I would like to start this section with my favorite Indian festival- “Ganesh chaturthi!”
I think, Ganesha – also known as the god of removing obstacles will make my blog reach to all of you without obstacles 😉
This festival celebrates the birth of lord Ganesha, very well known as “Elephant headed god” globally . Ganesha is popular all over the world with his distinctive characteristics. In India, celebrations of colorfully designed Ganesha idols placed in homes, public places or workplaces in nicely decorated shrines are carried out for close to a fortnight. Usually natives prefer to worship it for five, seven, nine or eleven days. It has to be an odd number usually as hindu culture believes that odd numbers are significant. Due to the growing awareness about environmental issues, nowadays people are making efforts to buy eco friendly ganesha idols made out of mud rather than hazardous Plaster of Paris materials with harmful colors.
The festival day is auspicious for Hindus and joyful for everyone to get together and celebrate. In short I would like to give you three good reasons why you should consider being a part of this festival during your India travels
Firstly, the Ganesha idols are the grandest charm of the festival. I believe natives consider Ganesha as the most friendly god hence they take liberties in making ganesha idols in the most imaginative avatar every year. Be prepared to watch some funny Ganesha statues too. After watching them, you will definitely rethink Indians’ way of worshipping their gods. You will also enjoy doing shrine hopping to see colorful ganesha idols of different sizes and forms. Infact these idols are the curtain raiser for various competitions where local community festival organisations compete to make the largest, grandest and most beautiful idols each year.
Secondly, the shrines at various places (on roads, workplaces or at temples) are the major attractions. It is interesting to experience Indian festivals with their lights and vibes since they are open to all. It is a perfect time to see both spiritual and overzealous Indians together in a single time lapse. In Fact you might find crowded religious spaces and recreational places meted with the same enthusiasm by people in India as part of the festive celebrations.
Thirdly, the Finale or the Goodbyes. Yes, one of the most important parts of this festival is the immersion of the idol. Perhaps, you wouldn’t have experienced such a terrific closure for any festival before and that’s what makes it unique among all other Indian festivals. I suggest you to go with your Indian friends to witness this completely distinctive experience. The ceremony is called “Ganesh visarjan” where the idols are immersed in water where huge number of people accompany the procession with dhols (drums) playing music and dancing energetically to its beats.
It is mainly celebrated in India and in other Indian communities across the world. The festival is prominent in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, UK, North America and France because of large indian and Sri Lankan natives living abroad. I was very happy to participate in some such festivities in Paris (France) and windsor (Canada). In Paris, It was lovely to see the ratha yatra (ceremonial chariot parade) with its huge procession of local dances and decorations looking authentically Indian. In both the places, It was great to see locals having a glimpse of tradition and celebration from another country in their own.
In India, Maharashtra is the most popular host to these spectacular ganesha celebrations and is emulated by most metropolitan cities. You can even visit different cities during your travels since it is an Eleven day long celebration and differs with region and culture throughout the various states. Here are some best cities to witness the festival on a grand scale.