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Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesh.   

Ganesh is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is one of the most popular and most worshiped Indian gods. His image is one of the most widely drawn, painted and sculptured. He is the elephant headed god. 

Lord Ganesh is remembered on chauth or chaturthi which is the 4th day of every month of the Hindu calendar, but most of all on Ganesh Chaturthi which falls on the fourth day of the month of Bhadrapad in the Hindu calendar. 

Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day celebration is observed in most Hindu homes. Some families host the festival with the Ganapati murti and aarti and prasaad every evening. People have a tradition to keep the Ganapati for 1, 5 or 10 days. After the 1/5/10 day celebration the Ganesh murti is festively taken out of the house and immersed into the ocean, chanting "Ganpati Bappa Morya,Phudchya Varshi Lavkaar Ya".


Elephants are very wise animals this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom. He has a snake tied around his big stomach and sits on his vehicle - the rat. He is usually depicted with 4 hands. One has a trishul, or a trident, the second, an ankush, or goad made from his very own broken tooth, the third hand elegantly holds a lotus and the fourth a rosary, which is sometimes replaced by modaks - his favorite sweet. His trunk is usually turned towards the left, rarely do we find images of Ganesha with the trunk turned towards the right.

The Story of Shree Ganesh 

Many many centuries ago, it has been said that during a war between the Gods and the Demons, Lord Shiva was away for a long time. His wife, Goddess Parvati, afraid of being alone for an extended period used her divine powers and created a son, Ganesh, and gave him the responsibility of protecting the house. When Lord Shiva and his army, returned victorious to his home, Parvati was in her bath, and Ganesh had been strictly instructed not to allow anyone in. Angered by Ganesh's refusal to allow him into the house, Lord Shiva and his army chopped off the boy's head. When Parvati came out of her bath, she was shocked and grieved to see her son dead.

Lord Shiva, to pacify, her proclaimed that the head of Ganesh would be replaced by that of the first creature that came up the hill. The first visitor to the hill was an elephant and his head was promptly cut off and placed on that of the boy Ganesh. His life was restored by Lord Shiva who also bestowed upon Ganesh the powers of a God and blessed him such that henceforth no activity will begin without invoking his name and blessings.

Since then, it is said, no new venture - the inauguration of a company, the opening of a shop, the foundation of a building, entering a new home - is deemed complete by Hindus without performing a Ganesh puja.
He is always honored first in most worship services and rituals.  He is known as the god who removes all obstacles, one who gives you success in your ventures.                  Top

He has 108 names some of them being

Balganapathi - The beloved child Ganapati
Ekdanta - The one with a single tusk
Gajanana - The one with an elephant face
- The one with a huge belly
- The omnipotent and all powerful
- The auspicious
Muktidaya - The giver of eternal peace
Pitambar - One who is adorned with yellow clothes
Siddhivinayak - The bestower of success
- The Lord with the twisted trunk
- The destroyer of evil
- The destroyer of obstacles
- Lord of All

Ganapati Sholka                    Top         

Vakratunda mahakaya suryakoti samaprabha
Nirvighne kuru me deva sarva karaye shu sarvada

How to chant :

This sholka or verse is said to bring good luck if chanted everyday. Chant the above shloka with your full devotion. Sit in a quiet place, cross legged in a comfortable manner, close your eyes for better concentration. It is considered auspicious to chant a mantra 11 times, or 108 times or in multiples of 108. Once you have determined the number you should stick with it. It is said that once you have fixed upon the number of times you are going to recite the shloka, you can increase it but cannot decrease it.



Anant Chaturdashi is a day with twin significance. 

Ganapati Visarjan : The 14th day of the bright half of Bhadrapad is the day of the immersion of Ganpati.  On this day, the festival of Ganpati comes to an end, the installed Murti's of Lord Ganpati are taken to a lake, river or a sea in great processions to be immersed in the waters. Thus Lord Ganesha is departed, only to be welcomed the next year with equal excitement. " Ganapati Bappa Morya, Phudchya Varshi Lavkaar Ya ! " 

Ananta Vrat : On this day people recite and listen to the stories and legends of God Vishnu who is Anant, the infinite and recite hymns from the Vedas.

