Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Festive colors of Ganesh Chaturthi - Ganpati Pandals, Mumbai

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!

It’s that time of the year again! The entire city is draped in a colorful collage of myriad hues and is swaying to the musical mantra of Ganpati Bappa Morya! After keeping us waiting for a year long, the elephant headed and pot bellied, the very cute and charming Lord Ganesha is back in town! In a country like India which believes in the culture of ‘Guest is God’ (Atithi Devo Bhava), just try to picture the scenario when God Himself descends as one!!!

1st September – 12th September 2011 (Ganesh Chaturthi Festival):

Yes, one of my favorite festivals, the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is already on the go! The festival marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the Lord of knowledge and wisdom, and falls on the bright fortnight of the Hindu calendar month of bhadrapada (August/September). It lasts for eleven days starting with the Lord’s arrival on the first day (Shukla paksha Chaturthi) and concluding on the 11th day (Ananth Chaturdashi) when the deity is immersed in water bodies symbolizing His journey back to His abode.

Although this is a festival that’s celebrated by Hindus throughout the country but no other city adores the deity in a way like Mumbai does! During the 11 day period, life in the city beats to the cadenced tunes of love, affection, and devotion and Vedic chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ and 'Mangal Murthi Morya' resonate in the atmosphere. Hatches are buried, hugs and smiles take their place and people revel in the effervescent music of joy, togetherness and ecstasy.

Me living in Mumbai, It comes as no surprise that I have a great affinity for the festival and Ganesh pandal hopping in Mumbai forms one unique aspect of my celebrations. Your presence had made it a lot special for me last year, remember? And this year is no different, what with me still having the wonderful company in all of you!

Thus, once again, I present a two-part chronological series attempting to provide a photographic journey of Lord Ganesha on earth, this being the first one highlighting His arrival (Ganesha sthapna and Mumbai Pandal Darshan) and the second one showing His departure back to His heavenly abode in Kailash (Ganesh Visarjan).

So, pack your bags and bundle up your woes… Get ready to join me, as I embark on a yatra (pilgrimage) of a slightly different kind… The Festive Ganesh Yatra… And let’s together enjoy this spirited carnival!

The Journey Of Lord Ganesha on Earth


A Sarvajanik Ganpati pandal in a mumbai locality during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
A Ganpati pandal in a housing society in Mumbai during Ganesh Chaturthi festival

Huge canopied tents like these called as pandals come up in almost every other lane, society and locality beautifully created by neighborhood puja manadals (committees), and innumerable numbers of homes are cleaned and decorated with festoons and flowers to welcome the divine guest.

Artisans making the Ganpati idols for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival
An artisan carves out a Ganesha idol ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival

Ganesha idols of varying sizes are chiseled and given shape as part of Ganesh Chaturthi festival preparations.

The Ganpati idols being transported to shops - Ganesh Chaturthi Festival Mumbai
A fully sculpted idol being transported to one of the shops for sale

The Ganpati idols being stacked up beautifully in shops to be taken by devotees to homes and pandals
People purchasing Ganesh deities in a shop

These murthis (idols) are then transported to shops from where they are picked up by devotees. Smaller idols are placed in homes while the larger idols are placed in tents.

People purchasing Ganpati idols during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
A small girl affectionately adores her new guest

Finally on the D-Day, His birthday (the first day of the festival), He arrives amid songs, music, chants and dance. Priests breathe life in the idols by chanting of mantras and The Lord makes Himself comfortable in one of His temporary dwellings.

Mumbai Ganpati Pandals

For the next 11 days… He is quite a busy man, I must say! Life revolves around Him. Daily prayers and rituals are performed. He is the apple of everyone’s eye; He loves everyone and is loved by all. He is treated like a king, every need, every requirement of His, is well attended to and on the days of His departure (known as ‘Ganesh Visarjan’ and done on the 1 and a half, 5th, 7th and 11th days), He is given a grand farewell as well!

