Friday, September 21, 2012

The Divine Traveler: Lord Ganesha (Ganesh Sthapana)

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival: 19th September - 29th September 2012

It’s been a one long year waiting... but He has kept His promise. Yes, yes... He’s back again! To be amongst us - His loved ones, to partake in all the festivities, to unify, to bond and to love and be loved all over again. He is none other than our dear friend, philosopher and guide – the tiny eyed and pot bellied – the cute, kind and affable - the birthday Boy Ganesha!

One of my favorite festivals, the annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival marking the birthday of the elephant headed and the one-tusked Lord of knowledge and wisdom - Lord Ganesha, is already on the move and with it has begun the 11 day Journey of the Lord on Earth. Leaving the comforts of His heavenly abode, the Kailash, far behind him, Lord Ganesh has settled in the scores of modest pandals, mandaps and tents set up lovingly for Him by His devotees. Now, in the next few days to follow, with a long to-do-list on His plate, He is going to be a busy man! So while He gets down to checking them out, why not we try and follow Him, in His earthly route, as we have been doing since the past two years?

Let us all come together, let's join hands, let’s be a part of (t)His travel journey... from His hometown (Kailash) to the Earth (Ganesh Sthapana) and back (Ganesh Visarjan)... and revel in all the joys of the festivities, together! :-)

Photo Essay: Ganesh Sthapana (The Welcome)

A week or so before the commencement of the festival:

The Bazaars are decked up with flowers, festoons, lightings and all sorts of decorative materials. The place where the Lord will be seated is to be made.

Artificial flowers and garlands on sale for decorating the deity of Lord Ganesha

People get down to choosing a Ganesha idol for themselves from the scores of options available in the markets. Hand chiseled by skilled artisans over a period of time, these idols are either in clay, plaster of paris or in bio-degradable substances.

A range of Ganesha idols for sale before the festival

Pandals (canopied tents - His temporary place of stay) are erected and singhasans (royal seats) are arranged for, in the lanes, societies and houses hosting the deity. The size of this generally depends on the size of the visiting Ganapati and the weight of monetary funds collected over the weeks. These tents are then brightened with colorful lights and festooned with ornamental stuffs - This will be His place of stay during His journey.

A Ganpati pandal in construction

A painted rangoli at the pandal entrance

Huge hoardings and billboards spring up everywhere you see. He is a celebrity after all! Various Ganpati mandals (associations and organizations), politicians and people from the business and trader community come out with their advertisements in an eager attempt to seize attention and gain some cookie points from all.

A Board displays the name of the organization responsible for collecting the funds and setting up the particular lane's Ganesha

19th September: The Welcome

All preparations done. Day to welcome the Birthday Boy finally arrives. People come out dressed up in their best attires to receive their dear friend. The male elder of the family holds a red colored pata (wooden seat) with a few grains of rice, a paan (betel leaf), a supari (betel nut) and some money kept on it.

A family getting ready to take Him along

With full respect and honor, incense sticks are lit up and the previously chosen Ganesha idol is requested if He would like to be a guest for the next few days and an earnest request is forwarded to come along.

Inviting Lord Ganesha...

The humble God that He is, He replies in the affirmative sending ripples of joy all across the family members. He is brought out, mounted on the pata and covered with a red chunari (cloth).

Like a blushing bride, Ganesha sits pretty... ready to be taken home

Amid the chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa... Morya, Bappa Bappa... Morya’, He is shifted to His earthly residence in rickshaws, cars, tempos or trucks.

Lord Ganesha being taken to His earthly abode

At His house... Shlokas are chanted, sacred mantras recited and arti (prayer) is performed, His red colored veil (chunari) is lifted and He breathes life.

For the next 11 days, this is where he is going to be...


With all of us... As Someone,
Less revered as a deity and more pampered as a loving member of the family.

...Stay tuned...
for His journey has just begun!

--> From the Year 2011:



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45 comments:

  1. Very nicely described Lord Ganesha's journey.Beautiful pictures are stealing the heart.Thanks,Arti

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  2. I love reading of all these different festivals, the amount of knowledge I gain from them is amazing. A great post, as always well done on your mix of text and photos.

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  3. A wonderful, fascinating post as always, Arti, as well as delightful, colorful photos! And I always look forward to your posts!! Have a lovely weekend!

