Ganesh Chaturthi festival is just around the corner and will be celebrated on 22nd of August. While a lot of speculations are on regarding the celebration of the festival this year due to coronavirus pandemic issues prevailing in the country, Indian railway was also planning to run special trains for travelers during this season. RailRecipe had updated you over this development in one of the posts earlier. Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is a Hindu festival that marks the birthday of the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha. It is a 10-day-long festival that commences on this day with the installation of an idol of Lord Ganesha and end with its immersion in a water body. The festival starts on the 4th day and concludes on the 14th day of the Hindu month of Bhadra. In 2020, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations will commence on 22nd August and end with Ganpati Visarjan on 01st September.
Historical Aspect of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in India
Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, one of the Hindu deities, the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is said to be celebrated since the time of Shivaji… although it is not known when and how Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated. The event was largely popularized by the Peshwas in the 18th century BUT it lost its patronage slowly after 1818. Later in the late 19th century, Lokmanya Tilak encouraged the annual domestic festival and saw to it that it grows into a large and well-organized national festival motivating both the Brahmins and non-Brahmins. At a time when the British government banned social and political assemblies in India, the celebration provoked patriotic sentiments and reunited people from all castes and communities against the colonial rule.
Mythological Beliefs Related to Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
As per tradition, one should not look at the moon during some specific times on Ganesh Chaturthi as it is believed if a person looks at the moon, he’ll be cursed and will be accused of theft. The belief originated from the incident from Lord Krishna, who was falsely accused of stealing a valuable jewel. It was Sage Narada who suggested that Lord Krishna must’ve seen the moon on Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi (the occasion that Ganesh Chaturthi falls on) and was cursed because of it. Therefore it is believed, anyone who saw the moon during a specific time in Ganesh Chaturthi would be cursed in a similar way.
How is Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated in India?
The grand festival celebration starts with the installation of Ganesh idols in colorfully decorated pandals, followed by ‘Prana Pratishhtha’ where the chanting of mantras invokes the presence of Ganesha. Thereafter, ‘Shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute)’ is followed.
At the time of the ritual coconut, jaggery, modaks, durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered and throughout the ceremonial occasion, several Vedic hymns echo down the mind of devotees bringing in divine peace. If you are in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh, you will notice several music and dance performances, especially the Bharatnatyam dance. On the last day, the immersion of the statues in the ocean, or other bodies of water, and their subsequent destruction serves as a reminder of this belief. In Mumbai… the occasion is celebrated with great fervor bringing in celebrities, business tycoons, and common man under a divine allegiance. The immersion of the idol takes place on the day of Anant Chaturdashi. The word Anant means infinite or eternal energy or immortality, whereas Chaturdashi means 14th. We all must have seen this being filmed on the theater screens in a magnificent manner.
Temples to Visit during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
Some of the famous lord Ganesha abodes include the following:
- Ashtavinayak Temple in Pune, Maharashtra
- Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh
- Karpaka Vinayakar Temple in Thiruppatthur, Tamil Nadu
- Chintaman Ganesh Temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Famous Prasadam for Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
The rituals see a lot of offerings across Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The dearest ones among all are the “Modak” offerings which is believed to be the essence of this festival. One can order modak sweets while ordering food in train from RailRecipe. Apart from Modak, people also offer Coconut, Jaggery etc.
In case you are planning to travel to these famous lord Ganesha temples via train, we would urge you to stay safe and follow the updated guidelines for train travel.
RailRecipe Wishes You “Happy Ganesh Chaturthi”.