Ganpati pandal with flowers and garlands decoration
Ganpati pandal with flowers, garlands and coconuts decorationGrand Pandal of Lord Ganesha during Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Mumbai
Small idols of Lord Ganesha in Ganpati pandals
Complete Ganpati pandal decorations during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Ganpati pandal decoration
Ganpati idol with modaks and ladoos and flowers
Ganesh Pandal decorated with flowers and plants in Mumbai
Ganpati pandal decorated during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Huge Ganpati Idol in Pandal decorated beautifully
Huge Ganesh idol in a Mumbai pandal

Accessible to one and all, He soon gets down to His job of removing the obstacles (Vighnaharta) from people’s lives and hearing out their woes. Meanwhile, He also LOVES to gorge on ladoos and modaks (a type of sweet) loads, loads, loads of them. Besides this, simple blades of grass or 'durva' also make Him happy. But if you don’t have any of this, no worries... a loving heart full of devotion and sincerity is just about enough to please Him and delights Him no end.

Related posts from Last Year -

Festive colors of Ganesh Chaturthi (Mumbai Pandals)

Goodbye Ganesha... Ganesh Visarjan

48 comments:

  1. Last year I was in Mumbai during the GC and that day I realized what it means to be in Mumbai on ganesh chaturthi. Even in Hyd. Bang and Pune they go crazy about this festival

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  2. Nice one, Arti! a comprehensive post! loved the pics... where are these ganeshas from? western or central suburbs?

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  3. Wonderful shots. This is the one festival I love very much.

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  4. Ganapathy is always interesting and so is this post Arti..!

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  5. What joyful and wonderful celebrations!

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  6. missed these sights this year as I have shifted out of Mumbai...

    check my new butterfly pics...
    http://travellingslacker.com/2011/09/insect-photography/

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  7. What a wonderfully colourful festival this looks. I love all those images of Ganesh and especially that huge sculpture being transported on the lorry, just how big is it? Thanks for a interesting and informative post, I do hope you post more.

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  8. Gorgeous captures, Arti! :) Yeah, Ganesha is truly the busiest man these days :)

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  9. The pictures are really beautiful and divine. I really miss being in India during such festivals. Thanks for sharing. It's a great start for the day...

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  10. Ganesh festival is grandly celebrated in Mumbai, if you could provide us various locations than it would give us an idea Arti, lovely photos of Ganesh you have uploaded

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  11. @ Petty Witter
    The Ganpati idols come in various sizes from a few feet tall to about 30-50 feet tall!!

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  12. In delhi, Ganesh chathurthi is not that big......but its always nice to see the festivities in mumbai on TV .

    and you have put up a very informative post !!!

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  13. festive season has such an infectious energy :)

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  14. Ganapathy looks like such a wonderful festival, Arti! And your photos are delightful as always! Thank you for sharing this with us! Hope you have a great week!

    Sylvia

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  15. Love the journey Arti! I am back in Mumbai too and was just listening happily to the beats of a dhol from a neighbourhood pandal. Hope to bump into you sometime at a blogger meet!

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  16. Ganesha holds a special place in my heart and no doubt Mumbai comes alive during these 11 days of festivities :)
    May the lord clear all your obstacles and bless you!

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  17. A picture speaks a thousand words...and you have done that well in this post.

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  18. Seems you had fun clickingso many Ganeshas as possible! Lovely pictures and wonderful narration:)

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  19. beautiful journey with beautiful shots of god ganesh

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  20. I always like seeing images of Ganesh. I do need to travel to India!

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  21. Arti,
    Thanks a lot for your warm concern.

    The prayer to this lovely deity, Ganesh seems to be incorporated in people's daily life very naturally. How unique his shape is! I have heard there is a statue of Ganesh in the temple in Nara, but I haven’t seen him. I’ll search for the location of the temple and visit to pray to him. I feel the festival filled with warm tenderness.

    Thank you for posting this.
    Arti, have a nice week!

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  22. Nice post there.
    I got the feel of the festival, but I must disagree that the festival in Mumbai is the best one. Every town comes up its own unique way of celebration.

