In a country like India, Ganesh Chaturthi is one of those festivals which is almost uniformly celebrated across the length and breadth of the country. Lord Ganpati is known to help in auspicious beginnings and remove all obstacles from one’s path. He is one of the most popular and considered to be one of the most benevolent of deities, a giver of fortunes who is invoked at most religious ceremonies.
Ganpati festival is celebrated with much fanfare and devotion across the country, according to the culture prevalent in that part of the country. The Lord is worshipped for one and a half or three, five, seven or eleven days as per traditions and the devotion level of the worshippers. This is actually a celebration of the resurrection of Lord Ganpati with the head of an elephant. So, essentially this is a celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesha and is also known as Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi. This festival typically lasts for ten days and ends on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi.
One of the most spectacular sights of this amazing festival is the Ganesh idols made of clay by skilled artisans. These clay idols are beautifully decorated and come in a variety of bright and pretty colours like pink, orange, yellow, gold, green and blue. Though celebrated all across the country, we get to see one of the most elaborate celebrations in Maharashtra where these clay idols can be up to 25 feet in height!
The festival is an amalgamation of lovely colours and high spirits mixed with the unwavering devotion of the people, which is what makes it so special. The temporary structures or pandals are all decorated beautifully and are constructed out of colourful clothes, flowers, banana saplings, lights, etc. People flock to these pandals with friends and family to worship the deity. The priests at these pandals are usually clad in red silk dhotis and shawls and invoke life into these statues and then worship them.
The celebration goes on for ten days and on the 11th day, the festival comes to an end and the statue is taken for immersion. This, again, is a sight to behold as the procession is one of the most colourful and lively things you will ever see and experience. There are people dancing and singing, all enveloped in colourful gulaal, leading the procession with much fanfare. The idols of the deity are then immersed in a river, sea or any water body to signify his journey towards Kailash but the chanting and reverberations of “Ganpati Bappa Morya” stay with us until the next year.