Standing 10-feet tall on a temporary ‘mandal’ set up at Hati Talav Ground near the Ram Mandir in Mattancherry is a beautifully designed idol of Lord Ganesh. On this auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi festival, those from the North who are settled in Kerala, and many others too, are in high spirits celebrating the day.
Bharat Shah, a Gujarati settled in Mattancherry, is already in the celebratory mood, and says, “This is for the first time the Gujaratis here decided to celebrate the Ganesh Utsav in a big way, with the same enthusiasm and fervour with which the people celebrate it in Mumbai.” A sculptor from Kolkata has come down to Kochi to make the Ganesh idol. “For Durga Pooja, he sculpts the idol every year. So, we decided to get an idol done from him,” Bharat Shah says.
Starting on September 19, the festival will go on for ten days and idol immersion will be done at the Fort Kochi beach. Each day will see variety cultural programmes, bhajans and other entertainment shows organised by the members here.
It is freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak who started Sarvajanik Ganesh festival to promote unity and spread the spirit of patriotism among people. Prakash Deo, another resident at Mattancherry who celebrates the festival every year, says, “This will be the 114th year that people in our locality will celebrate the festival at the Krishna Swami Temple.”
Chanting Ganapati Bappa Moriya, the Maharashtrians settled here look forward to celebrate Ganesh Utsav. “Not only Maharashtrians, but all communities come together and celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm,” adds another resident.
The idol every year is brought from Pen, a place in Raigad district of Maharashtra. This place is famous for the traditional and hand-sculpted idols of Lord Ganesh.
As Ganesh Chaturthi draws closer, the markets are reverberating with the sounds of skilled idol makers giving the final, finishing touches to the lovable, elephant god which is visible on every alley and bylane, all through Vishveshpuram and a few other areas of Bangalore. We see tiny figurines to massive Ganesha idols measuring 25 feet high that are beautifully moulded in plaster of paris, decorated and depicted in various postures, colours and sizes.
Craftsmen who create Ganesha do not limit to only traditional idol making as they now take customised orders also. This year, eco-friendly Ganeshas are more in demand with the government and various NGOs spreading the need to switch over to images made from mud and natural dyes. Ganesha as Bala Gangadhar Tilak is the all time favourite of M Srinivas who has been selling Ganesha and Gowri idols on RV Road for the past 67 years. “It was Bal Gangadhar Tilak who popularised Ganesha festival during the freedom struggle. It is his day too and my favourite festival,” he says.
Although Ganesha idols comes out in different avatars every festival, this year’s flavour is Spiderman Ganesha and some have even depicted as Eega based on film star Sudeep’s hit movie. Apart from the traditional images, there are other types of Ganeshas dressed as Badagala (farmers surrounded by other farmers and cows). M Srinivas says, “Why should America only have a superhero. We want to show our heroes in the form of God. This time, we got an order to make Lord Ganesha as a Spiderman that hardly has a belly with short tusks.”
A rare and possibly the only audio clip of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, father of the Indian unrest, was played on Friday at the jam-packed premises of Kesariwada in Pune where Tilak used to reside. Puneites, who thronged the venue to hear his voice, asked for an encore and the one-and-half minute clip had to be replayed thrice.
The clip has Tilak reprimanding a noisy crowd to keep quiet while listening to a musical programme featuring luminaries like Balgandharva and Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale, during the Ganapati festival at Kesariwada 97 years ago on September 25, 1915.
Even though the duration of the clip was short, the audience gave a huge round of applause. Sagar Marathe, a student, said, “I was thrilled to listen to Tilak’s voice. I will cherish this moment for a long time. I wish more such audio clips were preserved.”
Prayag Phaltankar, a history student, said, “It is a great occasion for me to be present here. I thank the people who took efforts to preserve this clip and presented it before the people. This will help young people get inspired and learn more about history.”
