Ganesha Chaturthi - The Festival of Elephant God

|| Ganapati Bappa Moarya ||

|| Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namaha ||

Ganesha, also known as Ganesh, Ganapa, Ganapati, Vinayaka is one of the widely worshiped deities in Hindu tradition/Hinduism. Found in every nook and corner of the length and breadth of the country, Ganesha spells a feeling of security and prosperity to each and every person in India, irrespective the caste, creed or even religion.
 
One of many Ganesha processions in Mumbai, India
 
It is one of the most diffused deity, across Asia & South-East Asia, such as India, Sri-Lanka, Mayanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, etc. 

Clay Ganapas

The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound word, joining the gana, meaning a 'group, multitude, or categorical system' and isha, meaning 'lord or master or shiva'. He is also fondly teased as the 'eka-danta', meaning having only one tooth, which happened to him when he lost his other one in a trivial fight with Chandra/moon in his younger years.

Ganesha festival begins on a subdued note in Hyderabad
Public pandal of Ganapati, during Ganesha Chaturthi

Today being the Ganesha Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaviti or simply Ganesha Habba is a Hindu festival commemorating his birth. The festival is marked with the installation of a idol (murti/moorti) made out of clay, privately in homes and publicly on huge tents/pandals (temporary sheds) during the festival and until a few days after, normally upto 9 days. During these days many culural, sports, and other social activities are held to signify and celebrate the diversity of the community.
 
Local neighbourhood Ganapathi procession.

In the Gregorian calendar, Ganesh Chaturthi falls between 22 August and 20 September every year. Chaturthi (fourth day) of the Krishna Paksha (the waning phase of moon), is observed during every Hindu Calendar month.

Modak / Modaka / Kadubu - Traditional Savoury for Ganesh prasad


The tradition of publicly idol worshiping of Ganesh on Ganesha Chaturthi as a community festival begun in Pune in the year 1893 initiated by one of our great Indian freedom fighter Sri.Lokmanya Tilak (fondly known as Bal Gangadhar Tilak), during the independence movement to unify people and bring in the strong camaraderie amongst the society. Even today, the city of Pune, India is known to be the largest and strongest Ganesha festival destinations.

One of many Ganesha murti's visarjan at sea of Mumbai, India

The tradition became a huge hit then which helped with the freedom struggle and went on to be celebrated forever since then. The festival never lost the spirit of the culture despite 75 years after we India, became independent, but it has only been increasing as a unifying event with the youth and the rest of the community even today.
 
Must see Ganpati Pandals in Mumbai
Grandly built up temporary pandal for Ganesh Chaturthi
 
On this auspicious day, observances include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts, such as prayers and vrata (fasting). Offerings and prasada/festive-food from the daily prayers, that are distributed from the pandal to the community. The prasada include sweets such as modaka, modaka is a special sweet which is believed to be a favourite of Ganesha.
 
An environmental friendly Ganesh clay idol

The festival normally ends on the tenth day after start from Ganesha Chaturthi, when the idol is carried in a public procession with music and group chanting, then immersed in a nearby body of water such as a river or sea, called visarjan. In Mumbai alone, around 150,000 statues are immersed annually. Thereafter the clay idol dissolves and Ganesha is believed to return to his celestial abode.
 
Khammam: Use eco-friendly Ganesh idols to protect environment
Artisan of Ganesh

It is very important to note that since the idol is dispersed back to the nature, the best idols would be the one's that are made out of the natural material such as clay with natural colouring and not painted using chemical paints. Plaster of paris murti's painted decoratively with harsh chemicals were used for a very long time and even used today which is a disaster to the environment.
 
Another artisan of Ganesh

Ganesha is also known to be the wise one, the most educated and his followers, us have been educating ourselves have now realised that using the right materials in the right way will lead to the best outcomes. People these days have been enterprising in making environmentally friendly Ganesha murtis and the popularity is on the rise from the past couple of decades.
 
Recyle India's message

We wish every one a prosperous and a very happy Ganesha Chaturthi, let there be more peace in the world, and a better days ahead for everyone.

|| Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namaha ||

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