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Vinayaka Chaturthi Vrat- Understanding the importance of Vinayaka Chaturthi (greatest being Ganesh Chaturthi)

In the Hindu calendar, there are two chaturthi tithis, i.e., 4th day tithis in any lunar month. The one after purnima, or the full moon during Krishna paksha, is called Sankashti Chaturthi. The one after amavasya, or the new moon during Shukla paksha, is known by Vinayaka Chaturthi. 

In general, the Chaturthi tithi is very auspicious for the worship of Lord Ganesh. Vinayaka Chaturthi is also known as the Varada Vinayaka Chaturthi. Varad means to obtain blessings from God to fulfill one’s desires. It is believed that Lord Ganesh blesses those who keep this fast with wisdom and patience. Wisdom and patience are virtues that have been valued by mankind since the beginning of time. These virtues are essential for success in life.

People typically fast and pray during the Sankashti Chaturthi to obtain relief and riddance from their problems whereas Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated more in reverence of Lord Ganesh. It is to express one’s joy and greetings towards Lord Ganesh.

Although Vinayaka Chaturthi fasting is done every month, but the most significant Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in month of Bhadrapada. Vinayaka Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month is known as Ganesh Chaturthi. It is believed that for ten days starting from the Bhadrapada Vinayaka Chaturthi day, Lord Ganesh is present on earth in a tangible form and because of this it is easier to connect with his energy and obtain his grace and blessings. 


People who do the fasting (vrat) on Vinayak Chaturthi tithi, should keep in mind that since the start and end times are dependent on the sunrise (and sunset) time, it would vary between different cities around the world. It is observed when the chaturthi tithi prevails during midday. Ganesh Puja on Vinayaka Chaturthi is done at midday. A person will need to confirm the accurate sunrise, sunset, and midday times for their region to ensure they are starting and ending the fast and conducting the prayers at the proper time.The ritualistic rules of this fast are quite strict and usually only fruits and root-vegetables are allowed to be consumed. Tapioca (sabudana) khichdi (special style of preparation) with boiled potatoes and peanuts is the favorite food consumed during this fast. The fast goes on from sunrise during the Vinayaka tithi and then continues throughout the day and finally ends in the evening after sunset.


  • The most important ritual of Vinayaka Chaturthi is the installation of the idol of Lord Ganesha. The idol is usually made of clay and is decorated with flowers, fruits, and sweets.
  • Devotees offer prayers to the idol of Lord Ganesha. They pray for his blessings for a happy and prosperous life.
  • Devotees also offer sweets to the idol of Lord Ganesha.
  • On the tenth day of the festival, the idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in water bodies. This is a symbolic gesture of bidding farewell to the god and thanking him for his blessings.


  • Vinayaka Chaturthi is a time to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha for a happy and prosperous life.
  • The festival is also a time to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
  • Vinayaka Chaturthi is a time to come together with family and friends and enjoy the festivities.
  • The festival also promotes the values of faith, devotion, and love.

Miraculous Benefits of Observing Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat

Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat falls on the fourth day of the fortnight. There are two Chaturthis in every month as per Hindu calendar. While the one falling during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi, the other falling during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi. Vinayaka Chaturthi is observed as a fasting day.

Though there are twelve Ganesh Chaturthis in a year, one of these Chaturthis is observed as a very popular festival. All the other Chaturthis are observed as fasting days. Given below, are the further details required for the Vinayaka Chaturthi fast.

It is said that while Ganesha always blesses his devotees with luck and wisdom, he blesses them with prosperity as well, on this day. It is also said that girls observing this fast get good luck in marriage. Hence, there is a tradition to observe a fast on this day.

Vighnaharta (meaning the remover of obstacles), Lord Ganesha is one of the most revered Hindu deities.

Devotees observe the Vinayaka Chaturthi fast to seek his blessings and pray for a hurdle-free life. Moreover, Lord Ganesha is hailed as the giver of knowledge. Hence the significance.

Vinayaka Chaturthi Vrat Rules:

  • Wake up early (preferably during Brahma Muhurta – approximately two hours before sunrise).
  • Take a bath and wear clean clothes.
  • Do Sankalpa (align yourself with the divine occasion and take a pledge that you would observe the vrat sincerely.
  • Do Dhyana (meditation – focus with a calm mind)
  • Offer Arghya (water) to the rising Sun.
  • Maintain celibacy.
  • Do not have foods that contain onion, garlic and meat.
  • Consumption of tobacco and alcohol is strictly prohibited.
  • Have fruits, milk and vrat recipes.
  • Prepare a minimum of 11 Modaks.
  • Perform the puja during the time mentioned above.
  • Read the Vrat Katha and conclude the puja by performing the aarti.
  • Distribute the Modaks and other offerings as prasad.

Interestingly, the vrat kept during the waning or darker phase (Krishna Paksha) is called Sankashti or Sankat Hara Chaturthi.

Each Sankashti Vrat has a specific name and a presiding deity. Finally, and most importantly, the vrat is closely associated with Moonrise, as devotees break their fast only after sighting the Moon.

Here are other benefits of observing Ganesh Chathurthi Vrat:

  1. Prosperity
    Everyone wants a healthy and prosperous life. When you offer prayers to Lord Ganesha, you tend to work towards achieving success. You will find that your determination towards achieving your goals is elevated.
  2. Good fortune
    Lord Ganesha is also known for blessing the devotees with good fortune and wealth. If you will dedicatedly worship Lord Ganesha, you will surely achieve fortune, and will never return empty-handed. It will become easy for you to work your way towards an abundance of wealth and power in your life.
  3. Wisdom
    The elephant head of Lord Ganesha stands for wisdom. So, if you worship Lord Ganesha, you are likely to gain wisdom.
  4. Destroy all your obstacles
    Lord Ganesha is known as Vighnaharta. So, when you worship Lord Ganesha with complete faith, he guides you towards the right path. He gives you the courage to conquer your fears and overcome all obstacles in your life.
  5. You will become patient
    It is the large ears of Lord Ganesha which symbolizes a patient listener. And if you offer prayers to him and focus on your inner strength, you will develop the same level of patience.
  6. You will become knowledgeable
    You start walking on a path of transformation when you worship Lord Ganesha. And with determined effort, you will climb the stairs of knowledge.
  7. Your soul will be purified
    It is believed that anyone who worships him with immense dedication will have the cleansed soul. You will gradually start to remove negativity from your life, which will further purify your soul.
  8. You will have a peaceful life
    When you worship Lord Ganesha, you start getting a sense of responsibility towards achieving your goal. And your life becomes peaceful, both personal and professional.

Ganesh Chaturthi: A Festival of Hope and Prosperity

Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the most-loved festivals in India, is replete with divinity, celebrations, and flamboyance. It is a festival that cuts across all religions, castes, and creeds. Think Ganesh Chaturthi, and the beautiful idol of Lord Ganesh comes to mind – the excitement, the crowds, the aroma of His favourite modaks and chants just fill the air! Lord Ganesh is seen as a God for all. He is regarded as the God of new beginnings, fresh starts, remover of obstacles, and a patron of learning. This 10-day long festival not only celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesh, but is also a social and community event that brings people together and promotes harmony. The popular belief is that Lord Ganesh visits earth during these 10 days to bless His devotees. Hence, for those who have an existing Ganesh statue in their house, this is the time to serve Him and take special care of Him, like a much-loved guest. Festivals in India are incomplete without a host of delicacies and Ganesh Chaturthi is no different. Throughout this 10-day extravaganza, a lot of effort is put in to please Lord Ganesh. His favourite food is prepared and offered to Him as bhog.

