatthur, Tamil Nadu:
Another ancient temple in India that was built in the 4th century… the Karpaka Vinayakar Temple, which is also known as Pillaiyar patti Pillaiyar temple, in Thiruppatthur, is a rock cut cave shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is celebrated in a grand manner and one can also witness several cultural programmes.
Chintaman Ganesh Temple, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh:
It is one of the ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is the biggest Ganesha temple in Ujjain… hence the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival overflows with eager enjoyment.