Ganpati Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi is a major Hindu festival which is celebrated across India, especially in the state of Maharashtra, and most importantly in the city of Mumbai. Lord Ganesha, also referred to as ‘Lambodar’ and ‘Siddhi Daata’ is the Number One Indian Deity in terms of ranking, as it is he, who is worshiped first and always, come what may. Any Hindu ritual starts only with a Ganesh Puja, and then comes the worship of all other Gods and Goddesses. In Hindu mythology, Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in a big way all over Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai which has the largest number of Ganpati Mandals or Puja Committees. It is followed by Pune which also hosts a significant number of Ganpati Mandals. The most important and biggest of them all, is the Lalbaug Cha Raaja which is the richest, biggest and the most popular puja committee in the whole of Maharashtra. Similarly, in Pune it is the Mandal of Dagdusheth Halwai which draws crowds from all over the state.
11 Day Long Celebrations
In Maharashtra, almost all schools, colleges and government offices remains closed during these 10 odd days of festivities that also mark the beginning of all other Hindu festivals in the country. The world famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai is where the focus of all the devotees are centered upon, as it is the hotbed of activity during these 11 days of celebrations. People from all walks of life, visit this highly revered temple in Mumbai and offer their prayers and obeisance to ‘Siddhivinayak’ as a mark of respect. The famous Indian sweet Modak is offered to Lord Ganesha, as it is considered the favorite sweet item of the Lord. People come out in numbers in traditional Indian attires, especially in traditional sarees, salwar kameez, kurtis and lehenga cholis during the evening and night. So, overall it’s a truly colorful spectacle that touches everyone’s heart.
Traditional Festive Fashion
Ganpati is the time of the year when everyone is in their traditional attire, especially the women folk who dress up beautifully in sarees and kurtis, that look festive in appearance. The streets are a sea of humanity during the evenings, and people dress up in new attires that look really colorful. Girls are in salwar kameez and kurtis, whereas women are in Indian sarees, be it silk, cotton or the printed ones. It is salwar kameez variations like Anarkali suits and Patiala suits that look stunning on girls who dress up for the festive occasion in the most colorful manner. The festival of Ganpati unites all Hindus in India, especially in Maharashtra who are divided by some anti-nationalist forces, that sense profit in dividing Hindus. But this grand festival brings to light the best of Hindu unity in diversity (Marathas, Brahmins, Dalits, Adivasis etc.) as well as traditional Indian rituals and customs.