Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lord Ganesh Festival

I am starting my personal blog on this auspicious day today. Today’s Ganesh Chaturthi, the first day of the Lord Ganesh festival all over India. Lord Ganesh (also popularly known as Ganapati) is our elephant headed God, the son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak had popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival. The festival will be celebrated for 11 days.

Generally it’s a public holiday on the first day, but we didn’t get the privilege of having one since it was a Sunday (the weekend in India comprises Sunday and Saturday like most other countries in the world).

I woke up to the sound of loud music that’s played at the various pandals (pavilions), around my apartment, that host Lord Ganesh idols. And one could also hear people shouting the popular  ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’ slogans in the praise of the lord. The latest news that the nationwide swine flu death toll has climbed to 66 hasn’t stopped our people from celebrating this festival. They would in fact offer their prayers to Lord Ganesh to help eradicate this disease. I performed my regular Pooja (prayer) in the morning and visited my in-laws for lunch and my parents for dinner. At both the places, I savoured the festival’s main sweet dish, ‘Modak’, a rice dumpling filled with grated coconut, jaggery and dry fruits.

‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ (official website - is undoubtedly the most popular Lord Ganesh pandal in Mumbai that attracts around 1.5 million devotees during the festival. It is believed that by praying to the Lalbaugcha Raja, one’s wishes get fulfilled. The main attraction here is a simple idol but with a golden crown, golden bracelets and other gold ornaments. You can view today morning’s ‘Aarti’ (devotional songs sung in praise of the lord) below:


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