Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ganesh Chaturthi

While we are away on our vacation, Pune will prepare to celebrate it's biggest festival, Ganesh Chaturthi. This annual Hindu celebration is dedicated to the elephant-headed God of auspicious beginnings, Ganesha (also known as Ganesh or Ganapati) and will keep the city festive much beyond the ten days of the festival. Note: Photo by HapPuppy.

Ganesh Chaturthi pic by HapPuppyMany homes will install and worship clay idols of Ganesha during the ten days of the festival, after which the idols are taken out ceremoniously, carried in a procession through the streets of the town and immersed into the river. In Mumbai, the sea-front packed with people during the immersion ceremony, is a spectacular sight.

Ganesh Chaturthi Immersion in MumbaiThe festival was apparently started by Shivaji, the great Maratha warrior and ruler, to promote culture and a feeling of nationalism amongst his subjects during the fight against the Mughal emperors. After his death the festival continued to be celebrated but on a smaller scale. In 1894 when the British banned public assemblies, Bal Gangadhar Tilak revived the state-wide celebrations as a way of spreading the freedom message through a legitimate religious festival .

Modak photo by supersam5Fasting, feasting and distribution of sweets are important aspects of this festival. An ubiquitous sweet during this festival is the modak (shown here). These delectable delicacies are made up of a soft and fluffy rice flour cover that encloses sweet coconut filling and a particular favorite of the Lord Ganesha.


Anonymous said...

Shantanu, Thanks for the compliment :) Almost all folks who have seen the template, love it.. Especially the women :)

I do miss Vinayaka Chauthi.. The food, the chants are awesome... In Hyderabad, we have the lovely "teen maar" to accompany the procession. The beat is also known as "Jhajhinaka" Very Dakhani flavour..

I am also envying your Swiss Vacation... Have fun... Someday, I too shall travel Europe :).. Until then, Im relying on your travelogue experience. Do take lots of photos, and share them as always :)

Sandip said...

yes, i owe you a coffee for this :) thanks!

btw, just dropped a message on your company id, i think you should take a look at (though i know you are on family vacation and shouldn't be checking emails on official id, but this was one i cud remember off my head)

foodette said...

Interesting, this reminds me of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. On the second day of Rosh Hashannah is the Tashlich ceremony, where members of the community goes to a body of water and throw bread into the water, symbolizing our sins. Then, on Yom Kippur a week later, we fast for 24 hours. The similarities in different cultures and religious always fascinate me. Thanks for this post!

Shantanu said...

@lakshmi: I guess most places in South India celebrate this festival, with some differences in the names and rituals.

@sandip: Thank you!

@foodette: That's interesting! I do not know a lot about Jewish holidays and ceremonies.

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Jaya said...


Once, about 15 years
ago, I was asking for
help with a seemingly
desperate situation,
and right afterwards
I looked up and saw
an image of Ganesh
had formed in the
clouds. I knew then
my problem would soon
be solved, and so it

Shantanu said...

@jaya: Cool! Hindus worship Ganesh before beginning anything important.

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