Ganesha Chaturthi is a Hindu festival celebrated to honour the Elephant headed god, Lord Ganesha. The usual dates are between 19th of August and 20th of September. This year, the celebrations started on 29th of August.
Clay idols of varying sizes, of Lord Ganesha are worshipped in every corner of the nation. Some Ganeshas are so huge that container trucks are used to carry them. NASA’s Space shuttle carriers may seem small in front of Lord Ganesha.
The entire nation celebrates this festival with great splendor. One city well known for the Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations is Mumbai! The display of Ganeshas in Mumbai is absolutely stunning. Though the festival is celebrated everywhere, the excitement, rush, intensity is quite humungous in the state of Maharashtra. Here, not only Hindus, but also people belonging to other religions take part in the celebrations.
Children run through the streets yelling “Ganapati Bappa Moryaaa”, elders are busy in decorating the Ganesha idol, there’s tasty food in every house, and the whole of Mumbai’s traffic comes to a halt (except the local trains of course). On this day I walked around 3 kms to the train station, in half an hour. A taxi would take more time to get there.
The visarjan/immersion of the Ganesha idols are performed on specific dates,
One and half day visarjan, three day visarjan, five day visarjan, seven day visarjan and the 10th day Visarjan. In Mumbai, around 150,000 Ganesha idols are immersed each year.
Chowpatty and Juhu are the most famous locations for Ganesha visarjan in Mumbai. The statues are either carried on small carts or loaded onto huge trucks, and then the procession begins. Schools declare holiday and offices close early on the last day of Ganesha Visarjan as the entire city would be flooded with devotees headed towards the sea.
The Ganesha Visarjan signifies the cycle of birth and death, and that we all eventually give up our physical form and become one with the elements of nature.
Here are some pictures from the Ganesha visarjan that took place on August 30, 2014, at Juhu Chowpatty, Mumbai.
People on their way to immerse Lord Ganesha
A family photo
More and more people coming in as it gets darker
Two Ganesha idols waiting to give up their physical form and become one with the elements of nature.
Some leave the idols where the wave breaks, but some dare to carry their Lord deep into the sea.
The Ganapati Maharaj being carried into the sea.
An idol that was immersed but the waves brought him back.
The Ganapati Maharaj
Another Ganesha idol brought back by the waves.
The crowd at Juhu Chowpatty, Mumbai.
Sand sculpture of Lord Ganesha