Today is the first day of ten days of Ganesh festival in India. Today, idols of the Elephant God Ganesha is installed in public places and in homes for private worship. During the next ten days, special worship will be offered as well as festival food cooked for personal consumption and sharing with family, friends and visitors. You can get a bird’s eye view of the festival from this wikipedia article.
Maharashtra is the leader among the states for this festival as it was started as a public festival by a Maharashtrian during the independence struggle. A private affair was brought out in the open as a means for people to congregate during the time when public gatherings were not viewed favourably by the British.
In Maharashtra, Mumbai and Pune are the two main cities for elaborate displays, processions and gaiety. The wikipedia article shows the large Mumbai Deity which is the King of the processions and this one is the one from Pune called the Dagdu Sheth Ganapathi.
The image is of the Deity in the temple. During the procession, it is taken in a chariot drawn by devotees and the chariot is lit by one thousand lamps, now powered by mobile gensets.
My late mother was an ardent Ganesh devotee and would keep an idol for all ten days of the festival and do everything connected with the festival for the full days. After the first time that she did it in our home, my late wife continued the practice as long as she was alive. Since her death, I have discontinued the private installation and rituals.
The climax of the festival will be on the tenth day when the idols will be given a fond farewell by immersion in our rivers or in lakes around Pune. I shall write about that on the immersion day called the visarjan.
Today is also the Annual Id festival for Muslims and Pune is full of gaiety and colourful celebrations all over. As I write this, my son and his friends are visiting many places to observe all the festivities. I used to do it many years ago but am now too lazy to make the effort.
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