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Ganesha Pancharatnam

Ganesh Chaturthi, the great Ganesha festival, also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi' or 'Vinayaka Chavithi' is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Festival is a day on which, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. The festival falls in the month of Bhadrapada, generally between August and September, and lasts for 10 days.

The preparation of the festival begins much before the ten-day rite.

  • About two or three months before Ganesh Chaturthi, life-like clay models of Lord Ganesha are constructed and sold by skilled artisans. These beautiful idols depict Lord Ganesha in variuous poses, sometimes in a dancing mood, at other times with a small drum or in a simple sitting pose with one hand showering blessings on the observer. The sizes of the relatively larger ones range anywhere from 10 meters to 30 meters in height.
  • Before the puja day arrives houses are cleaned and even white washing or painting is done.
  • The place where the idol will be kept "Ganesh Mandap" or "Ganesh Pandal" are cleaned and decorated several days before the festival with coconut or banana leaves, mango leaves and with flower garlands to install Ganesha idol.
  • On the day of puja perform ritual bath in the early morning and wear new or fresh clothes and be ready to do Ganapati puja.
  • Newly molded idols of Ganesha are bought from the shops, which are there only for the festival purpose. (It is always recommended to buy or prepare eco-friendly or clay Ganesh idol.) The idols are carried with their faces covered with a saffron cloth amidst chanting and the sound of cymbals.
  • In the evening idols are placed properly at the place where the puja will be held. Adorn Ganesh idol with flower garlands and chandan (sandalwood) paste.
  • The occasion actually begins with the installation of these idols. Some of the idols are bought for individual celebrations and set up in beautifully decorated houses. But these are mostly bought by committees for public celebrations.
  • A Kalash or the pot filled with sanctified water and rice to be installed before invoking Lord Ganesha idol. The rice or water filled Kalash is also called Purna Kumbha. Kalasha Sthapana is performed before invoking Ganesh.
  • After Kalasha Sthapana, the priest, generally dressed in a red silk dhoti and shawl, performs a holy ritual known as "Pranapratishhtha" to invoke life into the statue amidst the chanting of sacred verses (mantras) or chanting Avahan mantras or just chanting 'Om Ganeshaya namaha' or other simple Ganesh stotras.
  • The ritual is followed by another one called "Shhodashopachara" (16 ways of paying tribute). Items like coconut, 21 durva (trefoil blades of grass, 21 modakas, jaggery and red flowers are offered to the deity. The statue of the Lord is anointed with a red mixture of kukum (saffron or turmeric) and chandan (sandalwood paste). All through the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad as well as the "Ganesha stotra" from the Narada Purana are chanted.
  • Chant Ashtottara Shatanamavali or 108 names of Lord Ganesha. Siddhi Vinayaka Vratha Katha is recited after chanting several simple Ganesh mantras.
  • Aarti (a ritualistic puja with hymns) is performed twice a day - in the morning and in the evening.
  • People offer prasad of modaks or peras, coconut, hibiscus or any other red flower, sheaves of grass, vermilion, turmeric powder and rice. People also offer special recipes - undralla payasam, kudumulu and the recipes made of several leaves and fruits. Offer coconut and light diya or deepam and incense sticks (agarbattis).
  • Generally during Ganesh puja on Ganesh Chavithi, devotees place books, pens and other education or office material at Ganesh idol or Ganpati pandal and take them after Ganesh idol os moved. Usually, at homes, Ganesh idol is moved on the day after Ganesh Chaturthi.
  • Usually Ganesh Charturthi is celebrated for 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi.
  • The festival comes to an end on the day of Anant Chaudashi. On this day, the idols of Ganesha are taken from various pandals, doorsteps, localities and puja rooms for a truly royal ride.

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