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Ganpati in Mumbai

"Ganpati Bappa Maura", A voice that echoes in every street, every chawl and even from the high rise elite buildings. This is a common scene in Mumbai during the prestigious and very well celebrated occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi. Its another Diwali for the Hindus but every single person irrespective of caste, creed or religion actively participates in the procession with full vigor and enthusiasm.

History of Ganpati Festival in Mumbai

This festival is believed to bring good luck, blessings to all the devotees of Lord Ganesha. The festival is also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi', Vinayak being another name for Lord Ganesha. This festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesha. As per the Hindu calender, Ganesha Visarjan is celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada or Shukla Chaturthi i.e. the fourth day of the waxing moon phase. The festival is celebrated over a period of 10 days which starts on Shukla Chaturthi (4th day) and ends on Anant Chaturdashi (14th day).

Ganpati Visarjan

Legend of Ganpati Festival

As per the Hindu stories that tales out Ganesha's origin is as follows. Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva and the Goddess of Shakti carved Ganesha out of Sandalwood paste for the love and wish for a son and breathed life into the sculpted body. Later, she set him to guard while she went for a bath. Lord Shiva who was not present at that moment and unaware of the son that Parvati had sculpted with her superpowers, returned to his wife but was stopped by Ganesha as an unknown person and on the command of his mother to let no one enter.

Angered by this, the gods raged and Indira attacked the boy with his ferocious army but it came as a failure. Even the pleadings and appeasing  from Narada couldn't move the boy. This matter of pride and ego made Lord Shiva angry and in the spurge of a moment, he beheaded the boy leaving him dead. Parvati was furious at this act and enraged at Lord Shiva for the huge crime he had committed of killing his own son. Lord Shiva, realizing it a bit too late promised his wife that their son would be alive again and sent the Deva and the lords to search for the head of the dead boy that flew to north.

After the lords returned, they came back only with the head of a dead elephant unable to find the head of a human boy. Lord Shiva placed the head on the human body and brought the boy back to life giving him the title of Ganesha. Also, Lord Ganesha was given one more blessing that Lord Ganesha would be the first god everyone would pray before any other god.

Rituals at Ganpati Festival

Preparations of Ganesha Visarjan start almost 2 to 3 months before and idols of Ganesha are available for sale in various sizes, carved by skilled artisans and are adorned beautifully. These idols are then placed in houses or mandalas under special structures known as Mandapas or Pandals. A priest is appointed for the Ganpati Visarjan procession and to invoke life in the statue  by chanting mantras.

The priest is usually clad in red or white dhoti and the ritual he performs is known as Pranapratishhtha. The Shhodashopachara ritual follows next which is the 16 ways of paying tribute in the form of offerings like coconut, jaggery and flowers etc. The deity of Lord Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days and is anointed with red kumkum (holy red anointment) and the eleventh day the statue is headed towards the destination, followed by people in lakhs who actively participate in a parade of fun, enthusiasm, dance and frolic. It is then immersed in the water with a belief of freeing the devotees of all their troubles.

Food & Delicacies at Ganpati Festival

There are many delicacies specially prepared for this festive  phase of 10 days apart from the offerings of Shhodashopachara. Modak, a dumpling made of rice flour with a stuffing of dry fruits, coconut and condiments is cherished which is prepared with the method of steam cooked or fried.Another sweet dish is the Karanji which has the similar stuffing and preparation but with a semi circular shape.

Following are some other delicacies made during this festive season:
  • Kudumu- Rice flour dumpling stuffed with coconut and jaggery mixture
  • Vundrallu- steamed coarsely grounded rice flour
  • Panakam- A drink flavored with jaggery, cardamom and black pepper
  • Vadapappu- soaked lentils
  • Chalivdi- cooked rice flour and jaggery mixture

Ganesh Chaturthi Modak

Mandals in Mumbai

The festive occasion in Mumbai is celebrated in every street and house though, but the most famous Mandals are listed below:

Lalbaugcha raja:
The most famous Ganesha Statue is Mumbai has been made by The Kambli Family since 1935 and its legendary design is now patent protected.
Location- Lalbaug Market, GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug (Central Mumbai)

The Mumbaicha Raja:
Well known for lavish themes around the world, it attracts a lot of crowd due to its extravagance design based on replicas of famous Indian places.
Location- Ganesha Galli lane, Lalbaug (Central Mumbai)

Khetwadi Ganraj
This is the award winning of one of the most spectacular Ganesha idols.The Ganesha idol is 40 feet tall and adorned with real gold jewellery.
Location- 12th Lane Khetwadi, Girgaum (South Mumbai)

GSB Seva Kings Circle
This Ganesha statue is made of pure gold and adorned with more than 60 kg of gold. This mandal is stated to be the richest in the city. This statue is made of clay thus being an Eco-friendly one. Traditional musical instruments are used in the mandals than recorded music.
Location- GSB Sports Club ground, Near S.N.D.T. Women's College, R.A. Kidwai Road, King's Circle, Matunga (Central Mumbai)

Andherchi Raja
This idol is considered an epitome of a wish filling sculpture. The mandal has a novel theme with sand sculptures and carnivals.
Location- Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri (Western Mumbai Suburb)

The festival involves the participation of the entire city irrespective of caste creed and religion. The celebration brings out the splendor of street life with the loud praise for the lord in the name of " Ganpatti bappa maurya, pudcha varshi laukar ya". (hail Lord Ganesha, Come soon next year).

Also Read: Lalbaugcha Raja

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