Ganpati pandals have been put up at over two-dozen place sin the state capital and the biggest of them is at the Ramadhin Utsav Bhavan.
The Ganpati idol, dressed spectacularly in a silk attire embellished with traditional gold and silver jewellery, is placed in a pandal decorated in yellow.
Mr Satish Agarwal, general secretary of the Shri Ganesh Prakatya Samiti that has organised the pandal, says that the footfalls of devotees are increasing by the hour. “There are about one lakh people who visited the pandal for Ganpati darshan and we are now holding Bhajan programmes every evening after aarti. We have also got people from Mumbai to prepare modaks because there are no traditionally prepared modaks available in Lucknow as yet.’
At another Ganpati pandal organised by Sai Sewa ashram, the idol installed is an eco-friendly one and use of plastic products, including carry bags, is banned inside the pandal.
Suresh Prajapati, an idol maker, says, “This year we hade more orders for Ganesh statues than for Durga idols. For us, this time of the year is spent in making Durga idols but this year we are working double shifts to cope with orders for Ganesha idols. We have orders for Ganesh is different sizes — from an eight-inch statue to six- and eight-foot statues. The maximum number of buyers is those who bring Ganpati home.”
Rajiv Sharma, a software engineer, who started bringing Ganpati home for three days since last year, admits that he was inspired by visuals of Ganpati festival in Maharashtra. ”I thought that in north India we worship Ganpati before doing an auspicious work so we should also bring him home. We bring him home for three days but we want to celebrate the festival on a bigger scale from next year,” he says.
Those who believe that Mumbai is the only city which glows blindingly with religious fervour on Ganesh Chaturthi had to witness the scale and intensity of celebrations in the industrial town of Kanpur on Wednesday to set their beliefs right.
With various dedicated committees having sprung up over the past few years, as many as 600 small and big tableaux were set up on the first day of Ganesh Utsav in the city.
These would, over the coming days, witness prayers and devotion offered to Ganesha, as well as cultural programmes amid the ringing notes of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya.’
But apart from the big statues placed in these tableaux, smaller forms of the Lord were also welcomed in thousands of city homes. Idol makers from the city said the tradition has spreadover the years, and this year’s celebrations are perhaps unprecedented.
The fact that the city is home to more than 2000 Maharashtrian families is largely responsible for this trend. Talking to TOI, Prakash Kharwardkar, the organiser of Sarvajanik Shree Ganesh Utsav Samiti, said the purpose of celebrating Ganesh Utsav in a big way is not only traditional or religious.
“We are trying to get the culture of Maharashtra to the north and facilitate integration in the spirit of our country’s ideals,” he said.
While hurried workers were seen trying to give a finishing touch to the ‘pandals’, local shopkeepers are busy putting up attractive stalls outside temples and in markets. Thousands of devotees thronged the popular Ganesh temples at Suterkhana, Shivalaya, and Bithoor on the occasion.
Long queues were witnessed outside the temples since early morning for the Lord’s darshan on the auspicious occasion. The beelines of the barefoot devotees were energized every now and then by chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya.’
In the evening, people thronged the Ganpati pandals where Maha-Aarti was performed with Bhajan Sandhya and playing with gulal.
The district administration meanwhile has geared up for the occasion with as many as 500 civil police and PAC personnel looking after the security at pandals. Fire stations have also been asked to stay alert throughout the day and be prepared for exigencies.
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.
The commercial city, which is also famous for grandeur of Ganesha festival, is all set to install ‘Hubli Ka Raja,’ a 23-foot Ganesha idol believed to be tallest in the state, for this years’ festival.
‘Hubli Ka Raja’ resembles Lalbagh Ganesha of Mumbai — sitting in style on throne and blessing devotees.
With just over a week left to greet Ganesha in households, members of the Dajiban Peth Gajananotsava Samiti are eager to install the ‘tallest’ Ganesha idol.
Artists from a tiny village called Rendal near Ichalakaranji in the neighbouring Maharashtra have been making the idol for two months, adopting traditional methods.
The artistes use grass, limestone and plaster of paris among other things to make the idol.
“The team makes as many as 25 idols every year. ‘Hubli Ka Raja’ is the tallest among all of them,” says Milind Kumbar, an artist, who has been making Ganesha idols for years.
The Dajiban Peth Gajananotsava Samiti, which has been celebrating the Ganesha festival for 37 years, has been installing the tallest Ganesha idols of the city since 2008. “The height of the Ganesha installed by the Samiti last year was 21 feet. However, in order to avoid problems during immersion, the height is restricted to 23 feet.This time around `3.50 lakh is being spent for making the giant idol.
