Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most celebrated events in the Hindu calendar. It is the birth of Lord Ganesha and the entire country celebrates it with dedication. Mumbai acquires a new look during this 10-day festival and the entire city is soaked in worshipping the Elephant-headed God with total surrender and love. He is considered to be the Remover of Obstacles and the God of new beginning.
It is difficult to access an exact date of the beginning of this festival but experts and believe that the festival has its origin since Satavahana, Rashtrakuta, and Chalukyas dynasties. As per historical records, the great Maratha leader Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja started the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi and in this way, the festival became very popular in Maharashtra.
Ganesh Visarjan is an important part of the ritual and the immersion of the idol in the water takes place on the last day of the festival. It is believed that Lord Ganesha returns to Mount Kailash to be with his parents Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, the celebration of the festival also denotes the cycle of birth, life, and death. People believe that the Lord will take away all their worries and obstacles in life and when the idol is taken out for visarjan, they believe that their obstacles will also be out of their homes and get destroyed along with the immersion of the idol in water.
Every year, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great fervour and excitement. It is believed that Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles showers all his blessings on his devotees and takes way the troubles and struggles from their life. The devotion exhibited by the devotees is immense and Mumbai shows it all during the 10-day festival.
People love to chant the different names given to the Lord. They call Him Bappa, Siddhivinayak, Deva, Lambodara, Vighnaharta, Gajanan, and much more. It is the love and devotion of the devotees which they pour out in many forms and offers offerings to the Lord in the diverse Ganesha temples located across the country. It is considered highly auspicious to begin any new venture or phase in life by remembering His name and seeking His blessings. In India, the festival is mostly celebrated across the country but states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, and Telangana exhibit an extreme devotional quotient.
There are four main rituals which should be performed during the 10-day festival. They are called Pranapratistha, Shhodashopachara, Uttarpuja, and Ganesh Visarjan. The excitement for the festivals starts weeks before and artisans gear-up to make clay idols of the Lord. Creativity is at its best during the season and artisans display their craftsmanship and creativity in adorning the idol.
Eco-friendly materials are used for the designing of the clay idols. The idols are installed in homes and pandals. The decoration is breath-taking and the idol is worshipped with garlands, flowers, and Dhoop ghass. Pranapratishtha is a ritual which is performed by the priest when he invokes life in the diety and the idol is installed. Modak is offered to the Lord as this is the favourite sweet of Ganesha.
Prayer is offered in 16 different ways and it is called Shhodashopachara. People celebrate with music and dance and playing with colours. Fireworks also become a part of the festivities.
Uttarapuja is celebrated to bid farewell to the Lord with great respect. This is followed by Ganpati Visarjan, which is the immersion of the idol in the water with an urge to the Lord to quickly return again the following year. People get emotional during Ganesh Visarjan.