02 September 2019
Bhubaneswar: Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi is an auspicious festival for Indians worldwide and this year it is being celebrated on Monday. The 10-day festival celebrates the birth of the elephant-headed Lord Ganesh who is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is known by as many as 108 names such as Gajanana, Vinayaka, Vighnaharta, etc.
Lord Ganesh who is known as the God of beginnings is also known as the God of wealth, sciences, knowledge, wisdom and prosperity. This is the reason that people seek his blessings before starting any important work.
Historically, the festival has been celebrated since the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was during India's freedom struggle that Lokmanya Tilak changed Ganesh Chaturthi from a private celebration to a grand public festival where people from all castes of the society can come together, pray and be united.
The preparations for Ganesh Puja start way before the actual puja. Idols of all sizes are made. Apart from pandals, many people bring Bappa home with much gaiety, pomp and show. Over years, people are becoming more and more cautious and are moving towards environmentally friendly way. This includes-- getting Ganesha idols made of natural clay/ mitti and using only flowers and natural items for decorating the pandals.
Joyous bhajans are sung and, as with any other Indian functions, a bunch of delicacies are made as offering to Ganesh. Devotees also throng to Ganapati temples in reverence to the all-seeing God.
The fun festival comes to an end with a ritual called Uttarpuja. After the ritual, Lord Ganesha’s statue is immersed in water, which is known as Ganpati Visarjan. The devotees then eagerly await for Bappa’s arrival the next year.