History: Becoming a Popular Mass Festival

Although Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated traditionally in most states of India, the fervour with which it is celebrated in the state of Maharashtra is unparalleled. Interestingly, it was not a significant part of Maharashtra’s tradition until its advent here during the Maratha reign. In fact, Ganesh Chaturthi was initially just a homely affair. It was Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856–1920), a noted leader of the Indian Independence Movement, who was instrumental in converting Lord Ganesh into a powerful cultural and religious symbol of unity for the Maharashtrian people in an attempt to resist the British rule. Though the British regime clamped down very heavily on political opposition and rebellion, they did not interfere with religious observances. Hence, the Ganesh festival provided a space to show national unity. In 1893, Tilak reinvented the Ganesh Chaturthi, converting it from an annual family celebration to a full-fledged public event.

Rituals and Customs

The preparation for the festival begins months earlier with artisans crafting clay images of Ganesh in different sizes. These idols are installed in specially decorated pandals (temporary structure used in religious events) or at homes. The 10-day long celebration follows the Hindu lunar calendar, with the biggest spectacle taking place on the last day called Anant Chaturdashi. On the first day, amid chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya, thousands of devotees take the idol of Lord Ganesh home, and after its installation, perform a ceremony to invoke His holy presence into the statue. This ritual is called the Prana Pratishtha, during which a number of mantras are recited, a special worship ceremony is performed, offerings of sweets, flowers, rice, coconut, jaggery, and coins are made, and the statue is anointed with red chandan (sandalwood) powder. For the next 10 days the idol is worshipped every day and an arti is sung in the evening. It is believed that Lord Ganesh was born at midday, and consequently it is considered to be the most auspicious time of the day for performing the rituals.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival that is celebrated with utmost pride and enthusiasm in the public arena. Apart from prayers and special events being conducted in temples that are devoted to Lord Ganesh, elaborately crafted statues of the Lord are installed in specially constructed and beautifully decorated pandals. In fact, amongst the local communities a competition to put up the most impressive Ganesh statue on display goes on for 10 days. Devotees make it a point to visit the various public displays during the festival. In Maharashtra, the Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshostsav Mandal, founded in 1934, is of of the most famous and the most visited Ganesh pandals.

The culmination of this festival on the 11th day is a spectacular event. On the last day of the festival, Anant Chaturdashi, the statues are paraded through the streets amidst singing and dancing, and then immersed in the ocean or other water bodies. The immersion of the statues and their subsequent destruction reinforces the belief that the universe is in a constant state of change, and eventually gives away to formlessness. The act of immersion denotes the circle of life. The chant of Ganpati Bappa Morya fills the air as the devotees bid farewell and pray for the deity’s early return the following year. While business owners pray to Lord Ganesh for prosperity, farmers pray for abundant harvests. It is believed that in the city of Mumbai alone, more than 150,000 statues are immersed every year!

Food – An Integral part of the Festivities

The innumerable festivals that are celebrated in India are enriched with mouth-watering sweets and lavish meals. Each festival of our country unveils a treasure trove of flavours, with each region offering its own unique twist. Sweetmeats like laddoos, barfis, and mithais are a permanent fixture and one gets to see and eat them during most festivals. However, each festival has a distinct set of delicacies. The 10-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival infuses an atmosphere akin to a carnival. This is one festival that overflows with sweet offerings, as Lord Ganesh is believed to be very fond of them. So, from modaks, to laddoos and barfis, homes and sweet shops prepare some of the most exquisite sweet delicacies.


Bhog serves a dual purpose. It refers to the food that is served to all those who come to pay their respects to Lord Ganesh and it is also the food that is offered to Him during worship. Apart from sweets and other delicacies, fruits are also offered as bhog. However, bananas, being His favourite fruit, take precedence over all the others.


This particular sweet is believed to be Lord Ganesh’s all-time favourite. He is in fact referred to as Modakpriya in the scriptures owing to His great love for these sweet dumplings. Hence, on the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees offer Him a bhog of modak. These sweet offerings were traditionally made out of rice flour and jaggery. The modak today has several variations like steamed modak, dry fruit modak, chocolate modak, fried modak, and the like.


Along with modak, Lord Ganesha is also said to be very fond of laddoos. The delectable motichoor laddoo is one of the most common form of laddoos offered to Him in the bhog. Lord Ganesh is often depicted as holding motichoor laddoos in His hands, whether in pictures or idols, reflecting His immense fondness for them. Other melt-in-the-mouth laddoos that are popular during the festival are the coconut laddoos and til ke laddoos.


Satori is a Maharashtrian sweet flat bread, that is a much-loved festival sweet of the state. It is a rich delicacy made from khoya or mawa, ghee, gram flour (besan) and milk.

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice is one of the most common offerings to the deity in Western India. This is a rice-based dish prepared by soaking white rice in coconut milk or cooking it with coconut flakes. This delicious and fragrant preparation is a very popular bhog item for Lord Ganesha.


Shrikand is a sweet dish popular in many parts of India. It is made of strained yogurt, and is topped with chunky nuts and raisins.

Banana Sheera

Banana Sheera, an easy-to-make sweet treat, is yet another popular offering to Lord Ganesha. Made of mashed bananas, semolina and sugar, the texture and taste of sheera is very similar to the melt-in-the-mouth sooji ka halwa (sweet made out of semolina).

Puran Poli

Puran Poli is a traditional Indian stuffed bread. It is basically a flatbread made out of wheat, that has a sweet stuffing which is enhanced with spices like cardamom and nutmeg. The word puran refers to the stuffing, while poli refers to the flatbread.

Puran Poli

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals”. This oft repeated quote epitomises Ganesh Chaturthi. This sacred festival propagates co-existence and harmony, as it bridges the gap between people. Apart from all the feasting and exuberance that this festival exudes, the people eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Lord of Peace, and the Harbinger of Happiness and Prosperity. Today, there is also a lot of awareness in terms of organic choices for the Ganapati idol, and methods that affect marine life and pollute the environment are discouraged.

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is marked by fervour, hope, and a prayer for a better tomorrow. Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a Hindu festival that honors the beloved elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh and celebrates his arrival to earth from the holy mountain Kailash Parvbat with his mother, goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is known as the god of new beginnings and is worshipped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune.

This festival is widely celebrated in the bustling city of Mumbai and across the state of Maharastra in streets and temples with many rituals and a lot of joy.

The highlight of this festival is the many statues or idols of Ganesh that are built and placed in pandals across different cities and neighborhoods of the state. Local communities compete with each other to build the most impressive Ganesh statue and most beautiful pandal.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Ganesh Chaturthi including when it is, how to celebrated, and where to celebrated.


Ganesh Chaturthi

The very popular holiday, Ganesh Chaturthi, is a 10-day festival that celebrates the birth of the elephant-headed deity Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. Ganesh is worshipped as the god of prosperity and wisdom.

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in a very public manner and preparations for the festivities begin months in advance. Locals and business organizations will donate funds to communities to make the Ganesh idols.

When the statues are finished by the artists and designers, they will be placed in a decorated pandal the day before the festival begins.

At the start of the festival, idols of Ganesh are placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents. A ritual called pranapratishtha is performed to invoke life in the idols and then followed by shhodashopachara, or the 16 ways of paying tribute.

At the end of the festival, the idols are carried to local rivers in huge processions including drumming, singing, and dancing. They are then immersed in water, symbolizing Ganesh’s homeward journey to Mount Kailas, the home of his parents, Shiva and Parvathi.

Vinayaka Chaturthi

Lord Vinayaka
Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis. According to Hindu scriptures Chaturthi Tithi(s) belongs to Lord Ganesha. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Purnimasi or full moon during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.

Although Vinayaka Chaturthi fasting is done every month but the most significant Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in month of Bhadrapada. Vinayaka Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.

