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Ganesh Chaturthi is a major festival in Maharashtra. Here is an account of Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in the state of Maharashtra.


Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai



Every year the city of Mumbai hosts one of the biggest Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Here of all the festivals, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with the maximum amount of zeal and enthusiasm. Lord Ganesh is considered as the patron saint of Maharashtra and every year over 6000 idols are installed in Mumbai. Though Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Pune, etc.,yet the Mumbai is famous for its huge processions surrounding life-size statues of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is not only worshipped publicly in huge pandals(tents) constructed everywhere, but is also revered in every household. The advent of Ganesh Chaturthi is viewed as a period of immense joy and endless festivities. People from all backgrounds congregate to observe the birthday of their favorite God. They walk, sing and dance together as they welcome him. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi is broadcasted in through various news channels all over world. Many Hindi film stars are also constantly in news for the Ganesh Chaturthi pujas organized by them. Read on to know more about Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai.

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival Mumbai

History
It was the great Maratha ruler ChhatrapatiShivaji Maharaja who introduced the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to his people. His intention was to promote culture and nationalism. But the credit of popularizing this event goes to the freedom fighter LokmanyaTilak. He thought that by making Ganesh Chaturthi a public ceremony, he could build unity among people from all backgrounds and put up a fight against the British colonial rule. Tilak realized that this could be one of the best platforms that will unite people and help eliminate their common enemy. He organized the first public Ganesh Chaturthicelebration in 1893. The tradition is being carried on till date, with more and more people joining the processions every year.

Customs
In Mumbai, in fact in the whole of Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi lasts from seven to ten days. The whole city is decorated with flowers, lights and with every possible decorative object. On the first day of the festival, the idol of Lord Ganesh is placed on a podium that symbolizes a throne. His face would be covered which is revealed by the priest as the puja begins. The deity is well-adorned and is surrounded by sweets, incense, flowers and other items for puja. A number of rituals began which comprise offering of various sweets, of which the presence of ladoos or modak is mandatory. Modak and ladoo is believed to be Lord Ganesh's favorite food. The rest of the days the puja is conducted with slight difference in the rituals. The idol is worshipped by chanting Ganesh Stutis (hymns) and singing devotional songs to please him.

The Last Day and Farewell
It is assumed that the deity comes for on a visit to earth for 10 days and returns to his heavenly adobe on the 11th day. He gives the mankind the opportunity to unite and rejoice the festival to the fullest. But finally, they have to bid him adieu by immersing his idols large water bodies. This process is called 'Visarjan'. The city of Mumbai witnesses great vigor and fervor for the farewell procession in which the statue of Lord Ganesh is carried by the devotees. The procession comprises of priests, singers, dancers, acrobats and manyspectators. Even as the convoy precedes many offerings, such as flowers, sweets, coconuts and fruits are made to the God on his final journey for the year. People chant the famous slogan 'GanapatiBappaMorya', singing and dancing to the beat of dhols(musical instruments which function like drums). Most of the idols are taken to the Arabian Sea for immersion. The most prominent of immersions occurs on Chowpatti Beach, located at a distance of 1km from Marine Drive. A massive crowd assembles here to witness the event. The processions for Visarjan begin early in the morning and reach mid-night by the time the final rite is performed.

Ganesh Chaturthi or puja is a time of enjoyment and merriment for the people of Mumbai. People take break from their busy lives to immerse themselves in the celebrations of the puja.