But there is a second significance to the day, and that is what gives Anant Chaturdashi its name. On this day, which is the fourteenth day of the shukla paksha (the bright phase of the moon) in the Indian lunar month of Bhadrapada, people observe a vow in honor of Vishnu. The belief is that if one maintains this vow for 14 years, it will bring immense wealth and spiritual benefit.

Anant Chaturdashi
The 14 year vrat in honor of Vishnu

The legend connected with the festival is didactic, rather than explanatory, in nature. One day, a Brahmin, Kaundinya, and his wife, Sushila, were on their way home. They stopped by a river because Kaundinya wanted to take a bath.

While he was away, Sushila observed some women praying. When she enquired, they told her that they were observing the Anant Vrata. They told her that if they tied a consecrated string around their wrists and maintained the vrata for 14 years, they would get great material wealth.

Sushila too started observing the Anant Vrata, and soon, she and Kaundinya became wealthy. When Kaundinya noticed the string, he asked Sushila about it. She told him the story. But wealth had made Kaundinya haughty, and dismissing it as mere superstition, he broke the string and threw it away.

From then on, Kaundinya and Sushila started losing their wealth, and soon had nothing. Kaundinya was penitent, and went in search of Anant to get his glory back. But nobody he asked on the way knew who or where Anant was.

In the end, a desperate Kaundinya prepared to commit suicide. At that moment, an old man approached and took Kaundinya to a cave. Once inside the dark cave, the old man turned into Vishnu, and told Kaundinya that he would regain his lost happiness and wealth if he observed the Anant Vrata for 14 years.

How to celebrate?

On Anant Chaturdashi, the image of a hooded cobra is fashioned out of darbha (grass), and is worshipped with flowers and incense as Anant, the divine snake on whom Lord Vishnu lies. Special dishes - Gharga and Anarse are made and  offered to the darbha snake. A string, coated with red kumkum, is placed before the idol or picture of Vishnu. Then, the consecrated string, called anant, is tied to the wrist. Men tie it on their right hands, and women, on their left.

The number 14 is considered sacred for this vow. On this fourteenth day of the moon, 14 floral decorations are made. Similarly, 14 artis and food items are offered to the deity. The vrata is observed for 14 years, and ends on the fifteenth Anant Chaturdashi day.

Sarvajanik Ganapati Utsav Celebrations 

Ganapati Utsav is celebrated all across the country and is one of the the biggest festival's in the state of Maharashtra. 

Though the Ganesh Chaturthi festival had largely been a private one, it was 1894, when the Maratha politician - Bal Gangadharva Tilak - also known as "Lokamanya Tilak" introduced a new way of celebrating the Ganapati festival as - collective community worship. He called it 'Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav' or Public Ganesh festival. 

One of Tilak's strongest movements to evoke nationalism through religious passions was the organization of Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra, which not only inspired feelings of Hindu unity in Maharashtra, but gave freedom fighters an opportunity to meet, when the British government made it illegal to hold any political gatherings, writings and slogans. Tilak also sought to have all the immersions take place on the tenth and final day. Since then this festival just like the many other Indian festivals that are celebrated with pomp and show, is an extraordinary testimony to the public place of religion in Indian life.

This form of community celebration became a norm. And today many communities gather subscriptions from a group like a neighborhood puja committee or on behalf of a residential area, market, or organization for the purchase of large idols of Ganesh. These large Ganesh idols are then placed on pavilions or "mandaps" and amidst much fanfare and revelry, the priest installs the idol of Ganesh by chanting shlokas or sanskrit holy verses. These huge idols of Ganesh are then made the object of collective worship for the rest of the festival days. 

For several months prior to the celebration, sculptors in Mumbai and the nearby cities and villages of Pune and Pen work overtime to create hundreds of thousands of clay idols of Ganesh. They paint and decorate them to make them look surreal. Idols in every size, pose and color are brought into Mumbai to be sold to homes, stores and businesses. Some devotees select and buy their Ganesh on the same day and others place their orders months in advance. The larger idols are often very large, standing several feet high. 


