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  1. #1
    praveen's Avatar
    praveen is offline Life is a Dream
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    Vinayaka Chaturthi: History, Celebration, Rituals and Tradition

    Worshipping Ganesha, the most endearing form of all Hindu deities, is the most important aspect of Hindus daily Pooja. Unquestionably, His birthday, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated grandly with devotion and delight all over the world. It is a social event that spreads goodwill among people. People celebrate the festival with pomp and gaiety in India, especially in Maharashtra. It has been celebrated for 10 days from 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapad Shukla, birth date of Lord Ganesha to Anantha chaturdasi, the final 10th day of his immersion. Ganesh Chaturthi marks the start of the Indian festive season of that year.

    History of the Worship of Lord Ganesha

    Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations have a long history. Since the days of the Satavahana, Chalukya, and Rashtrakuta rulers, Ganesh Chaturthi has been celebrated. In Maharashtra, the festival had become most popular and celebrated with a lot of fun and enthusiasm in Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja’s period. Later, Peshwas followed the tradition as Lord Ganesha was their family deity. The festival lost its glamour with the end of Peshwa regime and remained a family affair.
    It was Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who revived Ganesh festival into a grand public celebration. He used the celebration as a source of political awakening against the British regime at a time when political gatherings were not allowed by the British. Since then Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in a grand manner in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and other parts of India and has become the most colourful and joyful event in the religious, social and cultural life of India.

    The Grand Celebration:

    The preparations for the grand festival are starting 2 to 3 months prior and clay models of Lord Ganesha are made in various sizes ranging from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet. A week before the actual festival starts, Marquees are erected and decorated at every nook and corner for installing idols. Idols are placed on a decorated tents and for 10 days, Ganesh is worshipped there with great zeal and enthusiasm. On the 11th day, Lord Ganesh idols are taken in a procession accompanied with the devotional songs, dances and drum beats to be immersed in a river or the sea chanting “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudchya Varshi Laukar Ya.” which means “O father Ganesha, come again early next year”. The idols are immersed with loud chants of “Ganesh Maharaj Ki Jai!” With the plea to the Lord to return next year, the festival comes to an end. The duration of the stay varies from place to place. People visit as many pandals as possible to get dharshan of the deity.

    In Karnataka, along with Lord Ganesh, prayers are offered to Goddess Gauri, the mother of Lord Ganesh. Married women pray Goddess Gauri for long lasting married life. In Rajasthan, idols of Ganesh are placed right outside the homes along with a thali containing haldi and kumkum for the visiting people. In Tamilnadu also Ganesh Chathurti is celebrated with great pomp and show.

    Rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi Pooja:

    Large number of people observe Ganesha Chaturthi poojas at home. On the day of Vinayak Chaturthi, after taking ritual bath, devotees wear new cloth and perform Pooja. The beautiful clay idol is placed on the makhar and is adorned with fresh flower garlands. Then kalasha pooja followed by Pranapratishtha are done. This ritual is done to invoke life into the idol. It is followed by Shhodashopachara i.e. 16 ways of worship. The main items required for this pooja are coconut, 21 modaks, betel leaf and betel nut, 21 blades of dhruva grass, incense sticks, sandalwood paste, sindur, camphor, cotton wicks, fresh flowers. After performing Shhodashopachara, 108 names of Lord Ganesha and the Ganesh Chaturthi Katha is recited. With Ganesh Aarti, the Pooja comes to an end. Then prasadams are distributed.

    May the Lord Ganesha Remove All Obstacles and Shower You with Bounties! Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

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  2. #2
    sriramcom13 is offline Newbie
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    Where can I find the way to do Shodasopachara Puja. The mantras are easily available, but the rituals - what is to be offered, how it is to be offered, what else can be offered in case something is not available etc etc is what I am looking for.
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  4. #3
    Anand Manohar's Avatar
    Anand Manohar is offline Senior Member
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    Dear Praveen

    Wonderful post.

    Reminds me of the very first Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations that I witnessed in Bombay - early '60s.

    It was a real eye-opener for me - I just couldn't believe that Vinayakar could be worshiped this way too!

    We were used to doing the Pooja in a sober and solemn manner - and here it was all lights, colours
    sounds, fancy dresses, perfumes, varieties of sweets, cinema music, dancing, pomp-n-show, and one-upmanship
    between colonies and communities trying to outdo each-other.

    Back home, He [ Vinayakar ] was serenely sat in a street corner Temple that had a maximum attendance
    of 10-15 people daily - all with serious expressions on their face which was a reflection of their
    worries / burdens - praying for His blessings before an exam / interview / some new venture or journey.

    But here, it was all gay merriment fun and frolic through 10 days !

    Now, I live in a place in Chennai - one of the three approved places for Pillaiyar immersion in the Sea
    I get to see 100s of Pillaiyars transiting in front of my house to the sea shore - will post some pictures
    of the occasion .

    Yay Yem
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  6. #4
    V.Balasubramani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by praveen View Post
    Worshipping Ganesha, the most endearing form of all Hindu deities, is the most important aspect of Hindus daily Pooja. Unquestionably, His birthday, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated grandly with devotion and delight all over the world. It is a social event that spreads goodwill among people.


    Pranams to Sri Praveen and all,

    On this Festival Day of Ganesh Chadhurthi, pray Lord Ganesh, the Lord of Beginings and Wisdom to bless us all with a rich gift of blissful life.


    With regards




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  8. #5
    venkat2206 is offline Member
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    Shri Praveen,

    Thanks for the post and brief description regarding the festival and the photo of Lord Ganesha.
    I live in Mumbai and hence there is an extra affection towards this festival. The next days will be a grand occasion
    in every part of the city. Some of the Ganesh Mandals are very famous like Lalbaug Ka Raja, GSB, Andheri, Kherwadi and so
    on. The Ganesh Mandal at Matunga was very famouns when Shri Varadaraj Mudaliar (Kamalahasan role in the film
    Nayagan) was active in public life.

    No other festivals are as important as Ganesh Chathurthi for Mumbaikars.

    Venkat K
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  10. #6
    Anand Manohar's Avatar
    Anand Manohar is offline Senior Member
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    Dear Venkat2206

    Yes I remember the pandals in Matunga during the times of Varadha Bhai.

    H'bout uploading some pictures ?

    Let's watch Mumbaikars sing " Happy Birthday Pillayar " [ maybe they've even started cutting some Modaks ]

    Yay Yem
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    vgane is offline Veteran
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    The Ganapathy Baba celebrations in Mumbai/Pune are full of grandeur , pomp and show...It unites the Hindus....I have seen people of all castes reciting the Stotras sincwerely with impeccable pronunciation and with piety

    It was an eye opener for me...The level of social bonding that the festivities create is unimaginable
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