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Ganesh Chaturthi is a famous Hindu festival where the birth of Lord Ganesh is celebrated. Over a period of 10 days, people all over the country worship the beloved elephant-headed God.
The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations involve a magical fusion of music and dance along with a wide variety of cultural shows. While the Ganesh festival is celebrated mainly in Maharashtra, there are several other states that wholeheartedly celebrate the birth of the divine Lord Ganesh.
Why is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?
It is believed that the public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi began during the era of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. However, the Ganesh festival became a private celebration among families during the British Raj.
This private celebration continued until 1893 when freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak wrote about it in his newspaper - Kesari. Later, he took great efforts to turn this private celebration into a well-organised public event which eventually came to be known as Ganesh Chaturthi celebration.
How is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?
Being one of the most awaited festivals in Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated over a period of 10 days with unmatched joy, excitement and devotion.
Local groups set up huge pandals (tents) where an idol of Lord Ganesh is placed on the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Families and other devotees also take part in this Ganesh Chaturthi celebration by placing idols in their homes or offices.
Known as the “Destroyer of Obstacles” and the “God of New Beginnings”, Lord Ganesh is regarded by many as the people’s God. Devotees ask for his blessings and pray to him for their good fortune.
Now that we understand how Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated, let’s look at Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in different states.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the biggest festivals of the year and is celebrated all over Maharashtra with great excitement. Idols of Lord Ganesh can be found in all households while Sarvajink Ganpati Mandals set up roadside pandals (tents) where huge idols are placed.
The best places to experience Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra are Mumbai and Pune. Chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya, Mangal Murti Morya’ signify the beginning of Ganesh festival in these cities.
In Mumbai, the Siddhivinayak Temple is visited by thousands of devotees during the Ganesh festival. These devotees sing prayers and pay their respects to Lord Ganesh.
On the other hand, the Shreemant Dagadusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple of Pune holds great historical significance. It is famous for its pujas as well as for the modaks and other sweets.
Also, Maharashtra is famous for huge processions of co-ordinated ‘dhol-tasha’ events during Ganesh Chaturthi. These processions are also carried out on the last day of the Ganesh festival where the Ganesh idols are immersed in nearby rivers or seas.
The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Delhi are known for their grand nature. Giant idols can be found in different places where learned priests of various temples recite chants and sing praises of Lord Ganesh.
Pandals are decorated and cultural programs of dance and music are organized to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Delicious prasad is served in temples while people from all over the state come to take part in this Ganesh Chaturthi celebration.
Just like Maharashtra, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great pomp and excitement in Goa. People prepare for Ganesh Chaturthi by cleaning their houses and visit relatives and friends during this festival.
A wide variety of Ganesh idols are designed by local artisans after which they are placed in different pandals. These idols are made using innovative items like coconuts, canes and even bamboos.
Since, Goa is home to a large number of Hindu temples, the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations take place on a grand scale. Tourists from all over the country visit Goa during Ganesh Chaturthi as it is widely considered to be a special occasion.
The state of Karnataka celebrates the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in different traditional and ritualistic ways. Here, it is known as Ganesh Habba and prayers are offered to Goddess Gauri, the mother of Lord Ganesh.
The festival is celebrated in grand fashion and sweets like Modakam, Gojju and Payasam are distributed. People pray and offer their respects to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Gauri. Married women also pay their respects to Goddess Gauri and pray for a peaceful married life.
Devotees of Lord Ganesh visit the different temples across Tamil Nadu during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebration. Apart from the special pujas and aartis, temples also offer modaks for all the devotees.
Similar to Maharashtra and Delhi, the people of Tamil Nadu also set up pandals and place huge idols of Lord Ganesh during Ganesh Chaturthi. People seek the blessings of Lord Ganesh and pray for a prosperous life.
The city of Hyderabad in Telangana celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi over a period of 10 days with equal vigour and excitement. Also, one of the tallest idols of Lord Ganesh is installed in Khairatabad, which is a famous mandal in Hyderabad.
Similarly, other mandals also install giant idols across the state. The Ganesh Chaturthi celebration includes puja, dance and aartis where people pay their respects to Lord Ganesh in different ways. After 10 days, these idols are then immersed in wells or other river tanks.
Since, Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular festivals in India, it is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. People from all over the country take part in the Ganesh Chaturthi celebration and pray to the elephant-headed God for his blessings.
Ganesh Chaturthi during Covid-19
This year Ganesh Chaturthi falls on 22nd August, 2020 and Anant Chaturdashi, which is the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi, falls on 1st September,2020.
However, this year the Ganesh Chaturthi celebration will be severely affected due to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, government authorities all over the country have announced strict regulations for the Ganesh festival.
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations will take place on a small-scale this year as large gatherings have already been banned. Pandals have been strictly asked to follow social distancing guidelines while the height of the Ganesh idols cannot be more than 4-feet.
In spite of all these problems, people are eagerly waiting for Ganesh Chaturthi as they pray for a safe and better future.
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