Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most pompous festivals in Mumbai. Read on to know how Mumbaites celebrate this festival.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Time: August/September
Duration: 10 days
Famous For: Lord Ganesh Idols, Ganesh Visarjan

Ganesh Chaturthi MumbaiGanesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god who is believed to be powerful enough to eliminate all obstacles. Falling in the months of August and September, this is one of the festivals which Mumbaites celebrate with great zeal and enthusiasm. Lord Ganesh is regarded as the patron saint of Maharashtra and over 6000 idols are commissioned in Mumbai every year. This alone is enough to explain the spirit of Mumbai in celebrating the festival. Though Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Pune and Karnataka, Mumbai is the most famous for its massive processions. Even the households in Mumbai celebrate the festival by installing an idol of Lord Ganesha and worshipping it for over ten days. The houses are cleaned and the idol is brought in with the family members chanting 'Shloka' or religious verses. The seven to ten days long festival ends with the 'Ganesh Visarjan' where the idols are immersed in the water; it is done as a procession with millions of people accompanying the idol along with a lot of music and dance. Read further to know more about the various aspects of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai.

Ganesh Chaturthi Rituals
Ganesh Chaturthi is regarded as an important festival in the region of Maharashtra and is celebrated for seven to ten days when the entire state is decorated with lights. In Mumbai, on the first day of the festival, the Pooja starts with the idol being kept over a pedestal that symbolizes a throne. This is followed by a priest performing the rituals and Puja dedicated to the idol. Then, he dips the idol in holy water. Modak, a sweet made of sweetened coconut and rice flour, is then offered to the deity along with incense and flowers. For the rest of the days, the idol of worshipped with Ganesh Stuti and devotional songs in the evening and morning. People install idols of Lord Ganesh in their houses as well.

Farewell Procession
It is believed that god returns to his heavenly abode after ten days of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. The city witnesses great vigour and enthusiasm for the farewell procession in which the idol of Lord Ganesha is carried by the devotees. The procession is accompanied by lot of singers, dancers, acrobats, priests and various onlookers. Sweets, coconuts, flowers and Aarti are offered to the idol prior to immersion in the Arabian Sea. This ritual is known as 'Ganesh Visarjan' or the immersion of Lord Ganesha and the procession flock the street with the chanting, 'Ganapati Bappa Morya' (famous slogan praising Lord Ganesha). The most prominent immersion takes place on Chowpatti Beach, located at a distance of 1km from Marine Drive. During the immersion, huge crowds flock the beach to witness the grand Visarjan. These processions start in the morning and continue till late night. In addition to these, there are public celebrations known as Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava. Many community pujas or celebrations are also held in almost every locality of the city.

History
The origin of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai is traced back to Shivaji, the Maratha ruler. It was he who initiated the festival to instil nationalistic feelings and promote cultural harmony in his subjects. Since 1882, the festival got a fresh breath when Bal Gangadhar Tilak revived it as a perfect platform to spread the message of freedom struggle and thus resisted the British who had banned all public assemblies. People from all communities participated in it and the festival transformed into a religious as well as social function, thus playing a vital role in unifying the Indians and reviving the spirit of oneness. The festival was often used a medium to deliver motivational speeches and thus arouse people to fight against the British rule.

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most awaited festivals in Mumbai. Hope this article helps you imbibe the spirit of this festival in Mumbai.