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.
- 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.