Vinayaka Chaturthi is also known as Varad Vinayaka Chaturthi. Varad means “asking God to fulfill any desire one has”. Lord Ganesha blesses devotees with wisdom and patience who observe this fast. The wisdom and patience are two virtues whose significance is known to human kind since ages. Anyone who possesses these virtues can progress in life and can achieve whatever one desires.

Ganesha Puja on Vinayaka Chaturthi is done during afternoon which is midday according to Hindu calendar. The Muhurta to worship lord Ganesha during afternoon is listed along with Vinayaka Chaturthi dates.

Location based Vinayaka Chaturthi Days
It is important to understand that fasting day for Vinayaka Chaturthi might differ for two cities even if those cities are within same Indian state. Fasting for Vinayaka Chaturthi depends on sunrise and sunset timings and it is observed when Chaturthi Tithi prevails during midday. Hence Vinayaka Chaturthi fasting might be observed on Tritiya Tithi i.e. one day before Chaturthi Tithi. As midday time depends on sunrise and sunset, which are different for all cities, it is important to refer Hindu calendar like this website which lists location based Vinayaka Chaturthi days. As generating location based dates are time consuming most sources ignore this fact and publish single list for all Indian cities.

Ganesh Chaturthi History

Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most important Hindu festival in India. It is the day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati was born. The day thus marks the auspicious birth of one of the most important Hindu God. This day is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in many parts of the country. It is celebrated on of fourth day of the waxing moon period in the month of Bhaadrapada according to the Hindu calendar. According to the Gregorian calendar, this day falls between 20 August and 15 September. The festival is celebrated with immense enthusiasm in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh for ten days. If you want to explore the origin and history of this festival, you can refer to the article given here.

According to the legend, the festival marks the auspicious day of the birth of Lord Ganesha. The story goes as follows- Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of resolution, was away from Kailash due to some work. As Parvati was alone at home, she felt the necessity of some one to guard the door to her house while she took bath. When she did not get any one, she conceived of the idea of creating a son who could guard her. She then created Ganesha out of her sandalwood paste and breathed life into the idol. She then asked him to stand on the gate and do not let any body enter until she came out. Unfortunately, Shiva returned home in the meantime. As, Ganesha did recognize him, he stopped Shiva from entering as per his mother’s advice. This badly enraged Lord Shiva, who cut off Ganesha’s head by his trident. When Parvati saw beheaded Ganesha, took on the form of the Goddess Kali and threatened to destruct all the three worlds.

The earth, the heaven, the nether world, all was shaken and every body ran to Shiva for solution. In order to appease Lord Parvati and save the world from destruction, Lord Shiva sent out his followers to find a child whose mother is facing another direction in negligence, cut off his head and bring it quickly. The first such child that came in the eyes of the Shiva followers was an elephant, so they brought the head of this elephant and Shiva placed it on the trunk of Parvati’s son and gave life into him. Parvati was the overwhelmed with happiness and embraced her son. They named her Ganesha i.e the Lord of all Ganas (followers).

Though the festival is being celebrated since times immemorial, the present kind of celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi came in fashion in 1893, Lokmanya Tilak, an Indian freedom fighter and social reformer reshaped the annual Ganesh festival from a private family celebration into a community event. The day was conceived to be the National Festival in order to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins in the society. Tilak chose this festival for this purpose because Lord Ganesh was considered to be the ‘ God of Everyman’. It then served as a meeting ground for people of all community and religion on a public platform. Since then the festival has served its cause of existence. Even now people irrespective of caste and community barriers celebrate this festival with great joy.

Ganesh Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chavithi

Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaviti is celebrated in honor of Lord Ganesha, who is also known as Vinayaka, Vighnesvara, Ganapathi, and by numerous other names. He is one of the most popular deities of Hinduism and regarded as the leader of Shiva’s bands of warriors (ganas). The festival falls on the fourth day in the first half of the month of Bhadrapada according to the Hindu calendar, which approximately corresponds to the months of August or September. Being a popular festival, which heralds the festive season for the Hindus, it is celebrated throughout India, and abroad in several countries, where Hindus are present.


We do not know when, and how the tradition of worshipping Ganesha on Chaturthi began. Lord Ganesha was not a Vedic god although scholars draw a connection between him and the Vedic deity, Brihaspathi or Brahmanaspati, the teacher of Vedic gods. However, he is mentioned in the Mahabharata as the deity who transcribed the entire epic when Vyasa narrated it to him. He might have been a popular a deity of the Agama and Tantra traditions of Shaivism or Shaktism or both. Yajnavalkya Smriti ascribes to him negative qualities. Some scholars suggest that prototypes of Ganesha were worshipped in prehistoric times even outside India.

The tradition of worshipping an elephant headed deity might have been prevalent in the royal armies, where elephants played a prominent part in the battlefield as the destroyers of enemies. Alternatively, he might have been a deity of the rural and folk traditions in the areas where agricultural crops were exposed to frequent destruction by elephants and rats. Whatever may be the antecedents, Ganesha was a popular god of Hinduism by the medieval period. Images of Ganesha were unearthed from several sites, some of them as old as 7th Century AD. There was an ancient sect by the name Ganapathya sect (6th Century AD) which worshipped him as Brahman himself.

The popularity of Ganesha Chaturthi on a scale that we witness today is a recent phenomenon. Few decades ago, the festival was celebrated in public in certain important towns and cities only. Most people worshipped him at home, since it followed immediately the harvest season and heralded the beginning of new festive season for the Hindu year. For common people, it was an occasion to express gratitude to the deity and seek his help and protection in their personal lives. They prayed to him for success and prosperity in their lives and celebrated the festival with great enthusiasm. Nowadays, the social or communal aspect of the celebration is more striking as it is celebrated in public on a massive scale with great pomp and color almost in every village, town and city of India, and even abroad.

The public celebration of the festival said to have begun in the Maratha kingdom, especially in Pune, during the time of Shivaji (1630–1680 AD), the great Maratha ruler and founder of the Maratha empire, which at its height covered vast tracts of central and southern India. The Peshwas, who were the royal administrators of the empire, continued the tradition. They worshipped Ganesha as their family deity (Kula devata) and built many temples in his honor. After the fall of the Maratha empire, the public celebration of the festival fell into disuse. In places like Goa, the public celebration of the festival was even prohibited. The celebration of the festival continued at several places in the erstwhile Maratha empire such as Gwalior, however on a very subdued scale.

The tradition was again revived in Maharashtra in 1890s by Bala Gangadhar Tilak, one of the well-known public personalities and freedom fighters of British India. In the public appeal of Ganesha and the festival, Tilak saw a huge opportunity to unite the native people against the British regime and inculcate in them feelings of unity and nationalism. It was under his initiative people began to install large public images of Ganesha in the pavilions during the festival and carry them in large processions through crowded streets for their submergence in the water bodies. In time, the festival became popular throughout India. Nowadays, people celebrate it as one of the major and popular Hindu festival. Because of the festival and the visual appeal of the deity, Ganesha is currently one of the most popular and celebrated deities of Hinduism.

How the festival is celebrated?

As stated before, the festival is celebrated by people both at homes and in public according to convenience. Both are not mutually exclusive. People worship him both at home and in public if it suits them. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 1-14 days according to convenience. Some do it for only one day, and by evening carry the statue to a water body and immerse it. Others do it for three days or seven days. The public celebrations usually continue from10-14 days.

The first day is the most important, since it is the day on which the deity is invited to the place of worship through invocations and directly worshipped in living form. From then on until the day of immersion, he is worshipped with reverence and devotion. People from the neighborhood continue to visit the places where he is installed, offer their homage and participate in the celebrations. Although household celebrations are more common during the festival, public celebrations receive wider attention due to the festive atmosphere, community involvement and the intense business and commercial activity they generate.


