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Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: How Maharashtra Welcomes Ganpati Bappa with Grandeur and Glory

In Maharashtra, Ganeshotsav also incorporates other festivals, namely Hartalika and the Gauri festival, the former is observed with a fast by women on the day before Ganesh Chaturthi whilst the latter by the installation of statues of Gauris.

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Updated:September 2, 2019, 7:30 AM IST
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Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: How Maharashtra Welcomes Ganpati Bappa with Grandeur and Glory
(Image: PTI)
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Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi that falls in the months of August or September according to the Gregorian calendar celebrates the birth of Ganesha. The festival is marked by the installation of Ganesh deities in marquees across the country as well observing of the rituals in homes. The 10-day festival is celebrated throughout India in places like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. However, it is in Mumbai that the festival is celebrated in the grandest manner, with around 1, 50,000 immersed annually.

While it is unclear how the celebrations started, historically it became a major social and public event after the sponsorship of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj following the Mughal-Maratha wars. The festival gained further prominence when it was publicly supported in the 19th century by the Indian freedom fighter, Lokmanya Tilak, who championed it as a means to evade colonial British government ban in Hindu gatherings through its anti-public assembly legislation in 1892.

Notably, it has been celebrated in Pune since the era of Shivaji but lost state patronage following the emergence of British Raj, until it was revived by Lokmanya Tilak.

The association between Maharashtra and Ganehsotsav finds further fervour in how Tilak passionately committed himself to god Ganesha after the 1893 Hindu-Muslim communal violence in Bombay and the Deccan riots, when he felt that the British India government under Lord Harris had repeatedly taken sides and not treated Hindus fairly. The freedom fighter, thus, helped expand Ganesh Chaturthi into a mass community event and as a hidden means for political activism, intellectual discourse, poetry recitals, plays, concerts, and folk dances to unite the people.

In Maharashtra, preparation for the festivities commence months in advance, with the making of the idol beginning with the "Padya pooja" or worshipping the feet of Lord Ganesha. The idols are then brought to the marquees on the day or a day before the festival begins.

In Maharashtra, Ganeshotsav also incorporates other festivals, namely Hartalika and the Gauri festival, the former is observed with a fast by women on the day before Ganesh Chaturthi whilst the latter by the installation of statues of Gauris.

At homes in Maharashtra, the festival preparations include purchasing festive items a few days in advance and booking the idol almost a month in advance or buying it from local artisans a few days prior to the festivities.

The idol itself is brought home either a day before or on the day of the Ganesh Chaturthi itself. Families decorate a small, clean portion of the house before installing the idol. The ceremonial installation of the idol is done on the day of the festival itself.

The rituals of Ganeshotsav involve chanting hymns in praise of the elephant-headed god and for 10 days, Lord Ganesha is worshipped.

Notably, within the 11 days, one can keep Ganesha for 1 ½ day, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, 10 or 11 days. On the 11th day, the idol is taken out and a procession and immersed in the river or sea.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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