Introduction

Ganesh Chaturthi which falls in the Baisakhi month of the Shaka calendar and the fourth tithi of the waxing moon i.e Shukla Paksha of the lunar transit system, Ganesha has been marked as an epitome of everything good and prosperous being hailed as the Vighnaharta (The remover of all the obstacles).

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on a massive scale in the state of Maharashtra, the festival was initially started by lokmaniya Tilakji who wanted to instill nationalistic fervor and a unified spirit among the local populace against the British.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Origin

Going by the classical texts Ganesha finds its first mention in the Rigveda. There are two slokas attributed to lord Ganesha they are sloka 2.23.1 and 10.112.9. The first sloka hails Ganapati as the
“seer among the seers, abounded with food, presiding among the elders and being the lord of an invocation”. While the second shloka attributes Ganapati with the title that “nothing nearby or far is performed without you”, he has been hailed as the Lord of Multiverses, observing each being and their actions.

However, the Rigveda does not mention any festival ascribed to Ganapati as
Ganesh Chaturthi. The later works of literature of the post-Vedic period such as Grhya Sutras, Vajasaneyi Smriti, Yajnavalkya Smriti, and Mahabharata also mention Ganapati as the lord of
success and obstacle remover, giving him the title Vighnaharta.

The archeological researches trace the origin of the deity to be around the 7th to 8th Century A.D., and the Ellora cave paintings show Ganesha as a counter of Shakti, and as an equivalent to Pashupatinath.

Trivia

1. The first Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated by Shivaji Maharaja as a mark of encouragement to his army before the battle against Mogul emperor Aurangzeb, Ganpati was considered the Kuladevata of the Shivaji Family, and his blessings were taken daily.

2. It is not good to look at the full moon during Ganesh Chaturthi. As the legend goes while returning from a feast Lord Ganesha fell off from his musheek-Vahan as the musheek got
distracted by seeing food, while Ganesha fell from his vehicle Soma (the moon) started laughing, and instead of helping him get up, following which lord Ganesha cursed him, that
during the period of his worship whoever will look at the moon will incur a fall from his prosperity.

3. Lal-baugcha Raja has a story to it. The festival was started in the Peru Chawl community in 1934, the early organizers were mostly the fisherman of Peru-chawl and local vendors, slowly
as the prosperous businessmen got involved in the festivities the scale of processing the festival has also increased with the current facts stating that Lal-Baughcha Raja holds the longest
procession of idol immersion in India.

4. There are sixteen ways of paying tribute to Lord Ganesha mainly termed the Shhodashopachara which is one of the main rituals observed during Ganesh Chaturthi. The Sixteen ways are given as follows- 1. Avaahana 2. Pratisthapan 3. Asana 4. Samarpana 5. Arghya 6. Samarpan 7.Achamana 8. Madhuparka 9. Snaana 10. Vastra 11. Samapana 12. Yagyopit 13. Gandha 14.
Pushpa 15. Dhoop 16. Deepa 17. Naivedya 18. Taambloa

5. The Ganapati chants are mainly taken from Atharva Shirsha Upanishad.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Regional Approach

Mumbai – The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations see Mumbai in a different state of ecstasy with loud cries of “Ganapati Bappa Moriya, Mangal Murti Moriya, Urchavarshi Laukariya” lauding the
streets of Mumbai. The city homes go vibrant with colors and pandals booming with people ready to serve their beloved deities. Some of the largest celebrations to be seen here are at the Lal-Baugcha Raja and Andhericha Raja.

Bombay city sees a blasting celebration on the 10th day of the festival when the huge idol is taken for immersion in the Arabian Sea. The processions are so huge that it starts on the day of Visarjan and ends only on the next day.

Delhi-The Delhi Ganesha is at a much low-key level on celebrations compared to the Maharashtrian celebrations, however, one of the unique things seen at this location was the
utilization of the Vedic hymns in the background in most of the pandals, not like a typical Mumbaikar celebration, but at one or two locations huge idols of Ganeshji can be found, however,
the sizes are way smaller than Lal-Baugcha Raja or Andehricha Raja.

Goa– Now this is something to talk about. Just like Maharashtra Goa has also got its contaignity of festivity from Maharashtra, the goanis celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi with a great delight and pomp. The two most prominent places where the Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great enthusiasm are Marcel and Mapusa probably on account of the dominance of the Hindu temples
in this location.

These two are great tourist attractions who flock to be a part of the festivity during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, the location also attracts a huge populace of the neighboring city Mumbai.