Worship at home.

On the day of the festival, men and women wake up in the early morning. In the rural areas men go out, bathe in the public ponds or canals and go into the fields. They collect leaves, flowers and twigs for the worship and return home to make further arrangements. Women also wake up in the early morning and prepare various types of traditional foods and delicacies, which are known to be dearer to the god. In urban areas, people mostly buy food as well as ritual material from local vendors for the worship.

The worship of Ganesha lasts for a few hours and is usually done in the early morning. It may be done by the devotees themselves, or with the help of priests. If the priest is involved, a day or two before the worship, he will give elaborate instructions as to what materials should be kept ready and what arrangements should be made. There is an advantage in engaging priests since they recite the mantras with accuracy and take care of the ritual observances, with which common people may not be familiar. However, since Ganesha is a Saiva deity, there are no caste restrictions on who should or should not worship him. People from all backgrounds have the permission to worship him directly. If there is any requirement, it is about cleanliness, commitment, devotion, and sincerity. Ganesha is a god of benevolence as well as destruction because of his association with the Tantras. Hence, no one should take liberties with him or invoke his wrath.

The worship of Ganesha is an elaborate ritual. It is mostly based upon the smarta tradition, and follow the same pattern as in case of the worship of many other deities. The central idea is that you invite the deity, the way you will invite any guest who visits your house, and you will honor him with love and attention. To begin with, you give him water to wash his feet (padyam), water to drink (achamaniyam), and a comfortable seat (asanam) to sit and relax. Then, you make arrangements for his bath, give him refreshments, clothes and food and have a nice and pleasant conversation with him through numerous chants and prayers while he enjoys the food you serve and the love and attention you shower upon him. Finally, when all observances are done, he blesses you, grants your wishes and goes his way. The following is a traditional account of the worship of Ganesha. There can be local and regional variations, but this is the standard format.

On the day of the worship, devotees should choose a place in the northeastern corner of the house to conduct the worship. They should clean it with water and decorate it with flowers and traditional floral designs. A wooden stool, not very low or high, should be placed at the center of it, which should be cleaned and decorated because it is the foundation for the whole ritual. A statue of Ganesha, made of clay or even rice paste, should be placed on it, and decorated with vermillion, turmeric, and sandal paste. A clean betel leaf should be placed on the stool, on a bed or rice, before or by the side of the Ganesha image. An image of the Ganesha should be made with turmeric paste and placed on it. Oil lamps should be placed in the corners and lighted. A few incense sticks should be lighted and placed in the stand before him to create an atmosphere of reverential solemnity.

After these preliminary arrangements, family members should sit before the deity in a group and start the worship. The ritual worship should begin with the utterance of Aum or a prayer. Usually, the devotees begin it by chanting the names of Kesava (kesavanamas). Then the worshipper should do self-cleansing (atma-shuddi) by sprinkling water on himself, followed by cleansing of the earth (bhu-shuddi), uttering specific mantras for each cleansing ritual. The next step is reciting the Gayatri mantra, or any mantra traditionally used by the family or given by the guru, and making a declaration of intention (sankalpa). In the sankapla, worshippers have to specify clearly at what place, on what auspicious date, time, and moment, in which week, month, and season of the calendar year, which persons, belonging to which gotra and family, for what specific purpose (health, wealth, etc.), and for the satisfaction of which deity or deities they have gathered to conduct the worship. The wording is a standard format, which is used in almost every Hindu ritual worship.

After that, they have to install the sacred water pot (kalasam) by decorating it with turmeric, vermillion, flowers and coconut, chanting appropriate mantras. Next, they have to throw a few turmeric mixed rice grains (akshatas) on the image of Ganesha, touch it with their right hand, utter a few mantras to invoke the deity and install their own life breaths. This ritual is called Prana Pratishta. After the deity is firmly installed in the minds and hearts of the devotees, they have to proceed to worship him further in the following manner. Each of the below mentioned step involves an offering accompanied by a prayer or a mantra and the sequence is more or less the same. It is done according to the traditional, Hindu manners and etiquette, which are customarily extended to any guest who visits the house of a Hindu householder.

  1. Dhyanam: A prayer is offered mentally or verbally to Ganesha, extolling him.
  2. Avahanam: Ganesha is invited along with his vehicle (vahanam) to the place of worship with a reverential mantra.
  3. Asanam: Ganesha is offered a seat of honor, which is customary in Hindu tradition when a guest arrives.
  4. Arghyam: This is cleansing ritual in which water is sprinkled on the deity with a flower, along with a mantra and a salutation.
  5. Padyam: This is an offering of water to Ganesha for the cleansing of his feet, and again it is part of an honor that is due to a guest who comes by walk from outside.
  6. Achamaniyam: It is an offering of water to the deity for drinking to quench his thirst since he has come from a long distance.
  7. Madhuparkam: This is an offering of sweet beverage made of curd, honey, Jaggery, or sugar for drinking. Any sweet drink will do.
  8. Panchamruta snanam: In this, the deity is offered the sacred mixture for ritual bathing, which is made of five types of substances namely cow milk, curd, ghee, honey, and sugar or sweet water.
  9. Suddhodaka snanam: It is the offering of clean water (gathered from various rivers) for ablution or a clean bath.
  10. Vasthram: This is the offering of new clothes according to one’s capacity. Usually in the rituals a piece of cloth or cotton yarn is placed before or on the deity. In more elaborate rituals real clothes are gifted, which go to the share of the main priest.
  11. Upavitham or Yajnopavitham: This is the offering of sacred thread, which is traditionally worn by the Brahmanas and a few higher castes.
  12. Gandham: This is the offering of scent or sandal paste mixed with other natural salts and perfumes (karpuram and kasturi) for the deity’s body.
  13. Akshitan: In this ritual rice grains, mixed with turmeric and vermillion, are showered upon the head of the deity.
  14. Pushpam: Various types of flowers are offered to the deity.
  15. Adhanga or Sarvanga puja: In this, the devotee worships the deity’s body, specifying each bodily part along with a mantra, from the feet upwards to the forehead.
  16. Adha ekavimsathi pathra Puja: This involves the worship of Ganesha with 21 different types of leaves, which are considered very sacred and dearer to him. With each offering a specific form of Ganesha is invoked. The number 21 is probably a reference to 21 tattvas.
  17. Athashtottara sathanama puja: In this the worshipper invokes 108 names of Ganesha in reverential praise to signify his greatness, qualities, victories and virtues. Devotees should add Aum before and Namah (salutation) at the end of each name when they utter those names.
  18. Dhupam: After the above mentioned ritual, one should light a piece of camphor in a plate or in large spoon, offer it to the deity and show it to the worshippers for their salutations.
  19. Dipam: This is the offering of light or a lighted oil lamp (arathi) to the deity, accompanied by salutations and prayers as mentioned above.
  20. Naivedyam: All types of food, which is cooked in the household for the specific purpose, along with water and sweet drinks, should be placed before the deity and offered with great love and devotion.
  21. Suvarna Pushpam: This is an offering of flowers to the deity as an honor and respect, after he has been served a good meal to make him feel more comfortable and at home.
  22. Thambulam: It is an offering of betel nut, limestone paste, spices, and sweeteners wrapped in betel leaves, which serves as a mouth freshener and digester. It is usually taken after a meal by many traditional Hindus. The paan or khilly is the modern version.
  23. Neerajanam: This is an offering of prostrations before the deity by the devotees to express humility, devotion and surrender.
  24. Atha doorvaa-yugma puja: This is an invocation of 10 popular names of Ganesha.
  25. Mantra pushpam: This is a salutation to Ganehsa by the worshipper, holding flowers and a few coins in the hands to express reverence and gratitude (sumanjali). The money is given away in charity or to the priest.
  26. Prarthana: This is the offering of a prayer of praise, seeking the blessings of Ganesha for success in all endeavors. Devotee may also do pradakshina (circumambulations) around themselves, while they pray.
  27. Vayana danam: This the gifting of traditional sweets, snacks or cakes, which are usually offered to a guest for his return journey before his departure from the home.
  28. Pratigraha mantram: In this a reverential prayer is uttered by the householder and his family to Ganesha, requesting him to accept the gifts that have been offered to him for his return journey.
  29. Pratima Danam: This is a prayerful farewell by the worshippers to the deity, who has thus far been established in the image, declaring that the worship is now concluded. While they recite it, they do pradakshinas, expressing gratitude, and seek his forgiveness for any mistakes in the performance of the ritual and for the sins of their past lives. At the end of it, the main worshipper or the priest places few rice grains upon his own head, and moves the images slightly with his right hand. The act denotes that Ganesha has departed from the statue in which he was previously installed and left the place of worship to return to his abode in Kailash.
  30. Katha: According to tradition, the ritual worship of Ganesha on the day of the festival is incomplete unless worshippers listen with devotion to the stories of his exploits and greatness, and know the significance of Ganesh Chaturthi and the importance of his worship. Devotees do not leave the place of the ritual until they listen to his stories, as the priest or the main worshipper narrates them. Once the narration is complete, they once again offer an Arati (light) to Ganesha and conclude the worship with benediction to all who are present.
  31. Prasadam: In the end Prasadam, or the remains of the sacrifical offerings are distributed among all the worshipper who grace the occastion. After the worship, the family members share a rich meal and celebrate the occasion.
  32. Nimajjanam: This is the immersion of Ganesha statue with the ritual material in a pond or water body to signify that the tattvas that are present in the temporary body of Ganesha which was created by the worshippers for the specific purpose have been returned to their natural, elemental state.

