10 September 2016

Pictorial Report Ganesh Chaturthi 2016: Immersion

Many devotees use their own or local tanks and ponds for immersioin of their family statues of Lord Ganesha. But for the bigger, public statues, the major tank for immersion is at Tamari Nagar, which is located a short distance from the Big Temple. 

Previously the occasion was very thrilling with never-ending columns of gigantic Ganeshas coming down main thoroughfares in carts and carriers on their way to Tamari Nagar tank. However nowadays a new system has been introduced and groups with large Ganeshas are given a specific time to bring their statue to the Tank for immersion. 

The immersion occurred on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. 

Boys bringing their Ganesha for immersion

Larger Ganeshas need a little extra help!

Up he goes
A statue of Lord Ganesha in Tamari Nagar Tank

Tamari Nagar tank with Arunachala in background

Statues beginning to back up for immersion

Lord Ganesha ready for immersion

In He goes

Lord Anjaneya with Lord Ganesha aloft coming for immersion

Constant stream of statues going into the Tank

Immersion complete for 2016, getting ready for 2017


Important Information

Don't want to be a killjoy at such a happy celebratory time, but remember that immersion of toxic statues into our community water bodies (the most popular dunking ground in Tiruvannamalai during this season is the Tamari Nagar tank in the Housing Board) affects us all and will impair our health and our children's health. 

Think before purchasing eco-unfriendly statues in future that are destined to be immersed in a water body. To find out more about this, go to an earlier post at this link here

Pictorial Report Ganesh Chaturthi 2016: Making Clay Idols

As well as locally produced statues of Lord Ganesha made from synthetic materials, traditional clay statues of the Lord are made throughout  Tiruvannamalai. 

Devotees bring their own bench from home to carry their personaly created Lord back to their home and Puja Room. 

Craftsman creating clay Ganesha statue

Lord beginning to take form

Completed, traditionally created Lord Ganesha ready to go to Devotee's home

Craftsmen who create handmade statues of the Lord, are becoming scare and being increasing replaced by those who create God statues with moulds.

Large mounds of clay on the streets where the moulders will be working flatout for several days creating a multitude of statues for the homes of devotees

The Mould to be used creating Statues

Devotees will purchase a Lord Ganesha made in this way and take it home to their Puja Room

Preparing the Mould

Pressing the Clay into golden laid moulds

Finishing touches

Beautiful golden covered clay Ganesha

Pictorial Report Ganesh Chaturthi 2016: Darshan and Puja

Whether home-made or purchased in one of many mandapams throughout Tiruvannamalai, statues for public display are moved to specially created pandals where they are adorned and graced later in the day with a puja. 

Lord Ganesha in specially created Pandal ready for adornment

Huge number of Pandals dedicated to Lord Ganesha throughout town during the 2016 Festival

Statues of Lord Ganesha in different colours and representing various legends

Lord Anjaneya holding Lord Ganesha aloft

Some additionally decorate Lord Ganesha statues with money

Some statues are immensely elaborate

Statues beautifully on display after Lord Ganesha Puja

Statue of revered Lord Ganesha in compound of private home

Lord Ganesha from Arunachaleswarar Temple on procession around town

Pictorial Report Ganesh Chaturthi 2016: Fruits and Flowers

Crowds of shoppers purchasing the necessities for worshipping Lord Ganesha

Beautiful umbrellas to shade the individual statues of Lord Ganesha

Happy times during a happy Festival

Fruit and Vegetable Market off Tiruvoodal Street

Flower and garland shops on Car Street

The below is a photograph of a unique flower used during this festival i.e.,  Calotropis Gigantea, which grows abundantly as a weed throughout this area. This purple flower also known as Milkweed (Arka or Erukku), is plucked from the bush and used to create garlands for Lord Ganesha. 

It is believed that one who worships Ganesha with this flower will be free of all ailments and disease. 

Making garlands for Lord Ganesha statues

Another particular plant used in worship to Lord Ganesha at this special time is Durva Grass. It is believed that one earns the grace of Lord Ganesha by offering this sacred grass during this Festival. 

The fruit is the Wood Apple (left) which is especially loved by Lord Ganesha and used in offerings to Him. 

Wood Apple left, Durva Grass right, Milkweek garlands centre

Pictorial Report Ganesh Chaturthi 2016: Statues for Sale

In the previous post about Ganesha Chaturthi 2016, I posted an explanation of this Festival, legends on Lord Ganesha and also photographs of some Ganesha Statues made for this year's Festival at Tiruvannamalai. 

The next several postings are all connected with certain aspects of the Tiruvannamalai preparation and festivities in celebration of this most popular Festival. 

