Monday, August 24, 2009

Ganesh Chaturti

In India this is the season (August - November) of festivals. It starts with Krishna Ashtami followed by Gouri Pooja, Ganesh Chaturti, Dasahara and Deepavali (festival of lights). If one wants to be part of fun and frolic this is the best time to be in India. One can enjoy the celebrations in each of the festival which last for 1 to 12 days. (Click on all the image for bigger picture)

Lord Ganesh decorated on the first day at the temple

Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi for the first time was started by the great Maratha ruler, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, to promote culture and nationalism. Later the festival was revived by Lokmanya Tilak (a great freedom fighter) to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies. The festival provided the Indians a feeling of unity and revived their patriotic spirit and faith.

Lord Ganesh being worshiped at the temple

It is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. He is worshiped as the God of wisdom, prosperity and auspiciousness in Hinduism. He is one of the most popular deities in Hindu religion. It is observed on the fourth day after no moon in the month of August - September as per traditional Hindu calendar. This is celebrated in temples, street corners and in individual homes. The elaborate arrangements are made for lighting, decoration. On these days, special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha. The festival is so popular that the preparations begin months in advance. The artists who make the idols of Ganesh compete with each other to make bigger and more magnificent and elegant idols. The bigger idols are 10 to 50 meters in height. The 12-day Ganesh Chaturthi ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the idol on Ananta Chaturdasi day.

Design of Lord Ganesh done using half cut coconuts at the temple

In our family we celebrate it in the native place for one day. It is this time of the year all the family members gather for the celebration. All the members of family reach here on the previous day itself. The preparation start with the previous night, by cutting of vegetables for the next day. On the day of Chaturti the idol is placed in its rightful place and decorated with flowers of various types. All offer their prayers to him and take his blessings.

Lord Ganesh decoration at home over the past few years

These statues are then carried on decorated floats to be immersed in the sea after one, three, five, seven and ten days. In some places where there is no sea nearby it is immersed in the lake or well. Thousands of processions converge on the beaches to immerse the holy idols in the sea. This procession and immersion is accompanied by drum- beats, devotional songs and dancing.

This my entry for Thursday Challenge 'Mettalic'. For more check here

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