4 September 2008

Ganesha Chaturthi

This year, Ganesha Chaturthi commenced on September 3rd. The Festival is in celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is observed in the calendar month of Bhadrapada, starting on the Shukla Chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period) which comes sometime between 20th of August and 15th of September. This year the festival culminates on September 14th. An important part of the festival that everyone looks forward to, is the immersion of the idol i.e. Ganesha Visarjan into tanks, wells or ponds.

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated throughout India. Its observance was started by the Maratha ruler Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, to promote culture and nationalism and was later revived by the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak to defy the British who had banned public assemblies.

According to Hindu Mythology, once Lord Shiva was out hunting with his Ganas (attendants). Parvati, Shiva’s consort, was alone and desired to take a bath. But since there were no attendants to guard the entrance of the house, Parvati created a young Ganesha from mud and asked him not to let anyone inside. Soon, Lord Shiva returned and found an arrogant lad stopping him from entering his house. In a fit of fury, Lord Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head.

When Parvati came to know about the fate of Ganesha, she was overwhelmed with grief and her husband, Lord Shiva asked one of his Ganas to bring the head of the first animal he saw sleeping with its head towards north. The Gana returned with an elephant’s head and Shiva placed it on Ganesha’s body and restored his life.

I've noticed a couple of very large, fine statues of Ganesha that have been prepared and lavishly painted for the Festival and subsquent immersion, so hope to take and post some photos in upcoming days.


Anonymous said...

I think Ganesha must be everyones favorite - he is so adorable - what not to like?

Veronica said...

Beautiful photograph.

Divya said...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi! :-)