Public worship

Public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi are organized by local people, community leaders, youth groups, street gangs, traders, home associations, and business people. Funds for the celebration are collected from various sources including residents and business people. Since all types of people participate in fund collection, it often results in controversy in some places as people feel pressurized or intimated to make the donations. However, overall it is a peaceful process as most people understand that they are engaged in a sacred task

The money which is collected for the festival is primarily spent to purchase the statues of Ganesha, erect ceremonial tent-shelters or awnings, which are known as shamianas or pandals where the statues are installed, to decorate them, and to organize daily worship. From the day of the festival and until the day of immersion, Ganesha is worshipped with a lot of devotion and fanfare. People visit the pandals according to their convenience and pay their respects.

Besides worship, organizers arrange several cultural and entertainment activities such as singing, dancing, religious discourses, play acting, devotional singing, and games, in which people of all ages participate and enjoy. The statues for the celebration come in various shapes and sizes, some as tall as 50ft to100ft.

On the seventh, tenth or 14th day, depending upon their convenience or local practices, people carry the statues on trucks, chariots and other vehicles in large processions to the nearby ponds, lakes, rivers, and seas and immerse them. As the festival has become extremely popular, the large scale immersion of Ganesha statues in local water bodies every year has raised numerous concerns about water pollution and other environmental problems.

Local variations and miscellaneous information

In some parts of rural Andhra Pradesh, a few days before the Ganesh Chaturthi young people collect barbed seeds of a local weed, known as palleru (bristly starbur or Texas cockspur), and spray them on the roads to trouble those who walk in the streets barefoot. It is to mark the unruliness of Shiva Ganas who are headed by Ganesha. Hence, people take the trouble lightly, and let the young ones have their fun. This practice may be unknown or in decline in several places.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a special occasion for many artisans and local artists in many parts of India to show their talent and artistry. Since Ganesha has numerous forms, gaits, and colors, they use their creative skills to make colorful images of him in clay or plaster of Paris and offer them for sale.

The city of Mumbai is the foremost among all metropolitan cities in celebrating the festival. Millions of people from all sections of society participate in the processions on the day of the immersion ceremony.

Students seek the blessings of Ganesha during the festival seeking success in the examinations. They place their books near the deity during worship and apply turmeric to the covers or corners for good luck.

Ganesha is a lover of rich foods. According to the legends, he has an insatiable appetite for food. He is especially fond of traditional sweetmeats called Undrallu and Kudumulu (made of boiled rice cakes).

In Goa a day after Ganesh Chaturthi, people celebrate Navyachi Pancham, a harvest festival, during which farmers bring freshly harvested paddy from the fields and worship the gods. People also refrain from eating non-vegetarian food during the celebration.

Ganesh Chaturthi as a festival has been traditionally observed in Pune since the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire, since Lord Ganesh was the family god or Kuldevata of the Peshwas. With their fall, the festival lost state patronage and became a private family celebration in Maharashtra until its revival by Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak.

Ganesh Chaturthi in its current form was introduced in 1892, when a Pune resident named Krishnajipant Khasgiwale visited Maratha-ruled Gwalior, where he witnessed the traditional public celebration and brought it to the attention of his friends, Bhausaheb Laxman Javale and Balasaheb Natu back home in Pune. Javale, who was also known as Bhau Rangari installed the first sarvajanik or public Ganesha idol following this.

Lokmanya Tilak praised Javale’s efforts in an article in his newspaper Kesari in 1893 and even installed a Ganesha idol in the news publication’s office the next year, and his efforts transformed the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organised public event. Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesha in pavilions, and established the practise of submerging the idols in rivers, the sea or other bodies of water on the tenth day of the festival.

Encouraged by him, Ganesh Chaturthi or Ganeshotsav, became a meeting ground for people from all castes and communities at a time when the British discouraged social and political gatherings to control the population. The festival facilitated community participation and involvement in the forms of intellectual discourse, poetry recitals, plays, concerts, and folk dances.

Tilak recognized Ganesha’s appeal as “the god for everybody”. He popularised Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival to “bridge the gap between Brahmins and ‘non-Brahmins’ and find a context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them”, generating nationalistic fervour in the Maharashtran people to oppose British colonial rule.

Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa in more of a family affair than a public festival due to the Goa Inquisition by the Portuguese due to which Hindus, who refused to convert to Christianity were severely restricted from expressing their religious beliefs. Many families worship Ganesha in the form of patri or leaves used for worshiping Ganesha or other gods or a picture drawn on paper or small silver idols. Lord Ganesha idols are hidden in some houses due to a ban on clay Ganesha idols and festivals by the Jesuits as part of the Inquisition.

Significance of the modak to Ganesh Chaturthi
The popular sweet dumpling modak, believed to be Lord Ganesha’s favorite food and hence during the Ganesha worship ceremony, the puja always concludes with an offering of twenty-one modaks to the deity and as prasad. Modaks made with rice flour shell are preferred for this purpose, however, wheat shell version are also used. Innovative recipes for modaks such as banana nachni modak, motichoor modak and chocolate modak among others have also been created.

The Legend and History of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival celebrated every year. This festival, also known as Vinayaka Chavithi, honours the birth of Lord Ganesha in the Hindu calendar’s Bhadra month, which runs from August to September. This celebration is known as Vinayaka Chavithi or Vinayaka Chaturthi in popular culture. About ten days of festivities culminate on Anant Chaturdashi, the fourteenth day of the waxing moon phase. It is held in honour of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity revered as the god of beginnings, wisdom, and the removal of obstacles.

During Ganesha Chaturthi, clay representations of Ganesha are placed in pandals or private residences, where they are worshipped for up to ten days before submerging in a water body. During this festival, Ganesha is said to grant all of his devotees his physical presence on earth. The festival is celebrated all over India, particularly in Maharashtra, with blustering zeal and ecstasy. Let’s trace the history of Ganesh Chaturthi, and how it became a worldwide phenomenon.

