Adventures at Matheran Hill Station
March 13, 2013 – 12:05 am | No Comment
Matheran is a Hill Station located near Mumbai, Karjat.   It is located 800 meters above sea level in the Jambol Forest of Maharashtra.  It was found by Hugh Poynts Malet in May 1850.  It spreads over an area of 8 square kilometers in Sahyadri Mountains.  It is one of the best places to spend a two-day holiday if you are in Mumbai or in the vicinity of Mumbai or its suburbs.  To reach Matheran,  [...]

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Where the Elephant God Lands – Ganesh Chaturthi

Posted on August 24, 2011 | FestivalsNo Comment

It is said that when God takes birth, the world is the carpet and the universe is the witness. Such is the grandeur that is seen during the Indian festival Ganesh Chaturthi. This Hindu festival of the son of the Indian God Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is celebrated revering the birth of Lord Ganesha the god of  wisdom and fortune.

So come the months of August- September and India is replete with celebrations of this festival especially in Western and Southern India. It is also celebrated in the United States, Fiji and Canada apart from nearby Nepal. It is believed that the great Indian leader Chhatrapati Shivaji started this festival and it was the Indian social leader Lokmanya Tilak who converted it into a much publicized festival with a bid to end the gap between Indian communities.

Ganesh ChaturthiThus began the custom of installing images in hugely built pavilions which has grown with leaps and bounds today.

Predominantly made of clay, the idols of Ganesha are prepared three or four months in advance. They are adequately decorated and the festival starts with the installation of the statue in the pavilion. With the idol lit with lot of lights, and decorated with garlands, the Indian priest dressed in red and silken clothes chants the hymns (mantras) and worships the God. Atharva Sheersha, Ganesha stotra are some Indian hymns chanted during this festival.

Lord Ganesha a favourite of the Hindus is believed to be a lover of modaks (a preparation of rice, jaggery and coconut). The idol is also worshipped with kumkum (red vermillion sacred powder) and sandal wood paste.

ModaksIn Mumbai, the festival is celebrated for 10 days and on the eleventh day, the idol of Ganesha is taken for immersion in the Arabian Sea. Huge trucks carrying the majestic idols amidst lot of dancing and playing of music is common and life literally comes to a standstill on the day of immersion. “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudchya Varshey Laukar Ya” is a common cry heard on this day meaning Glory be to Lord Ganesha, Come back again next year. It is believed Ganesha leaves for his abode at Kailash on this day.

Cultural activities are arranged during this period and everyone participates in huge numbers. Communities compete with each other and there are competitions organized by social groups for the best idol or the best decoration etc.

Ganesh ChaturthiIn the UK , the Hindus celebrate the festival at Southall in the Vishwa Hindu Temple since 2005. In the US the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh organizes the festival. In Canada, the Maharastrian Association celebrates it in Vancouver, Toronto etc. The Mauritian government even has a public holiday on this day.

Today, with the problems of global warming, Ganesh Chaturthi has become more eco friendly. People use bio degradable materials and ensure that not much damage is done to the environment. Thus the festival of Ganesha also encourages awareness of how to celebrate festivals with a social message.

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