Ganesh Chaturthi, also called Vinayak Chaturthi, is one of the liveliest and brightest of Hindu festivals. Celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm, it is dedicated to and celebrated in honour of Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom and prosperity, who is also known as Ganapati, Lord Vinayak, Vighnahartaa (the remover of all obstacles).
Ganesh Chaturthi falls on Shukla Chaturthi in the month of Bhadra as per the Hindu Calendar, between the months of August and September, and is festively observed in Maharashtra, Goa, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. This year, the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi falls on September 13th.
What is the Story Behind Ganesh Chaturthi?
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Two stories are popularly associated with the birth of Ganesha. It is said that Ganesha was created by Lord Shiva on the behest of the Devas (divine beings) to be a Vignahartaa (obstacle-remover) for them, but a Vighnakartaa (obstacle-creator) for Rakshas (demonic beings). The other story associates the birth of Ganesha with Parvati and the subsequent beheading of little Ganesha by Lord Shiva. According to this story, Goddess Parvati created Ganesha from the turmeric paste applied to her body and asked him to guard the door while she bathed. When Lord Shiva returned, Ganesha, who did not know who Shiva was, stopped Shiva from entering and in fury, Shiva severed Ganesha’s head. Parvati was distraught and Lord Shiva sent the Devas to look for a head for Ganesha. The Devas could only find an elephant head, which Shiva placed on the body of Ganesha, and brought him back to life.
Historically, though the origins of the festival cannot be traced. It seems to have become a major festival in the 17th century during the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire. It was revived again by Lokmanya Tilak during the British Raj in order to bring people together, to unite them as a nationalist force.
Significance and Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi
A 10-day long festival, it involves the Sthapana of Lord Ganesha in homes, temples, and mandaps where the idol of Ganesha is worshipped every day for 10 days. Traditionally, devotees offer modak, (a sweet dish prepared using rice or flour stuffed with jaggery, coconut and dry fruits) and hibiscus flowers to Lord Ganesha. Hymns are chanted and Aarti is performed twice a day – in the morning and evening. Some of the mantras chanted include Ganesh Shubh Labh Mantra, Ganesh Gayatri Mantra, Vakratunda Ganesh Mantra.
On the 11th day, the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed in the sea, river or a water body. The ritual of immersing Ganesha, ‘Ganesh Visarjan’, includes a procession where devotees place the idol on a chariot or a decorated vehicle and lead it and follow it while dancing, singing, chanting hymns and mantras. The immersion of the idol symbolizes the end of difficulties and problems, for it is believed that Lord Ganesha takes all troubles with Him as He disappears into the waters, auguring happier and blessed times.
The Worship of Lord Ganesha at the Shivoham Shiva Temple
The Shivoham Shiva Temple is home to a beautiful 32-feet idol of Lord Ganesha and hence, Ganesh Chaturthi acquires special significance at the temple. Through the year, devotees visit the temple for Ganapati Darshan, and tie the Vignaharan thread on Ganesha, offering prayers to the beloved deity. On Ganesh Chaturthi, the number of devotees increases manifold. The temple is specially decorated for the festival as all eyes lovingly rest on the endearing idol of Lord Ganesha. This year, the Samuhik Maha Ganapathy Havan will be conducted on Ganesh Chaturthi at the Shivoham Shiva Temple, from 10 a.m to 12 p.m. The Havan is considered sacred and beneficial for all those who perform it as it ushers in happiness, peace, prosperity and good fortune.
The Shivoham Shiva Temple wishes everyone a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi. May Lord Ganesha’s blessings and grace be upon us all!