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Ganesh Chaturthi

One of the most joyous events of the year in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is the celebration of the day on which Lord Ganesha was born. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, falls on the fourth day of the Shukla paksha (the bright moon fortnight) in the lunar month of Bhadrapad (coinciding with the English months of August/September).

A period of fun filled devotion to the lovable Lord Ganesha begins with the tinkling of bells and chants of ‘Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti, Darshan majhe man kamana purati, Jaidev Jaidev’. 

Lord Ganesha has always been portrayed with a sweet in his hand and his rotund figure has been synonymous with delicious food. Little wonder then that on Ganesh Chaturthi a whole lot of goodies are prepared as offering. After the Lord 'tastes', the naivedya (offering) is enjoyed by his devotees.

There are a variety of sweets made on this occasion, with the most popular one being Modak. People visit Ganesha temples on this day, to perform puja and offer sweets to idols of Lord Ganesha. The enjoyment of this festival is incomplete without the sweets and delicacies, like Besan Ke Ladoo, Motichoor Ke Ladoo, Raghavdas Laadoo, Kaju Ke Barfi, Puliyodarai, Karanji, Puran Poli, Modak, Rawa Ladoo and Moong Dal Ka Halwa.

In South India, Vella Kozhakattai is the most famous dish to be prepared on this day and is one the favorite of Lord Ganesha. Kozhakattais are rice flour dumplings stuffed with a mixture of coconut, jaggery, condiments and flavors. In Tamil Nadu it is steam cooked. In a few other states this is fried.

Taste the goodness of this delicious recipe collection for Ganesh Chaturthi, we have brought for you. 

Welcome Ganpati Bappa

On this day, people bring Ganesha idol to their homes and worship it with a great celebration.

The celebrations come to a climax in ten days subsequently. On the tenth day – Anant Chaturdashi day – colourful and multi-varied idols of Lord Ganesha are bid adieu by immersing in flowing waters. Chants of ‘Ganpati bappa morya, phudcha varshi loukar yaa’ (‘Farewell, O Lord Ganpati, come soon next year’) fill the air and the earnestness of devotion is to be seen to be believed!

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the popular social festivals in India. In 1893, the great freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak started the public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Pune of Maharashtra, to spread the message of freedom struggle and to give the feeling of unity, patriotic spirit and faith.

In the city of Pune, Ganesh festival lasts for nearly a month with a lot of cultural programmes organised by eminent artists, musicians and dancers. It is a multi-cultural platform for artistes to offer their art and invoke blessings at the feet of the Lord. As this is done on a fairly large scale, a number of Ganesh associations have been formed not only in Pune but throughout the state of Maharashtra.

In Hyderabad under the Nizam's rule, many Maharashtrians held high administrative positions. The Ganesh festival celebrated by them as a social ceremony thus sprouted roots in Andhra Pradesh. And today, this tradition continues. The unique feature of this festival in Hyderabad is that the artists making the idols of Ganesha compete with each other to make magnificent, tall and elegant idols.

The melodious chanting of ‘Om Ganeshaya Namaha’ marks the beginning of any ritual in the Hindu religion. Even in temples devoted to the other deities, it is Lord Ganesha who gets the pride of place. Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha is the epitome of good luck who removes all the obstacles lying in the path of his devotees. He brings prosperity to his worshippers and keeps natural calamities at bay. He is the Lord of all that is auspicious and successful and his blessings are invoked before starting anything new. He and the little mouse that is always with him as his vahan (vehicle) are ideal examples of a balanced life, of how two opposites can co-exist peacefully and harmoniously. 

The legend of Lord Ganesha

Here are some interesting legends that reveal to us the birth of Lord Ganesha and how he came to be made Supreme God.

#Birth of Lord Ganesha:
According to the legend, Lord Ganesha was considered as the creation of Goddess Parvati, she created Ganesha out of the sandalwood dough that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. Legend has it that one day while bathing, Goddess Parvati asked her son to stand on guard and not to let anyone in. Just then her husband Lord Shiva returned from his tapasya and wanted to meet his wife but little Lord Ganesha, not knowing that it was his father, would not let Lord Shiva in. This angered Lord Shiva so much that he cut off the little child’s head. The commotion brought Goddess Parvati rushing out only to see her beloved son’s head chopped off by her husband. On realising what he had done, a horrified Lord Shiva promised his wife to bring their son back to life by placing the head of the first living thing that came his way. And it happened to be an elephant.

# Lord Ganesha became Supreme God:
A son with the head of an elephant further dismayed Goddess Parvati who felt that no one would pay any attention or worship Lord Ganesha. Lord Shiva then declared that Lord Ganesha would be worshipped first before any other God or Goddess. This angered the other Gods who complained about it to Lord Brahma. But the Lord did not entertain them saying that Lord Shiva (also known as Mahesh) was one of the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh) and the three of them held each other as equals. Only Lord Shiva could alter his own verdict. So the Gods then went to Lord Shiva and asked him to test their intelligence before declaring which God should be worshipped first. The Lord, who believed in playing fair, agreed and asked them to go round the world in their vahans (vehicles) and said that whoever came first, would be the one to be worshipped first. The vehicles of all the other Gods were faster than Lord Ganesha’s, whose vehicle was a mouse. So, happily they started out, confident that Lord Ganesha on his mouse would be the last one to complete the race! Lord Ganesha circumambulated his seated parents on his mouse declaring they being Supreme were the 'real world'. The other Gods could not dispute this and agreed that Lord Ganesha was certainly the most intelligent of them all! Ever since, before any religious function or auspicious occasion like marriage or inauguration, Lord Ganesha’s name is invoked with devotion.

#And the moon got cursed:
It so happened that Kuber, the wealthiest among the residents of Paradise, hosted a feast in honour of Lord Ganesha. It was a joyful moment for Lord Ganesha who feasted to an extreme so much that he felt his stomach would burst! When he went to pay obeisance to his parents, he was unable to prostrate before his parents and he turned turtle. Watching the scene from the sky was the moon, who burst out laughing at the sight. Goddess Parvati became livid at this ridicule of her beloved son, and cursed the moon that whoever sees him on Vinayak Chaturthi will be accused of a wrongdoing.

A story has it that on the Bhadrapad Chaturthi day, Lord Krishna accidentally saw the reflection of the moon in the milk and he was accused of stealing Samantak Mani, a very precious gem. In reality Jambavant, a bear, had found it in the forest and thinking that the shining gem would please his little daughter Jambavanti, had hung it over her cradle. It was only after Lord Krishna traced the gem to the forest and brought it back after a battle with Jambavant that he could prove his innocence. From then on, to avoid the evil effects of the curse, Goddess Parvati declared that those who worshipped Lord Ganesha, especially on the Bhadrapad Chaturthi day and listened to this story would not be affected by the curse.

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