On the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight, 10 days after Ganesh Chaturthi, comes Anant Chaturdashi. It is also called Ganesh Visarjan and it is an important day not just for Hindus, but Jains as well.
There is a significant reason behind celebrating Anant Chaturdashi 10 days after Ganesh Chaturthi. Lord Ganesha is invited by their devotees to their homes on Ganesh Chaturthi. For 10 days, the Lord is worshipped with utmost piousness by the devotees. Thereby, after 10 days, on Anant Chaturdashi, his visit comes to an end. For his departure ceremony, he must be immersed in water, which in the Hindi is called Ganesh Visarjan.
It is also a day to worship God Anant. Those who believe take part in special prayers and then tie a holy thread on their wrist, taking an oath to the God Anant. In return, the god blesses them with prosperity and fortune.
Story Behind Ananth Chaturdashi
Once there was a girl named Sushila. Her father was a Brahmin named Sumant who remarried Karkash after Sushila's mother passed away. Karkash was not as nice Sushila and so when Sushila got married she decided to move away with her husband. Her husband was called Kaundinya and on their journey from her home they came upon a river. Kaundinya went for a bath and while he was bathing Sushila saw some women praying. She joined them and asked them about their worship. They explained that they were worshipping a god called "Anant", and when Sushila questioned them some more, they explained the significance on Anant’s vow. As she was starting a fresh life with her husband Sushila thought it best to pray with them and take the vow as Anant’s blessings would surely help her husband and her in their new life. The women taught her the rituals and she took the vow, tying the ceremonial thread on her left hand (As is traditional for women. Men tie it on their right).
It seemed that Anant had truly blessed them for Sushila and Kaundinya prospered in life. One day Kaundinya questioned her on the thread she wore and she told him of her vow and Anant’s blessing. He was not happy to hear she believed that and argued that all they had gained was due to his own hard work and intelligence. They both argued on this and took the Anant string from her hand and threw it in a fire.
After that several misfortune fell upon them and they were reduced to poverty. Finally, Kaundinya understood that their fortune was due to Anant and he underwent severe penance to find Anant and ask for forgiveness. When Anant revealed himself Kaundinya realised that Anant was just another name for God Vishnu, the Eternal one.