Ganesh Chaturthi fell on 8th September this year (2010). I am a bit late in writing this blog. Nevertheless, I hope I have managed to capture the festive spirit that this festival brings about.
Exactly ten days after Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the fourth day of Bhadrapad (which falls around September) month.This festival is also celebrated through out India in every city, town and village. In some places, people come together and jointly perform this festival which is called “Saarvajanik” Ganesh festival.
Ganesh ( the Elephant God) or Ganapathi or “Vighneshwara” as he is also called means “Controller of obstacles”. Hence before the start of any auspicious activities, the first puja is performed for the Lord Ganesh.
Our Ganesha Puja is held in our ancestral home at Doddamane Katapady, Udupi district, Karnataka.
Decorated Ganesh idol
All our relatives from nearby towns and villages gather here on this occasion. The Ganesha idol is brought home in the morning around 8.00 and 9.00 am. We have a readymade Mantap for seating the idol. The Mantap is decorated with flowers and two full sugarcane plants which are tied to the front two pillars of the Mantap. This part of the decoration is a must.
108 coconuts halved
The Puja and the bhajans go on till around noon while the cooking of the prasadam and lunch preparations go on simultaneously. This year we had also made a special puja called “Mooda Ganapathy” which means offering of 108 coconuts and a specified amount of “Panchakajjai” with special ingredients - black sesame (til) sugarcane pieces, ghee, beaten rice, popped rice powder (Lhaai in Konkani) and honey.
Pooja being performed
The 108 coconuts are halved and stacked in a big container covered with a red silk cloth and decorated with flowers. Pooja is performed by the Vedic Brahman called “Bhat” (in Konkani).
After the puja, sumptuous lunch prasadam is served on plantain leaves to all family members who have gathered and the special Panchkajjai prasadam is distributed along with the halved coconut to the whole village or anyone who visits the house for the “Darshan of Ganesha”.
The Lunch Menu consisted of :
- Yellow pumpkin upkari
- Bhuri Saaru
- Channa Ghashi
- Six varieties of phodis
- Phova Kheeri
Children performing the "Tiger Dance" in front of the temple
I actually missed their act and only managed to get this picture
As an entertainment, people paint their bodies resembling the bodies of tigers and dance to the drum beats. This is called “Vaaga Vesu” in Konkani which means “Tiger Fancy Dress”. Children too imitate the elders and have fun dancing to the beats which they perform in front of the temple where the Ganesh idol is kept.
Visarjan Puja being performed near the well
In the evening bhajans are sung and later on the “Visarjan Puja” is performed after which the idol is immersed in the well of our compound.
My camera batteries decided it had enough for the day, precisely at this moment and hence I could not photograph the actual immersion of Lord Ganesh.
In our house the idol is kept for one day only. In other places the festivities may go on for three, five, seven or ten days.