The culture of Mumbai is renowned for its rich ‘cosmopolitan’ nature.One of the major feature of this city’s tradition that stands out is a festival known as ‘Ganesha Chaturthi’. Now, the question to be asked is what exactly makes this festival dedicated in honor of Lord Ganesha who is also known as Hindu Elephant God so special?. Here goes the analysis.

Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi Visarjan in action (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

1. What is Ganesh Chaturthi?

‘To pay reverence to Lord Ganesh, to the Hindu God of Knowledge’ is a major reason ‘why’ this festival known as Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated. It is also known as ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’, and is celebrated with great fanfare for 10 days throughout the city. The celebrations include: the installing of Ganpati idols made of clay in homes or in public areas by the society.Furthermore, these idols are eventually immersed in the sea or river which is known as Visarjan.

2. When Is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated In Mumbai? 

It is on the fourth day of the Hindu month known as ‘Bhadrapada’ when this festival is celebrated. As per the ‘Gregorian’ calendar, this Hindu month generally falls in between the months of August and September. In 2018 this festival will begin on Thursday 13th September.

3. How Is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?

‘Establishment and immersion’ of clay idols of Lord Ganesh are two key features of this festival. Initially, idols of this ‘Elephant God’ are established either in homes or in public mandals. They are kept for about a minimum of two and maximum of ten days. During this period, regular prayers are held both in morning and evening, and local traditional sweets such as ‘modaks’ are distributed among devotees. It is eventually on the last day that the idol is carried to either a river/lake/sea for Visarjan. It is during this journey, that people carrying the idol, dance mostly to the beats of some of Bollywood’s popular songs.

4. The Lalbaughcha Raja – Things you should know about this masterpiece

Lalbaugcha Raja is the most famous Ganapati kept at Lalbaug, an area in Mumbai during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.Standing tall at 18 feet it is the most famous Ganpati mandal in Mumbai. which attracts large number of devotees including the famous celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt etc. Apparently, it was last year in 2017 that this mandal completed 83 years of its existence.

5. Ganesh Chaturthi, The ‘Bollywood’ Connection:

Such is the popularity of this festival in the city, that there are many Bollywood films which make use of it. The 2006 Shah Rukh Khan’s movie Don included a famous Ganpati track as also the 2011 Hrithik Roshan’s starer Agneepath. The Producers of the movie tend to capitalize on this festival by adding Ganpati songs to the movie releasing during this festive period. In addition, the climax of the Ram Gopal Varma cult mafia flick Satya shows Ganesh Visarjan as seen at the Chowpatty Beach annually.

6. How did Ganesh Chaturthi originate in the ‘City Of Dreams’:

Apparently, it was during the regime of Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj that this festival was first initiated. However, it was eventually made a popular public event in the 19th century by freedom fighter ‘Lokmanya Tilak’, who wanted to oppose the British by circumventing around colonial ban imposed on public gatherings. In other words, he wanted to ‘unite the people against a common enemy’.

With Ganesh Chaturthi 2018 about to begin, here is hoping that this pious festival continues to add a lot of colour to the rich culture heritage of ‘Maximum City’.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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