Ganesh Chaturthi – Ganpati bappa Morya!
These words aren’t mere a chanting for our favorite lord, they symbolize the love and blessing of the lord towards its devotees. Lord ‘Ganesha’ or ‘Ganpati Bappa’, as fondly referred to in Maharashtra, brings together all religions, castes and regions.The festival was invented in 1857 by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a national freedom fighter as an occasion to unite everyone against the Britishers. He channelized the patriotic spirit among the masses and bridged the gap between ‘Brahmins’ and ‘Non-brahmins’ which commonly worshiped an the same lord. Like other Indian festivals, this gala event is also boisterous and full of joy and it is celebrated with the same enthusiasm. ’Morya (Morya Gosavi)’ was a devotee of ‘Ganesha’ and he was blessed by our lord to always associate his name with him. Hence till today, people hail ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’!
This festival starts on fourth day of Hindu calendar in the month of Bhadrapada i.e. August or September. The atmosphere fills with exuberance and people start preparation in advance from cleaning homes, finalizing the idols and preparing delicacies like ‘Modak’ and ‘Laddoos’ to welcome ‘Bappa’ at home. There are also Pandals in various societies where morning and evening prayers and energized chants are carried out each day. Everyone try to be the best host as ‘Ganpati’ is fond of food, hence variety of dishes are prepared which everyone enjoys.
There are lot of cultural events and competitions which lift up the spirit of the individuals and unite everyone. The most famous of them is ‘Dhol tasha’ which includes numerous teams playing music drums synchronously with full energy. It’s amazing to experience this and you tap your feet naturally to their music. The shops and market is full of expertly sculpted idols and decorated with illuminated lights,the air is filled with aromatic incense sticks and the streets are always busy. There are some themed ‘Pandals’ supported by local social groups called ‘Mitra Mandals’(friends societies) proposing a good message to the society.
The true experience of madness can be seen on the last day of the festival i.e. the ‘Anant Chaturdashi’. It is the most auspicious day and thousands of idols of the lord are brought from the homes and shops to bid farewell. A long procession is carried out which sometimes last full day and night. The noise of crackers and music blare in ears and sky fills with colors. Millions gather on streets to sing, dance and pay obeisance to the God of knowledge and wisdom. As the God immerse in the water body called ‘Visarjan’, emotions soars high as people folds hands for prayers for his blessings and chant ‘Pudhchya varshi lavkar ya’(Come early next year).
Leaving you with some of the beautiful experiences from Ganesh festival –