Chaturthi Tithi Begins = 18:54 on 4/Sep/2016
Chaturthi Tithi Ends = 21:09 on 5/Sep/2016

In every part of India, the one festival which is celebrated with complete enthusiasm and devotion is, Ganesh Chaturthi. In 2016, the festival will be observed on 5th September (Monday). The festival marks the birth of the Lord of wealth, wisdom and knowledge – Lord Ganesha. Some people also call it Vinayak Chaturthi. Though people all over the country indulge themselves in the festive vibes, in Maharashtra, particularly, witnessing Ganesh Chaturthi is an unforgettable experience.

The legendary story of Lord Ganesha

The origin of the pious festival is believed to have commenced in Maharashtra. Although many stories narrate the birth of Lord Ganesha, the most relevant one is based on the belief that Goddess Parvati was the creator of Lord Ganesha.

Once, when Lord Shiva was away, Goddess Parvati took her sandalwood paste and rubbed Herself all over with it. She took off the dirt from her body, formed the figure of Lord Ganesha and infused life in it. This is how Lord Ganesha came to life. Goddess Parvati asked Ganesha to guard the door of Her room as She wanted to take a bath after the entire process. Lord Shiva suddenly returned and when He tried entering in Her room, Ganesha, who was guarding the door for His mother refused to let Him in. Annoyed by Ganesha’s repeated refusal, the two got into a ferocious fight and Lord Shiva beheaded Lord Ganesha. On noticing Her son in such a state, Goddess Parvati took the roop of Kaali and vowed to destroy the world. All the Gods got worried and requested Lord Shiva to calm the rage of Goddess Parvati by bringing back the head on Ganesha’s body. Lord Shiva sent out orders to all His followers to bring the head of the first creature they encounter. The followers found a baby elephant and brought back the head of the animal to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, immediately, put the elephant’s head on Ganesha’s body and thus calmed Goddess Parvati’s rage. All the Gods bestowed their blessings on Lord Ganesha and since then Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated every year to mark His birth anniversary.

Ganesh Chaturthi: Customs, Rituals & Traditions

Ganesha Utsava, the 10 day long worship of Lord Ganesha, starts with Ganesh Chaturthi in the Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi and lasts till the Anant Chaturdashi, also called as Visarjana day. The ideal time for Ganesh Pujan on Ganesh Chaturthi is during Madhyahan kal (midday) as Lord Ganesha is believed to be born during this time.

Decorate the puja room with flowers and procced with Ganesh Puja, which also called as Shodashopachara Ganpati Puja :

  • The pious Puja starts with the invocation of Lord Ganesha by chanting Ganesha Strotam.
  • The idol of Lord Ganesha is placed.
  • Take five flowers and offer to the Lord for His seat.
  • Take water and wash the feet of Lord Ganesha’s idol.
  • Offer water to the benevolent God.
  • Now, bathe the idol with pure water (Gangajal), followed by bathing the Lord with Panchamrit (a mixture of ghee, milk, sugar, honey and curd).
  • Adorn Lord Ganesha with new clothes and Moli, and offer Yajnopavita.
  • After this, offer incence sticks, akshat and flowers to Lord Ganesha, followed by Naivedya.
  • After Naivedya offering, offer chandan, paan with betel nuts, coconut and dakshina.
  • Conclude Lord Ganesha’s Puja with Aarti followed by Pushpanjali (offering flowers) and Pradikshna (taking a circle around the Lord’s idol).
  • Do Not See Moon On Ganesh Chaturthi: It is advised not to sight moon on Ganesh Chaturthi as the person who does gets cursed by Mithya dosham or mithya kalank (false accusation of stealing).
  • Time to Avoid Moon Sighting = 09:16 to 21:05 Duration = 11 Hours 48 Mins If anyone mistakenly sights moon on Ganesh Chaturthi, the person should chant the folloeing mantra to get rid of the curse. सिंहः प्रसेनमवधीत्सिंहो जाम्बवता हतः। सुकुमारक मारोदीस्तव ह्येष स्यमन्तकः॥
  • Dishes such as Modak (Ganesha’s favourite sweet), barfi, laddu and pede add up deliciousness to the festival.

After worshipping Lord Ganesha for 10 days, on Anant Chaturdashi, devotees carry the idol of Lord Ganesha enthusiastically and immerse it in a water body after a gleeful street procession with a hope that their beloved Lord will bestow them with happiness, wisdom and prosperity.