Ganesh Chaturthi – the grand celebration

Two to three months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, a huge life-like model of Lord Ganesha is made, the size of which might vary from three-fourth of an inch to over 25 feet.
The idol is placed on elevated platforms in homes or intricately decorated outdoor pandals or tents on the day of the festival, for people to view and pay their homage. The ritual of pranapratishhtha is carried out by a priest who is usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl. He also invokes life into the idol of Lord Ganesha amidst the chanting of mantras. The shhodashopachara or sixteen ways of paying homage follows just after this where coconut (nariyal), jaggery (gur), twenty one modaks, twenty one durva blades and red flowers are offered to the Lord. The number 21 signifies the five organs of perception, five organs of action, five vital airs (pranas), five elements and the mind. Lord Ganesha’s idol is also smeared with red sandal paste or the rakta chandan. All throughout the ceremony, chantings of Vedic hymns from Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad and Ganesha Stotra from the Narada Purana are done.
After ten days, that is on the eleventh day, the Ganesha idol is taken through the streets in magnificent processions alongwith singing, chanting and sancing to be immersed in a river or sea that symbolizes the ritual of see-off of the God in his journey towards his abode in Mount Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of all man. A final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made and the idol is finally immersed in the waters.
Enjoy the majestic celebrations with delectable

Chocolate and Nut Karanji
Motichoor Laddoo 
Burfi Rawa Sheera

Ganesh Chaturthi – religious festivities

Tinkling of bells and chants of ‘Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti, Darshan majhe man kamana purati, Jaidev Jaidev’ heralds the arrival of the elephant god, Lord Ganesh, into the homes of his devotees.

The melodic chanting of ‘Om Ganeshaya Namaha’ marks the beginning of any ritual in the Hindu religion. Lord Ganesh is the epitome of good luck who removes all the obstacles lying in the path of his devotees. He brings prosperity to his worshippers and keeps natural calamities at bay.  He is the lord of all that is auspicious and successful and His blessings are invoked before starting anything new.  He and the little mouse that is always with Him as His vahan (vehicle) are ideal examples of a balanced life, of how two opposites can co-exist peacefully and harmoniously.

Ganesh festival lasts for nearly a month in the city of Pune with a lot of cultural programmes organised by eminent artists, musicians and dancers. It is a multi-cultural platform for artistes to offer their art and invoke blessings at the feet of the Lord. As this is done on a fairly large scale, a number of Ganesh associations have been formed not only in Pune but throughout the state of Maharashtra.

In Hyderabad under the Nizam’s rule, many Maharashtrians held high administrative positions. The Ganesh festival celebrated by them as a social ceremony thus sprouted roots in Andhra Pradesh. And today, this tradition continues. The unique feature of this festival in Hyderabad is that the artists making the idols of Ganesh compete with each other to make magnificent, tall and elegant idols. If in Khairatabad (in Hyderabad city) at the time of Ganesh festival, look out for the largest Ganesh idol. It’s difficult to miss anyway as sometimes it scales more than 30 feet in height!

Savour these dishes this year and make it an absolute treat on Ganesh Chaturthi.

Rice Bhakri

Jain Osaman 

Malai Peda

 

 

 

Ganesh Chaturthi – eco friendly way

Everybody eagerly waits for decorating the Ganesha idol and celebrating the festival every year with great enthusiasm. But, what we all mostly forget every time, amidst the festivities is that there is a serious impact of this festival on the environment due to immersion of idols and other related things.
Chemically made idols cause water pollution, killing marine flora and fauna, which indirectly reaches to us, through various mediums. The use of thermocol and plastic in pandals as well as for garlands and other decorations increases non biodegradable waste.
So, here’s some tips and tricks to celebrate this holy time of the year without harming the environment but with the same zeal and excitement:
  • Say no to idols that are made of chemicals, plaster of paris, clay, plastic, thermocol, etc. Instead, go the green way with natural options like idols made of biodegradable materials, unbaked clay, coconut, paint with natural colours, etc.
  • See that the size and number of the Ganesha idols are limited in your community. Limiting the size to 5 feet is the best that you can do, as bigger idols consume more making materials, are difficult to immerse in water and also cause traffic congestion and difficulty in transportation.
  • Save energy and electricity by replacing traditional bulbs with CFL’s and other energy-efficient lights. Also, make sure that the decorative lights are switched on only when required, for instance, at the time of aarti, puja or in the evenings.
  • Use natural and biodegradable colours, such as turmeric powder, henna (mehendi), rice powder, gulal, etc. for putting up rangolis. These are eco friendly as well as unique. Also, making natural decoration from cloth, wood, paper, etc. is advisable than using non-biodegradable materials like thermocol.
  • Use cloth bags, paper bags and banana leaves instead of plastic bags and plastic sheets for offerings, prasad, fruits, etc. These are not only comfortable to carry and biodegradable but can also be reused later.
  • Set a proper time in which speakers and microphones should be played, that is, between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and make sure that people abide by the rules. This will help tackle the issues of noise pollution. Also, avoid playing loud music on loudspeakers and bursting of firecrackers.
  • Limiting the number of public pandals is a great thing to do as it will not only bring the entire community under one place to celebrate the festival, but also avoid the unnecessary noise, land and water pollution that arises due to celebrating the same festival at different places.
  • A compost pit can be made for the organic material like offerings of flowers and garlands and other such materials. The compost material acts as a great fertilizer that can be used in your gardens. Dried flowers can be used to make natural colours or decorative paper for gifts.

As you learn how to go about the ‘Green Ganesha’, satisfy your palates with some scrumptious dishes like

Patrado
Rishi Panchami Bhaji
Varan Bhaat