Friday, September 17, 2010

Festive colors of Ganesh Chaturthi (Mumbai Pandals)


O Lord Vinayaka! The remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!

Finding Ganesha… Not difficult at this time of the year…

    Life in the city is pulsating with the chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’. Yes, the annual 11 day festival of Ganesh Chaturthi - the birthday of the pot bellied and elephant headed, cute and gentle, Lord Ganesha – is underway and is being celebrated with much gusto and fervor throughout the country. And here, in Mumbai, it’s celebrated in style!!

    Imagine 12000 pandals (temporary canopied set-ups spread out in various localities), lacs of societies and innumerable homes, all elaborately decked up – brightly and colorfully decorated with festoons, flowers, ornaments – to welcome the city’s most endearing deity!
Preparations for all of this begin well in advance. Finally , amid sounds of drumbeats and nagaras and melodious chanting of hymns, the ‘God of knowledge and wisdom’ arrives… painting the entire town in the festive colors of joy, ecstasy and devotion. My blog gets sprayed too, hence this mini break from our Rajasthan trip.

The next 11 days revolve around Him… He’s the birthday boy after all!!

He blissfully sits in the various pandals and homes, amidst His devotees, ensuring that His grace and blessings reaches all. Big temples and shrines do not make the cut for Him. All He looks for is a pure heart, true devotion and some plenty of modaks, His favorite sweet!

    The two most famous pandals in Mumbai are Lalbaughcha Raja and the GSB mandal but they are far too crowded for my liking, hence I give them a miss and instead visit some pandals in and around my locality.

And this year, it’s special… because I am not alone…
What, with all of you joining me:) So let’s go!!


    His big ears symbolize that your woes will never go unheard and true to one of his names Vignaharta - ‘Remover of all obstacles’, He removes them too. 
Before stepping in, in these pandals, I mentally make a list of my troubles and complaints for Him. But when I actually ‘meet’ Him, I tend to forget all about them and instead find myself completely immersed in the beauty...

28 comments:

  1. Unusual for me I know but I'm at a loss for words - how beautiful, I loved everything about this post from the opening verse to your glorious pictures.

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  2. thank you for the wonderful collection!

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  3. Interesting and focused site. Have you written something on increasing (or may be it's been always like this) commercialization in Indian temples? Also the behavior of touts/pandas in some of the temples where devotees are harassed or exploited? Curious.

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  4. wowwwwwwwwww great collection of amazing clicks of great ganesh.I loved all the pics.great work.

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  5. How colorful and festive, a happy trip with you! So he is the god of the common people? What is it that is written on his hand? A blessing of some sort?

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  6. This post brought a big smile on my face :-) So beautiful pictures... I loved those last few words you wrote :-)
    Happy weekend, dear Arti.

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  7. Gorgeous photos, and such a gentle birthday celebration. Thank you for sharing this experience, - I will be back to see where your journeys lead you.

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  8. So colorful :-)

    When is Diwali? In November?

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  9. scrolling through your page I literally paused and went back to those days when we used to go from one puja pandaal to another wading through oceans of people. Thanks for helping bring those moments back and giving a glimpse of lord Ganesha !!

    US Masala

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  10. Thank you for posting all these lovely photos. It brought back lots of memories during my yatra trips those days when I did not have a camera.

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  11. So you have been pandal hopping...great photos...I bet you had a great time!

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  12. Arti,
    Thanks for bringing lot of Ganeshas here for your friends, nay... we were with you right. I loved the trip. Reminded me of my stay in Pune, how we used to hop from pandal to pandal.

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  13. Hi Ari -- My grandson and his wife gave me a little statuette of Ganesha as a souvenir from their trip to India. I have him sitting by my computer. This festival sounds wonderful and I appreciated hearing the history.

    Congratulations on winning the Best Posts of the Week prize!

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  14. Arti -- sorry I left a "t" out of your name. I haven't had my coffee yet his morning !

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  15. Dear Arti
    Very well presented. I liked it.

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  16. Wow ! you have seen places. When I go to some of these, I'll definitely refer to ur site.

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  17. Nice to be reminded of Lord Ganesha - will celebrate him too, for some obstacles need to be removed here! Love your pix of him with all the flowers - so abundant and joyful! Have a lovely celebration!

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  18. Arti, thanks so much for visiting my blog. I loved seeing all the beautiful flowers around Lord Ganesha!

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  19. hi arti, it is so delightful to see ganesha of mumbai... it brought back sweet memories of pandals i would visit with my friends when i was in cuttack in my childhood... there would be a puja at home , then at the school n then we would roam the streets from morning to evening with all the road side street food....mmmmmmh lovely moments....i have heard it is very famous in mumbai ... and when u mentioned there are 12000 pandals!! i can imagine...enjoy the celebration .. ganapathi bappa mooriya

    Satya
    http://www.superyummyrecipes.com

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  20. Pandal hopping is so much fun, reminds me of Durga puja.

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  21. Arti, your name is on Best Posts Of The Week, you have won a prize for being their 200th post. You have to reply to them within a week to collect it, please got to their website and read about it, I don't want you to miss it! Congradulations! I hope you see this in time, I could not find an e-mail for you.

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  22. What beautiful pictures. I wish that I could celebrate a religious festival in India (I grew in the U.S.)...it must be magical.

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  23. Beautiful Collection.

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  24. Dear Arti
    I have posted few photos at My Himalayan Blog ..you may like it.
    Have a nice weekend

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  25. Beautiful post, your website is very helpful to understand India's spiritual side.

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