For Deepak Tilak, great-grandson of Lokmanya Tilak, it was an enthralling experience. “The audio clip was found recently and has brought Tilak’s voice alive after 97 years. It is most befitting that the clip was played here today when we are celebrating the Ganapati festival as per the Tilak almanac that we follow. After all, it was Lokmanya Tilak who started the public celebration of the festival,” he said.
“The clip was recorded when Tilak addressed the audience during the Kesari Ganesh festival,” he added.
Addressing the gathering, Lokmanya Tilak had said, “The programme would go on as per schedule and Bhaskarbuwa will sing. I will not tolerate any nuisance by the audience. If you want, you can leave the venue. The programme will go on as per schedule. This is my wish.”
He had further said, “I am not an expert on classical music, but I do know that Bhaskarbuwa is a great artiste. That is why I have invited him to perform here. I am proud of him. I thank him on behalf of everyone. With the blessings of Lord Ganesha I feel that he should perform again. I stop here and take your leave.”
After playing the clip, Deepak Tilak felicitated Mukesh Narang, Shaila Datar, Madhav Gole and Mandar Vaidya for their efforts in finding and preserving the rare clip and playing it before the audience.
Recollecting how the clip was found, he said that Seth Lakhmichand Issardas Narang fromKarachi had come here to record the Kesari Ganesh festival programme in 1915. Narang’s grandson Mukesh, who lives in Pune, preserved this rare collection of recordings which had Tilak’s voice.
Some days ago Vaidya and Gore contacted Mukesh Narang in connection with a documentary and found the audio clip. They in turn contacted Datar, the grand daughter-in-law of Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale, and also explained the significance of the clip to Narang. When Datar heard the clip, she felt that the voice reprimanding the audience could only belong to Tilak, as she had mentioned the particular incident in her book on Bakhale.
PUNE: They see the elephant God in everything, which explains why the Sanyunkta Prasad Mandal displays Ganapati idols made of the most unusual ingredients: from automobile parts to musical instruments to even sports equipment. And, it is this unusual display that attracts thousands to the mandal every Ganeshotsav.
Ajit Paranjape, president of the mandal, said, “It has been 12 years since we began using different types of materials. The idea is to see God in everything. This concept is potent enough to create respect and love for everything, and that is what we aim to achieve.”
At one point, the mandal volunteers made a Ganapati idol from empty tin paint cans, while at another; they used different types of lamps for the purpose. Also, during one Ganeshotsav, an idol made from cups, trophies and shields shone in the pandal; not to forget the time when an array of musical instruments – flute, violin, sitar and tabla – was used for a similar end.
“We set out to search for the equipment 3-4 months prior to the festival. We visit various outlets, present our theme and concept to the proprietors, who in turn are happy to lend us their equipment. At the close of the festivities, we dismantle the idol and return the material to its rightful owner,” added Paranjape.
This year, the mandal brought together 23 sports equipment – badminton rackets, softballs, cricket pads, table tennis rackets, cricket and boxing gloves, skating shoes, Carrom disks and the like. “Three amateur artistes made the idol within 10-15 days. We chose the sports theme this year because India performed exceptionally well in 2011, the cricket World Cup and Common Wealth Games being a witness to this,” he said.
“The idea is to portray Ganesha blessing sportsmen, by being adorned in sports equipment,” he added.
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Today Pune has the best kind of celebrations when festivals like Ganpati come and there are mandals which are built without digging the road and keeping the traffic and environment in mind. Pune has a system of having the whole celebration streamlined. It organizes competitions for decorations, concept, theme etc and thus brings about a sense of discipline and responsibility on the organizers. Those mandals which focus on environmental causes, rainwater harvesting, nature conservation etc get some special recognition. This inspires many mandals to have blood donation camps, campaigns on the importance of the girl child, spreading the awareness of AIDS etc.
In such circumstances it becomes necessary to get to know some of the major mandals in Pune.