Shri Siddhi Vinayak Temple - Mumbai

The temple is on the corner of Kakasaheb Gadgil Marg and S.K.Bole Marg in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. 

The idol of Shree Siddhivinayak was carved out of a single black stone and is 2’6” (750mm) high and 2’ (600mm) wide with the trunk on the right. This is rather unusual appearance of Lord Ganesh. The upper right and left hands hold a lotus and an axe respectively while the lower right and left hands hold a rosary (japmala) and bowl full of “Modak” respectively. As it resembles the sacred thread, a snake appears on the left shoulder to right side belly. On the forehead of deity is an eye, which almost looks like the third eye of Lord Shiva. On both sides of the Lord Ganesh idol, are placed one idol each of Riddhi and Siddhi goddesses who appear as if they are peeping out of the Ganesh idol from behind. Because of these two deities along with Lord Ganesh, this temple is known as the Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple. These goddesses signify sanctity, success, wealth and prosperity.

Pictures and information are courtesy of the Siddhi Vinayak temple website. 

Official Site of Shree SiddhiVinayak Temple, Mumbai

Celebrations at homes                   Top

How to celebrate Ganesh Chturthi at home ?

At individual homes, after the Ganesh idol is brought, it is
ceremoniously installed by the head of the house hold in the "home mandir" or "
Pooja Ghaar" - temple. The home temple is cleaned, and "rangoli" decorations are done. The various rituals that take place are the 

  • ceremonious decoration of the idol with ornaments, flowers and lights, 

  • chanting of the sanskrit verses, and 

  • the offering of a special prasad. A twenty-one "Modak" prasad - a type of Indian sweet -is offered during this pooja.

    "Puja" and "aarti" are performed every morning and evening using red flowers like the red hibiscus, or any other red flower, rice, supari - betel nuts and leaves, haldi- turmeric, kumkum - red powder, milk, incense and oil lamps. Most people rush home from work to take part in the festivities and gather around the brightly-lit Ganesha. Everyone joins in to sing the "bhajans" - hymns.

Here is the aarti for Ganesh Chathurti sung by no other than Lata Mangeshkar. '



 Everyone present is given a few flowers and rice in their hands. These are later showered on Ganesh. The most common offerings of prasad to Ganapati are modaks, pedhas and coconut. The prasad can be bought from the local sweet stores all over town. The blessed offerings or prasad are then distributed amongst the devotees.

According to individual family traditions, Ganapati celebrations are held for one and a half, five, seven, or ten days. The idols are immersed into the river, sea or wells on the second, fifth, seventh or eleventh day of the festival on - Ananta Chaturdashi very ceremoniously. From small family processions to huge community processions on foot accompany the idol of Ganesh that has been worshipped, to the immersion site chanting loudly "GANPATI BAPPA MORYA, PHOOD CHYA VARSHI LUVKAAR YAA" or "Oh My Lord Ganpati, come again soon next year". Along with the big immersion ceremony, there are music performances on beautifully decorated stages called pandaals, cart races and wrestling matches. It is also forbidden to look at the moon on that day as the moon had laughed at Ganesha when he fell from his vehicle, the rat.

Foods made during this Festival         Top


  1. Ukadee Che Modak

  2. Kheer

  3. Besan Ke Ladoo

  4. Anarse

Lord Ganesh's favorite sweet is the Ukadee che modak. These are like sweet steamed rice (flour) dumplings. It is customary to make these during this festival. They are very delicate and tender. The shape above is called a modak shape. Many pedhas too are shaped like this and sold at this time in many Indian sweet stores. It does take practice to make this delicate dessert. The inside is filled with a coconut and jaggery filling. 

Some of the other Indian sweets made at this festival are Rice Kheer, Besan ke ladoo and Boondi ladoo.      

Fasting during this festival is not very common practice. The few who do keep a fast are allowed to eat various sweets like "til ladoo" - a round Indian sweet made of sesame seeds and jagery, "rewari" or sweets made of jaggery and nuts, along with tea and coffee.              Top


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