The number of visitors is increasing every year, says Samiti’s president Shyam Pawar. People offer cash and jewellery during darshan. Silver jewellery collected so far weighs around 20 kg, say Samiti members
Danapur, situated on the outskirts of the state capital, is all set to worship Lord Ganesha in a grand manner as ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’, Maharashtra‘s most famous festival, draws near. “Though there are many places across Bihar where this festival is celebrated, it is only at Danapur that it is celebrated in a big way, with over one lakh people visiting the place and offering their prayers before Lord Ganesha during the 10-day celebration,” said Om Prakash Yadav, one of the organizers in the suburban town.
Yadav, who is general secretary of the Rising Club and Business Association, Danapur, said they are again busy making arrangements for the celebration of the festival with religious fervour and gaiety.
“We are celebrating this festival every year since 1990 and every year thousands of people come here to make ‘mannat’ (wish) before the Lord. A large many come to offer silver ‘khadau’ (footwear) and umbrella to Him after their ‘mannat’ is fulfilled. We believe that Lord Ganesha visits this pandal every year and all the ‘mannats’ of devotees are heard and fulfilled by him,” said Parshuraam, secretary of the association.
This year, on September 19, the idols of Lord Ganesha along with Siddhi-Riddhi, Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, Lord Hanuman and Sai Baba would be placed in the pandal spread over 400 square feet. Haalu Ghosh, an idol maker from Krishnanagar, West Bengal, who is in this craft for the last 25 years, is busy making a lifelike clay idol of Lord Ganesha for the last two months.
“The size of Ganesh idol will be 10 feet while the remaining idols will be of seven feet each,” said Ghosh, adding, “We have bought the clothes of these idols from Patna while their jewellery would be made out of clay.” All the decoration on the wooden throne, on which the idols of these deities would be placed, will be of clay. The contract for preparation of the wooden thrones for these idols has been given to a Danapur-based carpenter, Amit Kumar.
On the first day of the Puja on September 19, priest Shambhu Jha along with four more priests, all clad in dhoti and shawl, would invoke life into the idol of Lord Ganesha amid the chanting of mantras. “This ritual is called ‘pranpratistha’. After this, the usual Ganesh vandana, aarti and puja will be done in morning and evening for the next 10 days. Though we do follow the procedure mentioned in ‘Ganesha Purana’, we don’t follow the Maharashtrian rituals; we celebrate it in Bihar style. For 10 days, at the mandap, the celebration will kick off every day with the chanting of mantras and prayers offered by priests. On the last day, an ‘aarti’ will be held. It will continue till evening and conclude with a ‘hawan’, after which priests will shake the edge of the throne of Lord Ganesha symbolizing that now he can go and is no more present at that place,” said Yadav.
On the 11th day, the idol will be taken through the streets of Danapur in a procession consisting of thousands of people shouting “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” (O father Ganesha, come again next year) and accompanied with dance and music. Finally, the idols would be immersed in the Ganga at Peepa pul ghat, symbolizing a ritual send-off to the Lord.
During this 10-day-long festival, the committee will also organize a small fair having stalls of clothes, handicrafts, accessories and food items, and swings for the entertainment of visiting devotees. They will get laddoo, til, suji ka halwa and elaichi dana as ‘prasad’.
Organisers of the Ganesha Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Trust in Lalbaug are on tenterhooks this year. Their towering 21-feet-high Ganpati idol took a tumble during last year’s immersion procession, leaving many devotees and organisers in despair. To set their minds at rest, they have decided to commission a replica of last year’s idol this year, and give it a proper immersion.
This year’s idol will stand 18 feet tall, in keeping with new guidelines set by the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti.
Sculptor Rajan Zad, who has been making the idol for this mandal for the past 27 years, claims that he has been having sleepless nights since the ‘fall’ last year, and can’t wait to redeem himself by constructing a replica of the same idol this year.
He has 12 years of experience in crafting towering Ganpati idols. The idol was constructed against a single pole last year, possibly causing it to plummet.
Zad said, “Immersion day last year was one of the most unfortunate days in my life, as the idol I created was not properly immersed. Whenever I make idols I get very attached to them. The design of the idol last year was very dear to me, and so I wanted to make a replica of it this year.
When the mandal asked me to create their mandal this year, I jumped at the opportunity. The only difference is that this idol would be 18 feet high instead of last year’s 21. This year I will take more precautions, and will fix more support to the idol so that there is no chance of accidents.”
The mandal and the residents of Tejukaya area in Lalbaug are also happy with the decision to recreate last year’s idol, as they want to give their lord a proper immersion, which they couldn’t last year due to the fall.
Mangesh Shinde, a member of the mandal, said, “It was decided unanimously by our residents and our mandal to have the same idol this year, standing on the dhol just like last year. We didn’t change the height because we were scared of another fall, but because of the rule set by the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti setting the maximum permissible height for idols at 18 feet.”
The long and the short of it
A new rule implemented this year prevents mandals from constructing idols that surpass a maximum height of 18 feet. The rule has been brought into force by the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), an umbrella body which coordinates with Ganpati festival organisers and the civic authority, along with the Mumbai Murtikar Sangh. Many mandals however have decided to ignore the new rule and have commissioned idols over 20 feet tall, citing tradition.