Major display and sales area for statues a Mandapam on Pey Gopuram Street

Statues at Mandapam, Pey Gopuram Street

Statues all waiting for purchase by both public and private groups
Covering the face of Lord Ganesha

Once a statue is selected, the purchaser generally covers the statue's face while transporting it to its specially created local pandal. 

The face of the statue remains covered until puja on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi. In 2016, that day was Monday, September 5.

Taking statue to nearby carrier

Loading the Statue on vehicle, Pey Gopuram Street

The large statues are generally used by local groups for public display. Smaller statues all made from a variety of different materials on sale throughout the town 

Statues of Lord Ganesha on sale throughout Tiruvannamalai

Most of the small statues will be used in homes and for private use

4 September 2016

Ganesha Chaturthi: Monday, September 5, 2016

Ganesh Chaturthi is a day on which Lord Ganesha makes his presence known on earth for all his devotees; the day is also termed as, Vinayaka Chaturthi, (it is not the birthday of Lord Ganesha!). 

Ganesha or Ganapati is an extremely popular God. One of his many names is Vigneswara, the destroyer of obstacles. He is often worshipped for success in undertakings and for the gift of greater intelligence. This is a very auspicious day celebrated to pray to Him so that every new activity started is successfully completed without obstacles. Ganesha is the God of education, knowledge, wisdom, literature and the fine arts. 

The date of Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the waxing moon period (Shukla Chaturthi) in the month of Bhadrapada (i.e. August or September). This year the date of Ganesha Chaturthi is Monday, September 5, 2016. The festival is usually celebrated for 11 days, with Ananta Chaturdasi taking place on the last day. 

Ananta Chaturdasi 

Ananta Chaturdasi is believed to be the day when Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Anantapadmanabha, the Ananta Sayana form of Lord Vishnu in which he is reclining on Ananta. 

Reclining form of Lord Vishnu

This Ganesha festival is celebrated at home, work and in public. At all these celebrations images are installed and worshipped. At the end of the Festival, the idols are taken in ceremony and then immersed in a well, pond, lake or the sea. 


Legends of Lord Ganesha 

One version of a legend relating to the source of Ganesha’s elephant head goes that at the behest of the Gods, who needed a deity able to remove obstacles from their path of action, Shiva himself was born from Parvati's womb, under the form of Gajanana. 

According to the Linga-Purana, Ganesha was created by Shiva in order to triumph over the enemies of Gods and the image of a child was born from Shiva’s mind which had the head of an elephant. Looking at the child, Parvati took him on her lap and made the vow that any undertaking, would not be successful unless Ganesha be first worshipped. Shiva declared the child to be Ganapati, Lord of the Ganas (celestial hosts). 

In the Varaha-Purana, Ganesha is depicted as a young man originating from the glittering forehead of Shiva absorbed in deep meditation. Parvati was disappointed that the boy was born without her intervention. So, she wished that his head become the head of an elephant. When she saw the elephant-headed child, she loved him immediately, and declared that any human or divine undertaking, should not be successful unless Ganesha be worshipped first. 

Lord Ganesha

Another Puranic legend tells that Parvati longed for a child and informed Shiva about her desire. He requested she observe a one-year penance. Thus, the Sage Sanatkumara submitted Parvati to various tests in order to ascertain the force of Her will. Eventually a glorious child was born and the Gods and nine Planets (Navagrahas) went to Mount Kailash to admire him. One of the Planets, Shani (Saturn) would not raise his eyes to look at the child. Parvati requested him to view and admire the baby. When Shani raised his eyes and looked at the child, the baby's head instantaneously separated from the body. 

In response Vishnu left on his vahana Garuda to search for a new head to replace the lost one. On the banks of the Pushpabhadra River, he met a herd of sleeping elephants. Choosing a resting animal, whose head was turned northwards, he cut if off and brought it back. According to a version of this legend, this elephant was actually a Gandharva who desired to obtain liberation from his terrestrial life. 

On Vishnu’s return, the elephant head was attached to the child and Vishnu gave him the following eight names: Vighneshvara, Ganesha, Heramba, Gajanana, Lambodara, Ekadanta, Soorpakarna and Vinayaka. 


Tiruvannamala begins its Preparations 

Many Ganeshas created for the Festival

This Ganesha looks very jaunty!

A whole army of Ganeshas with lots of help to give!

Umbrellas for Ganesha idols for home and office

Families purchasing their idol for home worship

Lord Ganesha's favourite Wood Apple for sale

Fruit Sellers on Car Street near Arunachaleswarar Temple