Kasba Ganpati First Ganpati of Honor in Pune
Existing since the year 1893, this is located in the Kasba Peth in Pune. Since then it has occupied the first position. It is believed that a Ganpati idol was discovered near the residence of one Shri Vinayak Thakar. In sheer devotion, he got a temple constructed here. This is the Gram Daivat of the idol. Today the mandal has the best tableaux ever. It draws inspiration from history, social issues and epics. There are stories from Sai Baba’s life, or sometimes it is something historical. With Anna Hazare, the social activist catching everyone’s interest, even that becomes a topic for mandals. Visit this mandal to see what the surprise is this year.
Tambdi Jogeshwari Second Ganpati of Honor in Pune
This is the second most popular of the Ganpati idols in the city of Pune. Existing since the year 1893, it is located at Budhwar Peth. This is one of the idols that were erected when Lokmanya Tilak, the Indian leader started the festival with the idea of uprising the social Indian class. Today this centenary and seven year old mandal is a unique combination of devotion and creativity. The idol very much resembles elephants from Africa.
Guruji Talim Third Ganpati of Honor in Pune
Third in the line of popularity, this Ganpati is located at the Ganpati Chowk in Laxmi road in the city of Pune. This was started in the year 1887 and existed even before the Indian leader Lokmanya Tilak publicized the festival for the betterment of the masses. This established a unity between the Hindus and the Muslims. This was incidentally the first among the mandals which celebrated a 100 years of existence.
Tulsibaug Fourth Ganpati of Honor in Pune
This is the fourth line of fame in the Ganpati mandals. This is also the oldest and the famous mandal in the city of Pune. It is more famous for its huge idol and also amongst the first to make an idol out of fiber glass. Mr. D.S. Khataokar is the architect who creates this idol measuring 15 feet.
Kesariwada Fifth Ganpati of Honor in Pune
Located at Narayanpeth in Tilakwada in Pune, this Ganpati mandal exists since the year 1893. This is important as it was established by the Indian leader Lokmanya Tilak. With issues of social causes always depicted and the awareness spread, this mandal has a social programme with speeches given by experienced people. It also encourages children and women to take part in competitions organized.
Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganpati
Having the dubious distinction of being the richest Ganpati in the city, the Puneites come here to visit their favourite idol. Existing since 1893, it is managed by the trust of the same name
Mangalore, Sep 1: Colourful celebrations marked Ganesh Chaturthi festivities at Bunts Hostel here on Thursday September 1, jointly organised by Sri Siddi Vinayaka Prathishtana and Sarvajanika Sri Ganeshotsava Samithi. Harvest festival was also celebrated on the occasion.
Members of the Bunt community under the banner of Sarvajanika Sri Ganeshotsava Samithi have been observing the festival over the last seven years.
Addressing the gathering, Brigadier I N Rai (retd) said that Ganesh Chathurthi is celebrated by everybody, cutting across the boundaries of religion, caste and creed. Though it is a religious occasion, it unites people of all all walks of life and helps in sustaining brotherhood among people in the society, he said.
Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak began the public celebration of Chaturthi during the time of freedom struggle in order to unite the citizens, he said.
Ln Dr Ramdas Rai hailed the efforts of the organization in bringing people together to celebrate the festival.
Subashchandra Bhandari, Ahalya S Bhandari, Vinaya R Rai, Anuradha Rai and office-bearers of the organizing committee among others were present.
Women’s dhol groups have been a constant feature of the final day processions in the Ganesh Festival. A picturesque display of rhythm, energy and enthusiasm, many mandals in the city prefer to invite girls’ dhol troupes for special performances during the procession.
Started in 1978, the 32-year-old dhol group of the Yuvati Vibhag of Jnana Prabodhini has been a well-known feature of the city’s Ganesh Festival processions. “The whole motive behind girls participating in the processions is because of the philosophy that they can stand on equal footing with men. From dhol to barchi and even flag, the girls do everything in these groups,” said Medhavini Watve, head, Yuvati Vibhag, Jnana Prabodhini.