Shri Shreemanta Dagduseth Ganpati revisits Vikram Kharvi’s Residence. This is the second year I am bringing bappa home and also the beginning of the second year of this blog. I started this blog just before the Ganesh Chaturti last year simply as personal collection of Bappa’s information, but surprisingly with the lord’s grace this simple blog has grow tremendously attracting thousands of unique visitors each day all round the year. This is the motivation that gets me to work on this blog and keep it updated. I sincerely thank you all for the support and keep visiting and sharing your feedback. May My Lord Ganesha bless you all. Here is a short slideshow of Ganesh Chaturti festival at my residence this year.
Vara Ganapati is one among the 32 forms of Ganesh and he has Pushti Devi as his consort. The popular belief is that this form of Ganapathi can be easily pleased and He fulfills all the desires. Vara Ganapati mantra is
Sindhoorabhimabhananam trinayam haste cha pashankushou
Bibhranam madhumat kapalamanisham sadhivindumouli bhaje
Pushtyashilshyathatanum dhvajagrakarayaa padyollasadhastyaa
Tadhyonyahita panimattamasumata patrollasat Pushkaram
Vara Ganapathi is depicted as having a vermilion complexion. This form has a third eye on the forehead. The four hands hold a crescent moon, noose, goad and Pushti Devi. The Goddess is depicted as holding lotus and a flag.
This is a happy form of Ganesha.
Exclusive temples dedicated to this form of Ganapati is very rare. But this form is found as subsidiary deity in some temples in Karnataka.
This year, more than 150 Ganesh pandals have been raised in the city. Devotees have placed small idols of Lord Ganesha at home. Maharashtrians living in the have placed Ganesh idols at homes and carrying out rituals associated with the festival.
The rush of devotees will increase during the weekend when the offices will remain closed. The ornamentally decorated pandals with huge idols are attracting the devotees.
“People will turn up in large numbers on Saturday and Sunday. Devotees are coming to offer flowers and prasad to Ganpati. They also attend ‘aarti’ in the evening,” said Manoj Yadav, organiser of a pandal at Kalyanpur.
Ganesh Mahotsava has become bigger this year. Last year, around 100 pandals were set up in the city. This year, the number had reached a mark of 150. This figure includes the bigger Ganesha idols. At several other places, small idols have been placed. In each locality, Ganpati had been placed and devotees are performing puja and giving prasad to those who come to worship the Vighanharta.
This year Ganpati has arrived in every locality. Siddhi Vinayak had arrived in Kakadeo, Swaroop Nagar, Kidwai Nagar, Govind Nagar, Kalyanpur, Lal Bangla, Rail Bazaar, Birhana Road, Shiwala, Ram Naraina Bazaar, Baradevi, Saket Nagar and several other localities.
For Maharashtrians, the festival has a sentimental attachment. “This year, the scenario has changed in the city. More pandals have come been raised. The ambience is too good. It appears that Kanpur has turned into a mini-Maharashtra, where Ganpati is worshipped in each and every locality,” said Raghav Padgaonkar, a Maharashtrian living in the city.
Different forms of Ganesh idols are attracting the devotees. The artians said that many types of idols have been made on orders. This year they have sold more idols.
“We have been into the business of selling idols of different gods and goddesses for years.
This year we have received several orders for Ganpati idols and all the orders have been met.
Even now, we have a few idols that have not been sold. But these will remain with us for public display,” said Prabhakar, an idol-maker at Saket Nagar.
A colony of idol-makers have come up at Saket Nagar near Parag Milk Dairy. They prepare idols of gods and goddesses in accordance to the festival. Beautiful idols of Lord Ganesha in different sizes are available in the locality.
Touted as the largest Ganesh idol in the State, the Ganesh idol at Khairatabad is usually everyone’s favourite and a must-visit during the 11-day festival. Organised by the Ganesh Utsav Committee, in their 57th year they have put up a 52 feet tall idol. Rajkumar, the organiser, says, “This time the cost has been Rs 30 lakhs and donations were quite generous, which went upto as high as Rs 50,000.” He further adds, “We also got some donation in kind — 20,000 kgs of laddoo that can be placed on the palm of the idol.”
The artist who is the brain behind this year’s Ganesh idol is Rajendra, informs the organiser. “It was his basic idea. The concept of the idol this year is Ganesh, who is riding on the Garuda Vahanam (vehicle), spreading the message of world peace” adds Rajkumar. This idea had come to Rajendra in his sleep. A total of 100 artists have worked on the idol for two and a half months. The year, the governor has been invited to conduct the Prathisthapana pooja.
So, for people who cannot go all the way to Khairatabad, their pooja requests can be booked online. For those keen on knowing more about Khairatabad Ganesha, http://www.ganapathideva.com is where you got to go. Another wonderful page on the website is the photo gallery of the Khairatabad Ganesh idols of yesteryear from 1954 to 2008