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Ganesh Chaturthi: India Gears up For Grand Festival, Origin, History

As India gears up for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival on Thursday, September 17, 2015 followed by weekend, it is likely to be less traffic in metros and a holiday mood in many offices this year.

Thursday begins the 10-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival in India with Hindus bringing Lord Ganesh idols home and making arrangements for the festival, while every street corners gets huge idol for the roadside pandals, in a tradition that dates back to century-old prcatice enunciated by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Bombay as part of bringing unity among Indians against the British Raj.

Even after Independence, India continued the celebrations in a big way that every street usually makes way for the erection of a pandal and youth take active participation in it collecting ‘chanda’ for the festivities which last a week to ten days.

Ganesh Chaturthi is more prominent in Maharashtra, Gujarat and South India, with chants of “Ganapati bappa moriya” airing in all corners. Hyderabad is known for its biggest idol, ususally placed in Panjagutta.


2015 Top Innovative Ganesha - Selfie-Taking Ganesha - has been making rounds. (Courtesy: Avinash Mudaliar/Facebook)

2015 Top Innovative Ganesha – Selfie-Taking Ganesha – has been making rounds. (Courtesy: Avinash Mudaliar/Facebook)

Known as “Vinayaka Chavithi” in the south, the festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god and son of Goddess Parvati. The legend goes that one day Parvati was at home on Mount Kailash, preparing for a bath. She did not want to be disturbed but there was no one to guard the door, hence she took the turmeric paste used for bathing and created a boy and infused life into him. Declaring him as her son, Parvati asked him to guard the door and not to allow anyone to enter the house while she was taking bath. But her husband Shiva returned home exactly during that time but was stopped by boy Ganesha.

After a prolonged argument, infuriated Shiva used his Trishul to cut off the boy’s head and entered the house. Then Parvati, who came to know about this, became so enraged that she decided to destroy the entire universe. Lord Brahma, the creator, tried to reason with Parvati but she insisted that Shiva should bring back the boy to life and he should be worshipped like other gods.

Rententing to her demand, Shiva agreed to bring the boy back to life but he needed a new head to bring the boy back to life. He asked Brahma and the other gods to bring back the head of the first creature he crosses with its head facing North. They brought back the head of a mighty elephant, which Shiva placed on the boy’s body and brought him back to life. The boy was named Ganesh. Shiva declared him as own son and gave him the status of gods. Hence the festival on Ganesha’s birthday every year.

Seeing Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi Barred?

Back to 2015 Ganesh Chaturthi, while Hyderabad will have one of the tallest Ganesha statues, AP capital-in-the making Viajayawada will rival with the tallest statue this year.

Otherwise, continuing the tradition of innovative Ganesh idols, people are making out different ongoing trendy Ganeshas this year and Baahubali-fame is one among them with Ganesh lifting Shivling and walking the way Prabhas was shown in the film. Every year, depending on the major event, Ganesh was made including the world Cup and Anna Hazare movement.

Besides Baahubali, this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi idols portray selfie-taking Ganesha, Baahubali Ganesha, micro-Ganesha carved out on the tip a pencil, among others.

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