The Legend of Ganesh Chaturthi

There are many legends surrounding the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. The most well-known of these are related to Lord Shiva and Parvati. According to legend, Parvati used sandalwood to create Ganesha while her husband, Shiva was away. She designated Ganesha to watch over her house’s entrance while taking a bath. When he returned, Ganesha blocked Shiva from entering the building, eager to meet Parvati. This caused the two of them to fight. He initially makes vain attempts to persuade the boy. Shiva, the god of destruction, finally cuts off Ganesha’s head.

When Parvati caught sight of this scene, she transformed into the goddess Kali and declared that she would end the world. Everyone was concerned about this and prayed to Lord Shiva to find a solution and subdue Goddess Kali’s rage. Shiva then commanded all his followers to run off and find a child whose mother was neglectful, turning her back on her child and bringing his head. The followers saw the first child as an elephant, so they cut off his head and brought it to Lord Shiva as instructed.

The head was immediately placed on Ganesha’s body by Lord Shiva, who then revived it. Goddess Parvati was once more overpowered as Maa Kali’s rage subsided. Ganesha or Ganapati, the chief of the ganas or the attendants of Shiva, was given a warm welcome into the first family of the Hindu heavens and given the elephant-headed god’s name. The most important god in the Hindu pantheon is Ganesha. This valiant doorkeeper for Parvati’s bath is revered as the most auspicious deity of fresh starts. He is worshiped before people travel or start a new project and during all festivals. You will also see him carefully guarding entrances to temples and homes, peeping out of calendars and happily gracing marriages and other such occasions.

History of Ganesh Chaturthi During India’s Freedom Struggle

History of Ganesh Chaturthi in the freedom struggle began in 1892, when a Pune citizen named Krishnajipant Khasgiwale travelled to Maratha-ruled Gwalior and watched a traditional public festival, which he drew to the attention of his companions Bhausaheb Laxman Javale and Balasaheb Natu back in Pune. Javale, also known as Bhau Rangari, then installed the first sarvajanik, or public Ganesha idol, and held gatherings to celebrate Lord Ganesha.

However, as the British took over large swaths of India, the festival lost its public nature and state patronage. It was only a private celebration held by a few people in Maharashtra for a time. All of this changed when Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak championed the festival as a means of uniting Indians and instilling national pride. Tilak fought to make the Ganapati festival a social event for the entire Hindu community as the British banned public assemblies and cracked down on sedition.

In an article in his newspaper Kesari in 1893, Lokmanya Tilak complimented Javale’s efforts. He even erected a Ganesha statue in the news publication’s headquarters the following year, and his efforts transformed the yearly family festival into a significant, well-organized public event. Tilak was the first to build big public representations of Ganesha in pavilions, and he began the practice of immersing the idols on the tenth day of the celebration in rivers, the sea, or other bodies of water.

Ganesh Chaturthi, encouraged by him, became a meeting place for people of all castes and communities when the British prohibited social and political meetings to control the populace. The event encouraged community involvement and participation in intellectual dialogue, poetry recitals, plays, concerts, and traditional dances. Even Muslim leaders attended these annual gatherings and offered speeches exhorting citizens to strive for independence.

Tilak acknowledged Ganesha’s appeal as “the god for everyone.” He popularised Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival to “cross the divide between Brahmins and ‘non-Brahmins’ and find a framework to build a new grassroots unity amongst them,” fostering nationalistic fervour in the Maharashtra people in opposition to British colonial control.

Since then, Ganesh Chaturthi has been celebrated with enormous community excitement and participation throughout Maharashtra and other states. It was declared a national festival following India’s independence in 1947. Ganesh Chaturthi is now celebrated throughout Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and many other places in India. Because the celebration is so popular, preparations begin months in advance. Homes are cleaned days before the actual worship, and marquees are built on street corners to host the Lord’s idols. Lighting, decorating, mirrors, and flowers are all elaborately arranged. 

The artisans who create Ganesh idols compete to create larger and better sculptures. The relatively larger ones have heights ranging from 10 metres to 30 metres. The Lord is worshiped with great devotion during the festival days, and prayer services are held regularly. Modak and neuri, as well as other sweet and savoury treats, are relished and distributed. The length of the Lord’s visit varies by location; once the devotion is finished, the statues are taken on ornate floats and drowned in the sea. Thousands of people gather on the beaches to immerse the sacred idols in the sea.

Dancers and the sounds of frenetic drum beats, devotional music, and exploding firecrackers accompany the procession and immersion. The ceremony concludes with shouts of “Ganesh Maharaj Ki Jai!” (Hail Lord Ganesh!) when the idol is immersed, and with requests to the Lord to return the next year, with chanting of “Ganpati bappa morya, pudcha varshi laukar ya” (Hail Lord Ganesh, return soon next year). Tourists from all over the world go to Maharashtra’s sun-kissed beaches to see this amazing spectacle.

Ganpati pandals About
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, Pune Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, located in Pune, Maharashtra, is celebrated for its enchanting decorations and the colossal idol of Lord Ganesha that captivates the hearts of its devotees. Founded in the late 19th century by the renowned sweet merchant Dagdusheth Halwai and his wife Lakshmibai, this temple boasts a captivating history and a lasting legacy that continues to draw millions of worshippers annually. The temple’s central deity is an opulent 2.2-meter-tall gold idol of Lord Ganesha, embellished with precious jewels.
Manache Ganpati, Pune Located in Pune, Maharashtra, Manache Ganpati holds a distinctive and revered position among the numerous Ganesh temples within the city. “Manache Ganpati” translates to “Respected Ganpati” in Marathi, and it is the term used to denote a cluster of eight Ganesh temples that are traditionally venerated in a specific sequence during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Khairatabad Ganapathi, Hyderabad During Ganesh Chaturthi in Hyderabad, the Khairatabad Ganapathi pandal is a truly mesmerizing spectacle. This pandal features a colossal Lord Ganesha idol painstakingly crafted by skilled artisans. Towering at approximately 60 feet in height, this awe-inspiring idol magnetizes throngs of devotees and tourists alike during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The tradition of erecting the Khairatabad Ganapathi idol traces its origins back to 1954, initiated by the late S. Shankarayya, a local freedom fighter and social activist.
Shree Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav, Goa In Goa, the Shree Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav pandal is renowned for its deep religious devotion and cultural importance. The pandal’s vibrant decorations and intricate rituals are a magnet for both devotees and tourists. Notably, a recent trend has emerged where many pandals are opting for eco-friendly Ganesha idols and decorations.
Mysore Palace, Mysuru Mysore Palace Ganpati observes Ganesh Chaturthi with grandeur and regal opulence, infusing a touch of royal splendour into the celebrations. The Mysore Palace Ganpati pandal is truly a sight to behold, bedecked with intricate decorations, vibrant illuminations, and traditional motifs, adding to the allure of this majestic event.
RK Math, Kolkata RK Math, situated in Kolkata, stands as an iconic institution that observes Ganesh Chaturthi with profound fervor and devotion. During the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, the tranquil surroundings of RK Math transform into a vibrant hub of celebrations, combining spirituality with festive enthusiasm.
Sri Vinayaka Devaru Temple, Bengaluru Devotees flock to the Sri Vinayaka Devaru Temple during the ten-day festival, eager to seek blessings and offer their prayers to Lord Ganesha. Within the temple, the air resonates with the melodious tunes of bhajans and devotional songs, creating an atmosphere filled with spiritual fervor and exuberant celebrations.
Rent a car in Pune and conveniently cover your religious circuit without any difficulties. Visit the manaches and gather the blessings of Lord Ganesha. In case you want to explore the picturesque getaways near Pune, you may want to take a trip to Mahabaleshwar or Lonavala.

