Dedicated to the Hindu god Ganesha, who has an elephant head and human body, Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the biggest festivals in India, especially in the western region of the country. Believed to be the harbinger of good fortune, Lord Ganesha is sought by devotees for his ability to bring in good luck and remove hurdles from the lives of his worshippers.
Ganesh Chaturthi in 2018
Depending on the position of the moon, Ganesh Chaturthi can fall either in late August or early September. In 2018, Ganesh Chaturthi is falling on September 13th. The festival that is celebrated for 10 consecutive days will end on September 23rd.
Rituals and Customs Associated with the Festival
Installation of elaborately-crafted statues of Lord Ganesha marks the onset of the festival. A special prayer called the Pranapratishhtha Puja is performed during this time and offerings made to Lord Ganesha including sweets, flowers, coconut and jaggery amongst other things. Prayers continue everyday till the very last day of the festival called Ananta Chaturdasi. This day, the statue of Lord Ganesha starts its immersion journey in a procession, accompanied by thousands of devotees who sing, chant and dance to religious sermons in honour of the presiding deity of the festival. The festival ends with the immersion of the idol into nearby water bodies
Best Places to Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in India
The major Indian states where the festival is a big event include Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. But no other place matches the enthusiasm and verve of Mumbai where everything comes to a still for 10 days and beatings of dhol (a music instrument) and chants praising Lord Ganesha are audible in every corner of the city. Some of the major pandals that you can’t miss here include Lalbaughcha Raja and G.S.B Seva Mandal. Besides, Shri Kasba Ganpati Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Tambdi Jogeshwari Ganapati Mandal in Pune, Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad and Mapusa in Goa also boast grand Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.
Things to Keep in Mind While Participating in Festivities
Ganesh Chaturthi is a very busy festival and it is impossible to avoid crowds in case your want to participate in the visarjan (immersion) process. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times and only trust people you know well to accompany you. Also respect the local customs and rituals associated with the festival and refrain from public criticism of anything you find odd including the pollution of water bodies. Appreciate the diversity and colours of India and approach the festival with an open mind to be able to fully enjoy the proceedings.