Diwali celebrations usually know no religious boundaries as people of all communities join in bursting crackers and enjoying the sweets that accompany them.

But in this tiny hamlet of Korlahalli in Gadag district in Karnataka, Ganesh Chaturthi too has crossed all communal barriers. Not just the Hindus celebrate the festival here but also the Muslims.

Like the rest of the villagers, the Muslims too install a Ganesha idol after holding a grand procession and distribute free meals among villagers by collecting funds from the community.

The Muslims, who constitute 40 per cent of the population of over 3,000 in the village, build a pandal for installing the idol of Lord Ganesha, hold cultural programmes every night and recite a few lines from the Quran near the idol after the pooja.

On the fifth day, prayers are offered in the Islamic way for about two hours while the idol is immersed.

The Hindus offer them any help they may need to organise the celebration. In fact youth from both communities have formed a joint forum to celebrate Ganesha.

Returning the gesture, the Hindus also fast during Ramzan and are members of the local Muslim organisation.

The Muslims, for their part, readily work as office bearers of the local Hindu temple trust.

“We have been celebrating all festivals in our village to teach a lesson to those stoking communal hatred and have never witnessed any communal violence here.

We have always lived in harmony, celebrating both Ganesh Chathurthi and Ramzan together,” said a Muslim youth from the village, Chamansab Buketgar, who first began the tradition of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi among Muslims by installing a Ganesha idol in his home.

The celebration at the time was confined to his family, but soon other Muslims from the village joined in and today they look forward to the festival as much as their Hindu friends.