Having started with 15 members, today, the group has as many as 200 participants taking active part in over 15 presentations which include 12 processions and three displays at various locations in the city. “We do not approach mandals for performancse. Instead they come to us with requests after which we perform in front of them. Girls between standard seven till post graduation are the members of the group,” added Watve. Renuka Swaroop Girls’ High School has been taking part in the processions for the past three years and explaining the motive behind the initiative, Sagar Walke, teacher and head of the group said, “We have been participating in the processions with two motives. One is on the lines of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak‘s philosophy with which he started the festival. We believe that it is a perfect display of unity. Secondly, it is about health as these girls need to take extra efforts to increase their strength in order to bear the weight of the dhol and play them all through the night.”
Even after a century, the public celebration of Ganesha has continued to forge the feeling of communal and linguistic harmony.
Freedom fighters from Belgaum Govindrao Yalgi and Gangadhar Rao Deshpande first planned to host Ganesha festival as a public event in 1905 for the cause of uniting the people of all faiths to fight against the British. The first ‘sarvajanik’ Ganesha idol was installed at Govindrao Yalgi’s residence.
In 1906, they invited the freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak who had popularised celebration of the Ganesha festival as a public event to mobilise the freedom fighters.
Ganesha idol was installed at a pandal at Zenda Chowk to accommodate the huge crowd and since then Zenda Chowk Ganesha Utsav Mandal has continued the legacy and was leading the celebrations. Now, the mandal has extended its activities and has organised body-building competition this year.
In the last 105 years, the number of Ganesha idols installed in the pandals in the City alone was around 300, and over 3,200 idols are now being installed in the entire district. People belonging to different caste, creed, language and faith coming together to celebrate the 10-day Ganesh festival on a single platform is now a common scene. Ganesha festival celebrations have witnessed a sea change during the past century. While oil filled lamps used for illumination and decoration of the pandals during the inception of the fest here, the same have now been replaced by digital display boards and lighting.
Source: Deccan Herald
To understand the true essence of the Ganeshotsav in Pune, a visit to the five ‘manache Ganpati’ or temples of honour is a must. Just few yards away from each other, they have been famous since hundreds of years in the old city of Pune. It is believed that celebrations of the festivities are incomplete without seeking their blessings; therefore, thousands of devotees flock here during the ten day festival.
The first in the list is Kasba Ganpati which is considered to be the oldest deity of Pune. We at The Punekar reveal a few facts about the divine Kasba Ganpati.
It is said that the idol of Ganesha was first found outside the house of Vinayak Thakar, an inhabitant, close to the residence of Queen Jijabai. Considering this as auspicious, Jijabai promptly decided to come up with a temple and started worshipping the lord. The Peshwas were known to be the ardent followers of Ganesha and during their regime; grand celebrations were experienced at Shaniwarwada.
Today the Kasba Ganpati Mandal has kept the tradition alive and organises massive celebrations to mark the Ganesh festival.
The ten day long festival is celebrated with zeal and gusto by the association. During the festivities, members arrange for several cultural, social and personal developmental programs. The cultural programs include bhajans, satsangs, dance and singing competitions. Free eye and blood check up camps are also arranged to help the needy.
Social issues have also been the prime concern of this mandal and hence they use this festival as a medium to create awareness about sensitive and important subjects. Women empowerment is another area the mandal concentrates on and therefore one of the days is dedicated to the women. On that particular day, women are in charge of entire activity of the mandal. Right from performing puja to doing rangoli, prasad and handling the guests, all is managed by the participating women.
Ganesh Utsav in Pune was initiated by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Ganpati to bring people together. But as time passed, who would lead the immersion procession became a matter of pride for every mandal, rising to disputes amongst them. To resolve their differences, Bal Gangadhar Tilak gave Kasba Ganpati the privilege of leading the procession as it is the Gram Devat or the presiding deity of Pune. Since then, the Kasba idol has been leading the procession.
The procession of Kasba Ganpati is unique as they have banned the use of gulal as it is hazardous to health. During the immersion process, the idol is placed in a silver palkhi and carried by the devotees. Throughout the procession, volunteers dance to the tunes of dhol, making the entire procession memorable for onlookers.