History of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the most sacred Hindu festivals, celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha – the supreme God of wisdom and prosperity. This annual occassion is observed by the whole of Hindu community with great fervor and piety. Do you know how this festival came to be practiced? If not, scroll down and read our informative article on the history and origin of Ganesh Chaturthi. Know all about the earliest Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and how it evolved over the time. If you like our article on the history of Ganesh Chaturthi, do not forget to click here and send this page to your friends and dear ones. Have a grand time this Ganesh Chaturthi. May the Lord bless you and all your loved ones.

Ganesh Chaturthi or “Vinayak Chaturthi” is one of the major traditional festivals celebrated by the Hindu community. It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Typically the day falls sometime between August 20 and September 15. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi, and is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the son of Shiva (The God of Destruction in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) and Parvati (Shiva’s consort). The cutest and most lovable Indian God, Ganesha or Ganpati has the head of an elephant on which rests an elegant tiara, four podgy hands joined to a sizeable belly with each hand holding its own symbolic object – a trishul or a trident in one, an ankush or goad (made from his very own broken tooth) in another, a lotus in the third and a rosary (which is sometimes replaced by modaks, his favourite sweet) in the fourth. Revered as the deity of auspiciousness and wisdom, Lord Ganesha is also famous for being a trickster and for his profound sense of humour.

It is believed that Lord Ganesh was born on a fourth day (chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh. Since then, an association between Ganesh and chaturthi has been established. Thus the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha on this chaturthi day is named as Ganesh Chaturthi.

There is a curiously interesting tale about the birth of Ganesha. It is believed that once while Parvati was bathing, she created a human figure from some unguent and balm, gave him life and asked him to guard the door while she bathed. After a long period of meditation on Mountain Kailash (Lord Shiva’s abode), Shiva chose that very moment to drop by to see his better half, but was abruptly stopped by the man-god Parvati had posted at the door. Outraged by the cheek of this stranger, Shiva cut off his head only to discover moments later that he had killed Parvati’s son! For fear of enraging his wife, Shiva immediately dispatched his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. Well, the first living creature happened to be an elephant. As instructed, the head was chopped off and brought back to Shiva, who placed it on Parvati’s son’s body, bringing him back to life. This elephant-headed god was welcomed into the first family of the Hindu heavens and named Ganesha or Ganapati, which literally means the chief of the ganas, or the attendants of Shiva. Ganesha is the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon. This brave guardian of the door to Parvati’s bath is beheld today as the most auspicious God of new beginnings. He is worshipped during every festival and before people undertake a journey or embark upon a new venture. You will also see him carefully guarding entrances to temples and homes, peeping out of calendars and happily gracing marriages and other such occasions.

It is not known when and how Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated. But according to the historian Shri Rajwade, the earliest Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations can be traced back to the times of the reigns of dynasties as Satavahana, Rashtrakuta and Chalukya. Historical records reveal that Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were initiated in Maharashtra by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, to promote culture and nationalism. And it had continued ever since. There are also references in history to similar celebrations during Peshwa times. It is believed that Lord Ganapati was the family deity of the Peshwas. After the end of Peshwa rule, Ganesh Chaturthi remained a family affair in Maharashtra from the period of 1818 to 1892.

1857 was a landmark year for India and moreso in the context of Indian freedom. It was the year of Sepoy Mutiny, an armed rebellion against the ruling British Empire by the Indian soldiers. This was the first war that India waged to gain back her independence from her white rulers. Though unsuccesful, this battle marked the beginning of the Indian struggle for independence. Many orators, leaders and freedom fighters all over India teamed to put up a united resistance to the British domination. One of these eminent leaders was Bal Gangadhar Tilak, an Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter. Greatly esteemed by the Indian people, especially of Maharashtra, Tilak was commonly referred to as “Lokmanya” or “he who is regarded by the people”. It was Tilak, who brought back the tradition of Ganesh Chaturthi and reshaped the annual Ganesh festival from private family celebrations into a grand public event.

Lokamanya saw how Lord Ganesha was worshipped by the upper stratum as well as the rank and file of India. The visionary that he was, Tilak realized the cultural importance of this deity and popularised Ganesha Chaturthi as a National Festival “to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them” in his nationalistic strivings against the British in Maharashtra. He knew that India couldn’t fight her rulers until she solved the differences within her own. Hence, to unite all social classes Tilak chose Ganesha as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule because of his wide appeal as “the god for Everyman”.

It was around 1893, during the nascent stages of Indian nationalism, that Tilak began to organize the Ganesh Utsav as a social and religious function. He was the first to put in large public images of Ganesha in pavilions and establish the tradition of their immersion on the tenth day. The festival facilitated community participation and involvement in the form of learned discourses, dance dramas, poetry recital, musical concerts, debates, etc. It served as a meeting place for common people of all castes and communities, at a time when all social and political gatherings were forbidden by the British Empire for fear of conspiracies to be hatched against them. An important festival during the Peshwa era, Ganesha Chaturthi acquired at this time a more organized form all over India largely due to Lokmanya’s efforts.

Since then, Ganesh Chaturthi has been celebrated throughout Maharashtra as also in other states with great community enthusiasm and participation. With the independence of India in 1947, it was proclaimed to be a national festival.

Today, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and many other parts of India. The festival is so popular that the preparations begin months in advance. Days before the actual worship, homes are cleaned and marquees erected at street corners to house the idols of the Lord. Elaborate arrangements are made for lighting, decoration, mirrors and flowers. The artisans who make the idols of Ganesh vie with each other to make bigger and better sculptures. The sizes of the relatively larger ones range anywhere from 10 meters to 30 meters in height. These are installed in marquees and in homes prior to the Puja (worship). During the festival days, the Lord is worshipped with great devotion and prayer services are performed daily. The duration of the Lord’s stay varies from place to place; once the worship is complete, the statues are carried on decorated floats to be immersed in the sea after one, three, five, seven and ten days. Thousands of processions converge on the beaches to immerse the holy idols in the sea. This procession and immersion is accompanied with dancing and the sound of exciting drum-beats, devotional songs and exploding firecrackers. As the idol is immersed amidst loud chants of “Ganesh Maharaj Ki Jai!” (Hail Lord Ganesh), the festival comes to an end with pleas to the Lord to return the next year with chants of “Ganpati bappa morya, pudcha varshi laukar ya” (Hail Lord Ganesh, return again soon next year). Tourists from all over the world come to witness this wonderful event in the sun kissed beaches of Goa and Mumbai.

While celebrated all over India, Ganesh Chaturthi festivities are most elaborate in states like Maharashtra, Goa (It is the biggest festival for Konkani people all over the world), Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas which were former states of the Maratha Empire. Outside India, it is celebrated in Nepal by the Newars.

In the 21st century, with the world turning fast into a global village, Ganesh Chaturthi is now celebrated all over the world, wherever there is a presence of a Hindu community.

Vinayaka Chaturthi Festiva

Vinayaka Chaturthi Festival Tamil Nadu

Bowing down to seek blessings from Lord Ganesha are the Tamil natives and tourists from across the globe swarming in the state to relish Vinayaka Chaturthi. This festival which is celebrated on the fourth day in the month of Bhadrapada (August- September) is one of the most sought-after reasons for an auspicious vacation in Tamilnadu. According to Hindu mythology, it’s on this day that Lord Shiva beheaded Ganesha for not letting him set foot in his own abode as Ganesha was asked to guard while Goddess Parvati takes a bath. Upon knowing the reality, Lord realised his fault and gave life back to Ganesha by placing an elephant head on his body which was brought by one of his ganas. As for the celebrations, from the time Shivaji, the Maratha King ruled in India, the festivities used to take place as a public event by placing a public idol of the deity, where the first one ever was positioned by Bhausaheb Laxman Javale. Taking the legacy forth, to bring unity in Brahmins and Non-Brahmins, the famous Indian Nationalist Lokmanya Tilak turned the private celebration of this popular festival of Tamilnadu to a public scale. Much to everyone’s surprise, Vinayaka Chaturthi also has its charm in tourism destinations like Cambodia, Afghanistan, China, Thailand and Nepal.

