- Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day festival and devotees bring idols of Ganesha to their houses and place them on raised platforms in homes
- On the 11th day, the image is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea
- In 2016, Hyderabad and Cyberabad jointly will have a hundred thousand Ganesh pandals. And more than 20 feet tall Khairatabad Ganesh statue along with other statues will be immersed on September 15
India doesn’t need any introduction and it is complete in its own way. Apart from unity in diversity that India is proud of, it is also a land of festivals that keeps it alive throughout the year. Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and others of different faiths and traditions celebrate various festivals during the year. These festivals bring people together and add a new dimension to the daily routine of life. Although most Hindu festivals are religious in nature, they have cultural and regional diversities as well.
However, the essence and spirit of Hindu festivals remain the same throughout te country and anywhere Hindus reside. The festivals teach us to be physically and mentally pure and help people resolving conflicts and bind them together in harmonious living and welfare. Hindu festivals reflect the mind and philosophy if India in various epochs. Hindu festivals also have a deep spiritual meaning and purpose and remind us of the presence of supreme reality, or God.
One of the major festivals in Hinduism is Ganesh Chaturthi. It is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha on the fourth day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapada month of Hindu calendar (September/ October). Lord Ganesha is the god of wisdom as well as of good fortune. He is believed to be the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
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Legend has it when Shiva was coming back from his samadhi, he didn’t know that Ganesha was his son. Ganesha did not let Shiva enter the house because mother Parvati was bathing. Shiva got angry and cut his head off and went into the house. When Parvati saw Ganesha dead, she cried and told Shiva that Ganesha was his son.
To ease Parvati’s grief, Shiva promised to cut off the head of the first living thing he would see and attach it to Ganesha’s body and that creature was an elephant. Ganesha was thus restored to life and honored his courage by being made the Lord of the new beginnings and guardian of entrances. Ganesha is believed to be the destroyer of obstacles- ‘Vighna Vinashaka‘ and one who makes wishes come true – ‘Siddhi Vinayaka‘. As a granter of boons, Ganesha, the elephant-headed God is propitiated before all the Gods and at the start of any new task.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day festival and on the commencement of the festival , devotees bring idols of Ganesha to their houses and place them on the raised platforms in homes. The priest then invokes life into idol amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is called pranapratishtha and after this shhodashopachara (16 ways of praying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas (rice flour preparations), 21 durva (trefoil) grass and flowers are offered to the idol, to make Him happy and seek his blessings. The idol is anointed with red Chandan (sandalwood) and throughout the ritual, Vedic hymns are chanted.
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Devotees sing and dance ecstatically before the idols of Ganesha. On the 11th day, the idols are taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing and later to be immersed in the river or the sea.
This year in 2016, Ganesh Chaturthi date falls on September 5. According to hinduismtoday.com Website, Hyderabad and Cyberabad jointly will have a hundred thousand Ganesh pandals, this year and more than 20 feet tall Khairatabad Ganesh statue along with other statues will be immersed on September 15. Samiti secretary R. Shashidhar said, “the number of pandals in the twin cities and Cyberabad will be 100,000. We are expecting more to be set up Khairatabad will have the tallest statue at 58 feet.
“We have asked the organizers to avoid the Metro Rail corridor and accept the state government plan to decentralize the immersion process with special enclosures for immersion at 10 lakes in the city including Hussainsagar.” Besides, HMDA (Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority) has purchased a US$445 million machine to take out the statues once they are immersed.
– prepared by Akanksha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akanksha4117