Ganesh Utsav, is a spectacular festival, honoring Lord Ganesha. The elephant-headed god is worshiped for 10 days.
Ganesha Chaturthi is a 10 day Hindu festival in honor of the elephant headed god Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and god of wisdom.
Families and communities install a clay statue of the god in their home or a communal space and honor the god each day, at times led by a priest, with a variety of rituals.
At the end they lead a procession with the statue to a body of water and immerse him. The Ganpati Visarjan (immersion) represents sending the god home along with the troubles of man and everyone prays that he will come again early the following year.
It is celebrated all over India, but Mumbai Ganesh festival is one of the biggest celebrations in the country.
History indicates that,it was freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who popularized the festival during the freedom movement and made it a community celebration. His soul intention was to fill the gap between various communities of India and and build unity against British empire.
This Ganesh festival celebration has carried on, and nowadays one can see great competition among local Ganesh pandals (communities) to put on the biggest Ganesh idol and its display.
Colorfully decorated Idols of lord Ganesha are installed both at homes and in Public places.
There is not a fixed date of Ganpati festival. It comes in either August or Sepetember every year. Ganesh 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 Mumbai celebrates with great zeal and enthusiasm.
If you are curious to be a part of Ganesh festival then there are special tours.
Ganesh Festival Tours
Maharashtra Tourism offers Mumbai Ganesh Darshan package tours. It includes visit to many famous Ganesh mandals. The great thing about these tours is that you don’t have to wait in long lines to see the idols.
Grand Mumbai Tours has daily Ganesh festival tours. They also provide a very special tour on the last day, Ganesh idol immersions (Ganapati Visarjan).
Mumbai Magic on the other hand offers a range of tours every day during the festival. It includes visits to the idol workshops to see people buy and take home statues, visits to the public displays of the statues, and sampling of sweets etc.
If you can visit India, during Ganesh festival season then dont feel bad. There are so many Ganesha temples all over the country.
Where and When to See the Lord Ganesh Immersions (Ganpati Visarjan)
The Ganesh festival ends with the Ganapati Visarjan, immersion, of the statues into a body of water. Usually the ocean or rivers or lakes.
In Mumbai alone, more than 150,000 statues are immersed each year.
The largest Ganesh statues, on display to the public, are usually immersed on Anant Chaturdasi that is 11 days after the first day of the Ganesh festival.
However, many people who keep Ganesha in their homes choose to perform the immersion much before this.
Immersions has a specific schedule and are only performed on selected days.
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.
Where Ganapati Immersion takes place in Mumbai?
If you want to see the largest and most famous Ganesh statues, you’ll need to head to Girgaum (Girgaon) Chowpatty on Marine Drive in south Mumbai. (See the most convenient Mumbai hotels to stay in).
Juhu Beach in Mumbai’s western suburbs is another popular place of immersion. (See the most convenient Juhu hotels to stay in). As too is Versova beach.
Powai Lake, in Mumbai’s central suburbs, receives a lot of smaller states that are immersed by families before Ananta Chaturdashi.
Mumbai Traffic Police provides details of traffic arrangements and route maps. You may find the details during festibal on their website here.
Things to Remember During Mumbai Ganesh Visarjan
The large Ganesh statues take a long time to reach the ocean and be immersed. The slow moving processions commonly start out mid morning and go throughout the night, with the statue only being placed in the water early the next morning. Many roads are closed to traffic.
It really starts getting crowded around sunset, from 6.30 p.m. onwards. Expect hundreds of thousands of people to still be there at sunrise too! The most famous idol, the Lalbaughcha Raja, gets immersed at 8 a.m in the following morning.
The streets are filled with loud music, drumming, dancing, and fire crackers. If you have sensitive ears, do wear ear plugs.
Try not to carry lots of money, important documents and valuable things as the immersion place becomes too crowded. In Mumbai, when say it crowdy then assume its extreme level of crowd.
I hope this guide on the great Ganesh festival of India was helpful to you.
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