India’s celebration mode is on. With a tinge of religious festivals, the energy of this country is now going to be really high in the upcoming months. Right now India has ceremoniously welcomed the Elephant God Ganesha. Ganesha who is the destroyer of evil, God of success and beginnings and a lot of other names is the most revered lord of the country. India being a diverse country, the festival is celebrated in different ways traditionally in different states. Started by Lokmanya Tilak for community gathering, this festival is now celebrated every year with a show of pomp and joyousness. Drum beats, devotional songs, life-size idols of Lord Ganesh, and lip-smacking delicacies are just a few reasons why you should be in India during Ganesh Chaturthi. The festival goes on for 11 days so you have time to explore at leisure.
Here’s why India is the place to be during festivals
The whole country is in a festive fervour where people dress up and welcome Lord Ganesha into their homes. The communities erect small pandals on the streets and these are open for the public. It’s one of the most interesting aspect of this festival which brings people of all castes and creeds together.
Though the celebrations have taken a modern approach with speakers blaring songs, one thing which cannot beat the old school charm is Dhol Tasha. Dhol Tasha are groups which specialise in the art of playing the drums and traditional instruments. During the processions when the Lord is taken to homes or pandals, these drum beats set the tone, mood and rhythm of the festival. It's a sight to hear and behold.
Throngs of devotees
The atmosphere is crazy with thousands of devotees taking in the city’s vibe and thronging the pandals. This is our personal favourite thing to do during Ganesh Chaturthi Festivals. Each of these pandals has a theme attached for the decorations each year. There are themes related to current issues, environmental problems, movies and a lot of other things. The pandals are an extravaganza you have to experience. The longs queues are worth the wait when you see the humongous decorations inside. There are cultural programs too.
Each festival brings in a treasure trove of delicious food items which are prepared specifically for the festivities. Ganesh Chaturthi brings the joy of sweet dishes like the Modak, Shira and what not. Modak is one dish which is specially offered to Ganpati in the state of Maharashtra. In South of India, there is a special Coconut Rice made for the deity along with other dishes like the Rava Pongal, Payasam etc. These homemade dishes satiate your taste buds and transport you to another world. A foodie’s delight innit?
Here are the best places to see in India during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festivals
Mumbai is a potpourri of different cultures coming together and celebrating different festivals. Same is the case with Ganesh Chaturthi. During Ganpati festival, Mumbai is a melting pot of activity. There are many famous pandals which see a lot of visitors. Lalbaugcha Raja, Mumbaicha Raja, Andhericha Raja etc are just a few names from the long list of Pandals in Mumbai.
Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai is a sought after place for devotees on the last day of the festival. All the huge idols of Ganpati have this beach as their final destination before the ritual of immersion. SO even if you miss going to the pandals and just be at this beach on the last day, you will get a chance to look at all the different idols from the city at one place.
If Mumbai is an amalgamation of different cultures, then Pune is a hot spot of traditional Maharashtrian Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Here is where you see the authenticity of this festival in this part of the country. Among the Pandals, one particular display which will take your breath away is the famous Shreemanth Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati. The idol is unlike the large idols of Mumbai. This Ganpati is famous for its elegance and also the sheer amount of diamonds and gold which goes into Kilos.
Being the IT hub of India it is no surprise that Bengaluru has pandals with names like Techie Ganesha and Power Ganesha Temple. Yet there is one place which is the meeting point for all the people in Bengaluru. It is Bengaluru Ganesha Utsav, Basavanagudi. Basavanagudi sees a huge gathering of devotees during the festival and this is one place you should not miss if you are in Bengaluru during Ganesh Chaturthi Festivals. There are live concerts and cultural programs here and the place is bustling with art and culture in tow.
If Mumbai has Lalbaugcha Raja then Hyderabad has Khairatabad Ganesh. This idol is 60 feet high and is a standing idol of the deity. There is one speciality of this idol. Every year the prasad that is prepared for the lord weighs more than 500 kgs. Even this year the laddu made as prasad weighs 580 kgs and is placed on the left hand of the deity. Ever seen a laddu that big?
Though Ganesh Chaturthi is not the state festival in North East India, it is celebrated with great gusto there too. In Guwahati, the believers head to the Ganesh Guri Ganesh Mandir where all the festivities take place. Experiencing this festival in North East India has a different zeal to it. Not any know how it is celebrated and how do people go about it. So if you want to see something different then head to Guwahati.
The above reason and places to see in India during Ganesh Chaturthi should be enough to make your bags right away and set out on a festive tour of this vibrant country. Do let us know which place you found the best to be during the festival.
Till then Ganpati Bappa Morya !!