Tamil Nadu– There is something special with the festivities of this region. The USP here is Gowri Habba or Gauri Habba, this basically means that before the ganapatiji is invited to the house by a devotee, his mother mata Gauri is worshipped, this worship ritual takes place exactly one day before the Ganesh Chaturthi, according to the Tamil customs this is believed to appease Ganapathi more as he loves his mother dearly.

On the day of Ganapathi Utsav the pandals are decorated and the festivities are at par with Maharashtra, the only difference being the South Indian populace takes to performing Homams and Yajnas for the all-round prosperity of the family and community, the prasadam has a lot of delicacies apart from Modak, Sewaichi, Upma, Idli, Dosa, Vada, Rabri, Mysore Pak, karanji, etc.

Karnataka– Karnataka has made its place in the Ganesha festivities mainly on account of the unique sweets which it utilizes as a prasadam, main delicacies of the occasion are gojju’s, Ladoos,
Modak, Payasam. The serving rituals are quite different here as mata Gauri and Lord Ganesha are worshipped simultaneously. The Homams and Yagnas are a regular affair on these occasions.

Pune– One of the unique things that happen during the Ganesh Utsav is the Lavni dance that the residents of Pune perform during the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi, just like the festivities of Mumbai the pomp and glittering of Pune are non-the-less the Modak and Payasam dominate the prasadam thali in this terrain.

Hyderabad– The USP of the Deccan Ganesha is the unique prasadam that is distributed during the occasion, especially the dishes of Kudumulu and undrallu are offered to Vignaharta along with rice offerings. In Hyderabad, 5600kg of laddoo is made as an offering to the lord in one of the pandals in Khairatabad.

Ganesh Chaturthi Ritual

Slokas and Rituals

Vakra-Tunda-Mahakaaya,
Surya-Koti-Sam-Prabhah.
Nirvighnam-Kuru-Me-Deva,
Subha-Karyeshu-Sarvadaa.
==========================
Shuklaambaradaram Vishnum,
Sashivarnum chaturbhujam,
Prasannavadanam dhyayet,
Sarva vighnopashantaye.
==========================
Agajaanana Padmaarkam
Gajaananam Aharnisham
Anekadantham Bhaktaanaam
Ekadantam Upaasmahey
============================
Gajaananam Bhoota Ganaadhi Sevitam
Kapitta Jamboophaala Saara Bhakshitam
Umaasutam Shoka Vinaasha Kaaranam
Namaami Vighneswara Paada Pankajam
==============================
Ganaanaam Twam Ganapathi Gam Havaamahe
Kavim Kaveenaam Upamasra Vastamam
Jyeshta Raajam Brahmanaam Brahmanaspatha
Aanashrunvanna Oothibhi Seedha Saadanam

Here are the things which are required for Ganesh Chaturthi Puja.

• An idol of Lord Ganesh
• Chandan or sandalwood paste.
• Red flowers, preferably Hibiscus flowers.
• Incense sticks.
• Durva grass.
• Modaks or any sweets made at home after taking bath and without having any food.
• Some fruits.
• A Chaurang or elevated table to place the idol.
• A cloth to cover the table and things to decorate it like lights.
• Diya to light in front of the idol for Aarti.
• Cleaning of the house for the puja is mandatory.

1. Wear fresh clothes and get ready for the puja.
2. Prepare the Ganesh mandap with coconut or banana leaves. One can use mango leaves and flowers also to decorate it. Some decorate it with the leaves of the Ashoka tree.
3. A pot filled with water and rice is installed near the idol of Lord Ganesh.
4. Install the idol of Lord Ganesh saying ‘Om Ganesha Namah’.
5. The Puja is started by chanting 108 names of Lord Ganesh or chanting simple Ganesh mantras.
6. Diya is lit and offerings are made to the lord by singing hymns especially dedicated to Ganesh or Ganesh Aarti.
7. Naivaidya of special recipes and fruits to Ganesh Jee is done.
8. There is a sign for the number 21 in this Puja and so people offer 21 Durva grass blades and 21 Modaks. 21 signify – 5 organs of perception, 5 organs of action, 5 vital breaths of air, 5
elements, and the mind.
9. However, when performing Ganesh Chaturthi Puja at home one can be flexible. All that is needed is to have a clean body and mind and the thing that is most important is devotion and
not the ritual.

Ganesh Visarjan

Conclusion

The above article is a just-minute contribution to helping the devotees of lord Ganesha in understanding their lord and worshipping him, may Vignaharta remove all the obstacles from the pathway of the progress of all the readers who read this article.

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