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  4. Beautiful capture of the mood and emotions of the Ganpati utsav. Wishing you and ur family a very happy Ganapati. I remembered the Ganpati when I was on Juhu chopati 10 years ago.

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  5. Lovely depiction of the festival Arti! It captures the spirit!

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  6. @Arti Good morning.Just read your new blog post on " Ganesh Chaturthi Festival" Thanks for the post and beautiful pics.
    "Ganpati Bappa Morya"
    Have a nice weekend.

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  7. Beautiful one. Culture feast for knowing about Ganesha celebrations in Maharashtra.

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  8. I hope i can be in mumbai right now, to feel the excitement and happiness of chaturthi festive. Full of color, light, and blessings.

    Jai Bappa Morya.... :)

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  9. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi Arti :) Am sure it'll be 10 days of pure bliss for you and your family :)

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  10. Seeing Ganesha always makes me happy! He's such a joyful goddess, and so friendly to humans! havea a spledid weekend!

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  11. My knowledge increased by another inch.

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  12. There are so many festivals in India. I hope to experience the Diwali festival when I am in India Nov 1-15. Cheers!

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  13. this'll be the first time that i'll be witnessing the festivities of Ganesh Chaturthi in Pune ..

    i loved the pics and the description as well ..!

    hey, me first in writing the comment this time .. yipee !!!

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  14. nice one, Arti!!! looking forward to more!!

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  15. I do remember reading about this festival in previous years Arti, but all your pictures are new and beautiful this time and I really enjoyed seeing them. And it is good to review the information because of course it is not something I have ever experienced.

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  16. your shots are so artistic and so engaging Arti, and so the descriptions, glad to learn of another festival from you.

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  17. Beautiful clicks , Arti dear! :)

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  18. Great, so you will be posting the entire festivities, will be looking forward to that.:)

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  19. ✿彡
    º°♫♪º°
    Lindas fotos.
    Boa semana!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil
    ♫♪♪¸.•°`❤彡

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  20. After reading your post I so so miss being there in Madhya Pradesh where we used to live once and at night used to visit many Ganpati Pandals.
    Its such a nice Festival pity don't see much activities here in Delhi :)

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  21. Interesting and nice photo tour

    thanks for sharing

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  22. Thanks for posting this. It brought back lovely memories of my walk-around of the temples in India where you first greet Lord Ganesha when you enter.

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  23. Oh I love the Ganapati festival... and to think I wasn't aware it existed till I moved this side of the country. You caught all of it really well.

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  24. So similar to Durga Puja set ups of Bengalees.

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  25. Ah! From your yatras to Ganesh's yatras! Great way to portray the Ganesh Chaturthi!

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  26. Loved ur post and the Ganesha idols are awesome! He's one of my favs too...vignaharan with Ridhi and Sidhi!
    Great to be back after the break:)
    Hope you are fine my dear Arti:)))

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  27. Lovely step to step description of Ganesh Chaturthi. As much as I love this festival for the festivities at home, I can't help thinking the festivities have gone beyond mere celebration to crass commercialization.I hope the revelry that includes vulgar songs on loudspeakers, too much lighting from stolen electricity and ostentation mutes down a bit to maintain the sanctity of the festival.

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  28. beautiful rangoli and photos

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  29. Happiness, peace and 'modak' are in the minds of millions who worship n respect this 'humble God'...You have sketched out the true spirit of the festival, Arti. Wonderful...
    Waiting for more..:))

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  30. Wonderful images from celebration. This is one God who looks beautiful in any form.

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  31. Fascinating information, and beautiful photos to see!

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  32. Pot-bellied and cute. Exactly!

    Nice to learn how you celebrate the festival.

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  33. An interesting post, Arti -- and such a happy, colorful celebration.

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  34. I am a great devotee of Lord Ganesha, Thank you for posting it! :)

    Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

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  35. this was really well done.. loved the pics as well as the theme connecting them all... looking forward to the rest of the journey

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  36. Such gorgeous shots. Hope you had a joyful Ganesh!

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  37. You made this personal and that made it different. The pictures..! hats off for taking such real pictures :D

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  38. That is juat AWESOME!!...I missed it by a whisker..I am placed in MUmbai ..!

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  39. Lovely clicks and a wonderful step by step narration of the festival..thanks for the upload..Ganpatti Baba Maurya..

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  40. Beautifully explained with lovely images!

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  41. beautiful write up and fabulous pictures

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