“Ala re ala, Ganpati Bappa Ala”. Lord Ganesha is worshipped and revered by millions of people across the world. Son of Parvati and Shiva, the birth of their son is a joyous occasion and the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is the most awaited in India. Also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, the appearance of the idol of Lord Ganesh is diverse and is celebrated in different ways. The 10-day festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Bhadra which generally falls between August and September. On the last day of the festival, the idols are immersed in the water calling this ritual the ‘visarjan’. The crowd dances in procession to bid adieu to Lord Ganesha which also marks the end of the 10-day ceremony.
As the festivities draw closer, we are bringing to you a list of Indian cities where you can celebrate the festival in all its vibrancy .
Undoubtedly, Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra is the first must-visit destination during Ganesh Chaturthi.
Lord Ganesha is known as the patron deity in the whole of Maharashtra and during the festivities, more than 6000 idols are molded and commissioned in Mumbai itself.
Mumbaikars never sleep during these 10-days. When in Mumbai, the one shrine you should visit is the Siddhivinayak Temple. Apart, Lalbaugcha Raja and Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Mandal are two of the largest idols across the city and to pay their visit, deities stand in long queues for hours. Among the other idols like Mumbaicha Raja and Chinchpokli Chintamani too, are the most visited during the 10 days. Dhol-tasha, colors, music, and happy smiles, Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai is worth visiting.
If the city of Mumbai is number one during the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi, then Pune is next on the list. Among the many famous temples and deities, the popular ones to pay your visit to are Kasba Ganpati, Tambdi Jogeshwari Ganpati, Guruji Talim, and Tulsi Baug Ganpati, and the Kesariwada Ganpati. Head to the sweet shops across the city and relish ‘modaks’ (a type of Prasad) and many other sweets offered during the festival.
Dating back to historic times, Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the tradition of ‘Sarvajanik Ganpati’ or Community Ganpati to bring people together and make them aware of their social responsibilities as well as urge them to get involved in the freedom movement.
What’s more in Pune? One can even witness the Pune Festival usually held at the iconic Shaniwar Wada during Ganesh Chaturthi. This festival focuses on art, culture, tradition, song & dance, and much more.
Journeying to south India, Bengaluru isn’t far behind to enjoy the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. There are more than 1000 temples in Bengaluru and Lord Ganesha is among the top most worshipped Gods in the city. Dodda Ganesha temple of Basavanagudi is a must-visit in Bengaluru. Among the others are Panchamukha Heramba Ganapati temple, Ananthanagar Ganapati temple, and Shri Jambu Ganapati temple.
While the fanfare of Lord Ganesha is seen all across the city, the best place to witness the experience is during visarjan at the Ulsoor Lake and Sankey tank. Musical shows, plays, folk dances, and more are conducted during the festival at various locations by communities.
Not as lavish and magnificent as celebrated in Mumbai and Pune, Chennai celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi with zeal and fervor. The various pandals in Chennai get into specific themes for the creation of the idols. While the fishermen community creates an idol of Ganesha as a fisherman, others mold the idol of bamboo and panchamrutham (a combination of ghee, liquid jaggery, milk, honey, and yogurt).
In today’s time and age, many idols are also eco-friendly, reducing the environmental impact while immersing the idols in the oceans.
Varasiddhi Vinayagar Temple is the most visited place to worship the idol. The temple attracts pilgrims from all over India with elaborate music and cultural programs, conducted within its auditorium.
During visarjan, The Marina beach gathers thousands of pilgrims dancing and paying their last visit to Lord Ganesh as the idols are immersed in water. It’s a treat to the eye and one must visit the city during the festivities.
This city has more than 75,000 Ganesh Pandals. The festivities begin on Vinayaka Chaturthi and end on Anantha Chaturdashi. Among the top places, Khairatabad, Kamalanagar Balapur, Chaitanyapuri, Durgam Cheruvu, New Nagole, and Old City (Gowlipura) are known for the grandeur of the festival.
The Khairtabad Ganesha idol is among the largest idols across the city. In Hyderabad, the magnificent idols are as tall as 61 and 72 feet. There are also many competitions conducted in the city that reward the largest weighing laddu across the city. The maha-laddu weighed around 5800 kgs in Khairatabad last year and broke the record. The laddus are then auctioned and the prize money is given to a charitable organization.
To witness the visarjan in this city on the tenth day of the festival, head to the Hussain Sagar Lake.
Apart from the above 5 cities; Goa, Ganpatipule, Kanipakam, Thiruvananthapuram, Diveagar, etc. are among the many must-visit places during the Ganesh festival. One can also tour the Ashtavinayak to see the eight important Ganpati’s in Maharashtra.Post the pandemic, the exhilarating festival filled with music, dance, happiness, colours, and lots more festivals will be celebrated once again.
Looking for the best flights or hotel stays, head to Aertrip and experience this occasion in all its glory.