Brief History of the Festival

Going by the Hindu legend that is attached to the celebration of this festival, it is said that once Lord Shiva along with his Ganas(attendants) went out for hunting while Goddess Parvati (Lord Shiva’s wife) was alone in their abode and wished of taking a bath. Finding no Ganas around, the Goddess sculpted Ganesha out of mud and asked him to guard the house and not let anyone come inside. Adhering to what the Goddess said, Ganesha didn’t let even Lord Shiva enter the house, by which the Lord was enraged and beheaded Ganesha. Upon coming across the fatal incident, the Goddess was distressed making Lord Shiva realise that what he did was wrong. And hence he commanded one of his Ganas to bring back the head of the first animal he spots sleeping with his face towards the north and they brought the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva gave life back to Ganesha by placing the elephant’s head on his body. It is believed that this event was observed on the fourth day of the month Bhadrapada(August-September).

Vinayaka Chaturthi

In Hindu scriptures, Chaturthi Tithi belongs to Lord Ganesha, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There are two Chaturthi Tithis (fourth day) in each lunar month in the Hindu Calendar, namely Vinayaka Chaturthi and Sankashti Chaturthi. Vinayaka Chaturthi falls after the new moon or Amavasya during Shukla Paksha in a lunar month, while Sankashti Chaturthi falls after the full moon day or Purnima during Krishna Paksha every month. Lord Ganesha signifies prosperity, wisdom and good fortune. He is believed to be the remover of obstacles and also the lord of learning.

Vinayaka Chaturthi Dates

While a fast for Vinayaka Chaturthi is observed every month, the most important Vinayak Chaturthi falls in the month of Bhadrapada, and is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, which marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, is celebrated throughout India with enthusiasm. At the end of the 10-day festival, devotees carry out a procession with fanfare to immerse idols of Lord Ganesha. The idols are set up (sthapna) at pandals or homes, where Ganesh Chaturthi puja is done.

Importance Of Ganesh Chaturthi / Vinayaka Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, dedicated to Pratham Pujya Lord Ganesha, begins on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the Shukla Paksha in Bhadrapada month and goes on for 10 days. As per the Gregorian calendar, the day usually falls in August or September. Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are done on a large scale in Maharashtra. Devotees chant the mantra of ‘Ganpati Bappa Moriya’ during the 10-day long festivities. On the tenth day, Ganpati idols are carried in processions with music and bhajans to be immersed in the sea or nearby water bodies. It is believed that every year, for a period of 10 days, Lord Ganesha descends from Mount Kailasha to fulfill his worshippers’ desires and returns to his parents, Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva on the final day. Devotees bid him farewell by requesting him to return sooner the next year (Hindi: Ganpati Bappa Moriya, Agle Baras Tu Jaldi Aa).

Legend Of Ganesh Chaturthi / Vinayaka Chaturthi

The legend associated with his birth says that Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha from sand to keep guard while she bathed. The naive Lord Ganesha, dedicatedly watching over his mother, denied entry even to Lord Shiva. An enraged Lord Shiva chopped off his head to gain entry. Goddess Parvati told Lord Shiva that Ganesha was their child and asked for his life. Shiva asked the devas to look for a deceased individual who lies still facing North. The devas could only locate a dead elephant with its head pointing to the north and took its head to Lord Shiva, who put it on Lord Ganesha’s neck. This is also why Lord Ganesha is called Vakratunda and Gajanand.

Lord Ganesh Symbolism

Ganesha’s elephant head is symbolic of strength and the balance between knowledge and action, his large belly symbolises generosity and acceptance, his single tusk and small eyes represent one-pointedness and his upraised hand is symbolic of protection.

What Is Ganesh Chaturthi?

Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh, the Hindu deity of arts and sciences, as well as his mother, Parvati, the goddess of power, motherhood, and nourishment. Their arrival is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Lord Ganesh is sometimes referred to as Ganesha and is described as having the head of an elephant. Because the elephant is intelligent and powerful, people view Ganesh as being wise and go to him when they need help. Hindus around the world celebrate the Ganesh holiday with processions, music, food, and worship.

Why Is Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated?

There are two major versions of the birth and origin of the Hindu god Ganesh. In the first story, the Hindu goddess Parvati was taking a bath with no one to guard the door, so she formed a boy out of turmeric paste and breathed life into him. When the Hindu god Shiva (Parvati’s husband) went to check on Parvati, the boy, Ganesh, guarded the door and did not let him in. Shiva was taken aback, and out of fear of what Ganesh could be, decapitated him with his trident. The now angry and heartbroken Parvati was determined to go on a mission of destruction but made a deal that she wouldn’t if Ganesh was brought back to life and worshipped before the other gods. Shiva’s men went out and brought back the head of an elephant. The head was put on Ganesh and he was now worshipped as a god. This is the most widely believed Ganesh Chaturthi story.

In the second version, Parvati and Shiva were requested to create Ganesh so that he could create obstacles in order to protect everyone from demons. This version is less popular but has still had a lasting impact as people view Ganesh as a protector and averter of obstacles.

When Is Ganesh Chaturthi?

The time of Ganesh Chaturthi changes each year but always begins on the fourth day of Bhadrapada, the sixth month of the Hindu calendar, which correlates to August-September. The first record of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival is in the early 1600s, but with the British invasion, devotees had to celebrate privately since there was a fear of chaos and disruption. In 1892, freedom fighter Shrimant Bhausaheb Rangari witnessed a traditional Ganesh celebration and decided to create his own public display. When he returned home to Pune, India, he put a Ganesh idol out in public, starting the revival of public celebrations throughout India. Today, the Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated both in public and privately in homes. In private settings, families usually bring out small clay statues of Lord Ganesh. They create an altar of the idol and offer food and flowers in the morning and at night. These celebrations differ from family to family. In public events, festivals are created from a collection of funds. Idols appear throughout the city, and the people participate in song and dance. At some events, activities like blood drives take place to help the community. Some temples host longer processions and pilgrims.

Where Is Ganesh Chaturthi?

The Ganesh holiday occurs around the globe and is prominent in India. However, it is not a public holiday. Ganesh Chaturthi is a regional event and is commonly celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Odisha, Goa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh. It is also celebrated in areas with large Hindu populations like Ghana, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, and Canada. In North America, the biggest celebration takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Mauritius, it is celebrated as a public holiday.

Ganesh Holiday Food

Food is an important part of Ganesh Chaturthi. The foods eaten during the Ganesh holiday are meant to celebrate and honor Lord Ganesh. To do this, people make food that they believe is some of his favorites

Ganesh Festival Finale

Although the Ganesh holiday lasts anywhere from one to eleven days, it usually lasts ten. The final day of the Ganesh festival is called Anant Chaturdashi (meaning endless) and is an important day to worship. Unlike the rest of the days, this day is devoted to worshipping and celebrating Lord Anant, the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord V

Lesson Summary

Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh, the deity of arts and sciences and the god of beginnings. Although the stories of Ganesh’s origins differ, Parvati, the Hindu goddess of motherhood, power, and nourishment, and Parvati’s husband, the Hindu god Shiva, are credited with creating Ganesh. Ganesh is portrayed with an elephant head, a symbol of great wisdom.

ishnu is the head deity and is viewed as the giver of life. This day consists of prayers, worship, and offerings.