India is a land of festivals and amidst all the festivals, there lays a grand festival called Ganesha Chaturthi, a festival where the children and the elderly stuff themselves with delicious ladoos. “Ganapati Bappa Mourya, Purchya Varshi Laukar ya” [O Lord/Father Ganesha, come soon again next year]
Ganesha Chaturthi marks the birthday of India’s beloved Lord Ganesha. It is one among the most celebrated festivals in India. According to popular belief, Lord Ganesha was brought back to life by Shiva after he was beheaded by him on this very day. The festival is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, Vinayaka Chavithi and Chathaa in various parts of India. According to the Hindu calendar, the day is always observed between August and September. The Ganesha festival lasts for 10 pious days with the last day marking an enthusiastic immersion of the Ganesha Idols.
So, when it comes to Ganesh Chaturthi, Mumbai is the first, and for some, only city which comes to mind. However, there are other Indian cities where the same is celebrated with much vigour and splendour. We list 5 such cities describing the magnificence that is presented during Ganesh Puja.
In order to witness the largest idol of Ganesha, you need to head straight to Hyderabad. The city of delicious Biryanis celebrates Ganesha Chaturthi with an equal amount of enthusiasm as Mumbaikars. In 2013, one of the Ganesha Idols erected in Hyderabad was 72 foot tall and made out of only clay. The previous records show that Hyderabad is a host to approximately 65,000 Ganesha Pandals (Ganesha Idol Stands).
The other places where Ganesha Idols are erected and decorated fascinatingly are Khairatabad, Balapur, Kamalanagar Chaitanyapuri, Durgam Cheruvu and New Nagole.
Mysore, the city of sandalwood and Wadeyar dynasty boasts its sky-high spirit every year during the Ganesha Festival. If you are in Mysore during the festival then you will find hordes of people rushing to their local markets to purchase the idols, banana leaves and coconuts. The people of Mysore follow their ritualistic practices of cooking and eating food on the banana leaves and offering bananas as Prasad to the Gods during the puja.
You will also witness the use of willows as plates to keep the puja items like turmeric, rice, cereals etc. The entire thali arrangement is used as an offering to Mother Gauri during the Gauri Festival which falls the day before Ganesha Chaturthi. These willows are also exchanged among married women. So if you are hungry for some South Indian style Prasad then Mysore is the place you would want to be.
The capital of India was once ruled by the great Marathas and hence the Indian capital also celebrates Ganesha Chaturthi with much love and devotion. The culture of celebrating this festival was initiated in Old Delhi but soon enough it spread like a wildfire to the neighbouring areas including New Delhi. The capital hosts at least 50 flawless Ganesha Pandals and performances by various professional artists from across the country. Another reason behind the flamboyant celebration is that the population of the capital consists of approximately 2.5 lakhs Marathi Families who patiently wait for this festival to come around.
The people of Goa do know how to celebrate a Ganesha Festival in a grand way apart from partying in style at the beaches. Ganesha Chaturthi is actually a very important festival for the Goans and is known as “Chovoth”. The pandals are known as “Matov” and are decorated with betel nut, coconut, banana and mango leaves. The day is an extra special occasion for the children as various competitions such as flower making are held at various pandals/matov.
When it comes to the immersion of the Ganesha idol, Goans do it with a great amount of enthusiasm and joy. One can easily witness the unique usage of special Goan percussion instruments known as Shamel and Ghumot during the proceedings of the festival.
Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu is quite popular with the celebration of Vinayaka Chaturthi as the majority of the city prefers to buy beautiful environment-friendly idols. The idols are made out of tapioca paste and coloured with a variety of natural dyes. The celebration at Marina Beach is a sight to see every year. Though this city does not host the number of Ganesha Idols as vast as the others it definitely boasts the most eco-friendly celebration all over India.