    I personally find the celebrations in Mumbai overly commercialized. If you want to witness the beauty of traditions you have to be in Pune in the festival. Especially the Visarjan parade is spectacular.

    Last year I had visited my native place, Goa for Ganesh festival and I rank it the best spiritual celebration of the festival. Its more of a personal and family celebration in Goa, and the enthusiasm is well beyond measures...

    I had written about my Goa visit in my blogs,
    have a look here for the details( I do not wish to advertise my blog here, I just wanted to present a different take on the festival)

    http://fzedchronicles.blogspot.com/2010/09/goa-3-sacred-approach-festival.html

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  23. Wow, you look so happy and enjoyable.The colorful things make us cheerful.

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  24. That was a great round-up of the Ganesh idols Arti. thanks for sharing. Agree with you about offering a loving heart to Him to please him. God is the easiest to please :)

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  25. Hi Arti,
    It looks like amazing festival. Image of Ganesh is so unique for me. I understand that a small girl adore Ganesh like in one of your photo. Elephant has special meaning for Indian, I wonder?
    THank you for sharing a very interesting festival.
    Have a lovely week!
    Sarah

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  26. really beautiful, very enchanting pictorials. short of words for it.
    amazing pics.

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  27. have stayed in Mumbai for 2 yrs... I enjoyed this festival a lot...nice pictures :)

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  28. Gorgeous post Arti! Ganesha is such a joyful deity, no wonder he's so popular and loved! We all need help with removing obstacles!

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  29. Hi Arti, It looks like Lord Ganesha is accustomed to many, many sweet! I liked seeing all the sculptures of him, both large and small. The festival looks like it's bringing smiles to the faces of the people.

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  30. Hi Arti

    The pandals are very unique in north india here too in chennai we have started to have pandals ... just the other day we saw about 30 lorries carrying ganesh murthis for visarjan , it was fun to watch ... I love the picture where the girl is looking and smiling at lord ganesha : )

    Super Yummy Recipes

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  31. The atmosphere during Ganesh Chathurthi is great.. I used to enjoy the Sarvajanik Puja and celebrations:) Thanks for capturing it beautifully:)

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  32. Its been long time that I am seeing your blog honestly. Actually my internet connection does not allow me to do so, you provide so many good photographs and most of the time I could not see. Today was one of better day.
    I don't need to comment on your post, like always they are just awesome :)

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  33. I should try to visit Bombay once during Ganesha Chaturthi. In Bangalore, the festival is just an household affair.

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  34. I would love to be in Mumbai at some point during this festival! I'm sure it's amazing. =)

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  35. Arti dear, you are so kind to come and leave a comment!!!! What a wonderful festival this must be. A colleague of mine just came back from India and loved the people SO MUCH. It is a place I have yet to discover, but from what I can see, the traditions are delights to the eyes and imagination for us Westerners....many delights for sure.

    Have a wonderful day my friend, Anita

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  36. Hi Arti -- I love this Festival and Ganesh is the one Hindu God whom I recognize. I'm glad I do -- He is wonderful. The statutes are beautiful. The food sounds good.

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  37. Your post took me back to those days when we used to go from one puja pandaal to another wading through oceans of people. Beautiful post and love all the pictures! Thanks for sharing Arti.
    USMasala

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  38. Good one..U have captured Ganpati festival right from the making to pandals well.
    Awareness empowers
    www.bemoneyaware.com

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  39. ganapati bappa moriya

    Last day today for ganapathi sinking...

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  40. Beautiful pics, really loved going through this post ..

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  41. Hello, Arti

    Your work is embraced in your gentleness.
    The internal vitality is just life.

    Have a good weekend.

    Greetings and Dear hug.
    From Saga, Japan.
    ruma ❁

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  42. @Arti Beautiful post and also Nice photography. Thank you so much.
    ~Ganapati Bappa Moriya~

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  43. The Ganapati idols are gorgeous. Thanks!

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  44. Arti, im realy jeleous with you :( Hope i have chance to visit mumbai and celebrate Ganesh Chaturti someday..

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