Significance of 3 day Ganesha celebration in streets and its Visarjan

Ganesha festival, also known as Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of wisdom, success and new beginnings. It is one of the most popular and vibrant festivals in India, especially in Maharashtra and other parts of western and southern India. The festival is marked by the installation of Ganesha’s clay idols in homes and public places, followed by worship, prayers, songs, dances and cultural programs. The festival culminates with the immersion of the idols in water bodies, a ritual called visarjan.

The origin and significance of celebrating Ganesha festival in streets can be traced back to the 17th century, when the Maratha ruler Shivaji used it to inspire nationalist sentiments among his subjects who were fighting against the Mughal empire. He encouraged people to worship Ganesha as a symbol of unity and courage. The festival became a public event that brought people together from different castes, classes and communities. However, after Shivaji’s death, the festival lost its popularity and became a private affair.

The festival was revived in the late 19th century by the Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He saw the potential of the festival as a platform to mobilize people against the British colonial rule. He also wanted to counter the influence of western culture and promote Hindu culture and values. He started organizing large-scale public celebrations of Ganesha festival in streets, where people could gather, listen to speeches, sing patriotic songs and express their grievances. He also popularized the slogan “Ganapati Bappa Morya” (Hail Lord Ganesha) as a rallying cry for freedom.

Since then, Ganesha festival has become a major social and cultural event that showcases the diversity and creativity of India. People from different regions, religions and backgrounds participate in the festival with enthusiasm and joy. They make elaborate arrangements for installing and decorating Ganesha idols in streets, pandals (temporary stages) and mandaps (canopies). They also organize various cultural activities such as music, dance, drama, poetry, painting and sculpture. They also offer various delicacies such as modakas (sweet dumplings), laddoos (sweet balls), puran poli (sweet flatbread) and karanji (sweet fried pastry) to Ganesha.

The duration of celebrating Ganesha festival in streets varies from place to place. Some people keep the idols for one and a half days, some for three days, some for five days, some for seven days and some for ten days. The most common duration is three days, as it is considered to be auspicious and convenient. The reason behind keeping the idols for three days is that it symbolizes the three aspects of Ganesha: Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer). It also represents the three gunas (qualities) of Ganesha: sattva (purity), rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance). It also signifies the three powers of Ganesha: iccha shakti (will power), jnana shakti (knowledge power) and kriya shakti (action power).

Ganesha visarjan is the ritual of immersing the idol of Lord Ganesha in water after worshipping him for a certain number of days during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a way of bidding farewell to the god and requesting him to return next year with more blessings.

In Bengaluru, Ganesha visarjan is done with great devotion and enthusiasm by the devotees. They usually keep the idol for one and a half days, three days, five days, seven days or ten days, depending on their convenience and tradition. On the day of visarjan, they perform a final puja and aarti in front of the idol and offer modakas (sweet dumplings) or obbattus (sweet flatbreads) as prasadam (sacred food). They also tie a sacred thread with 16 knots around their right wrist as a symbol of protection from evil forces.

Significance of 3 day Ganesha celebration in streets and its Visarjan

Then, they carry the idol in a procession to a nearby water body, such as a lake, pond or river. They chant mantras and slogans such as “Ganapati Bappa Morya” (Hail Lord Ganesha) and “Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya” (Come back soon next year) along the way. They also play music, dance and burst crackers to celebrate the occasion. They immerse the idol in water while praying for the well-being of their family and society. They believe that by doing so, they are spreading Ganesha’s positive energy and grace to all living beings.

Some of the popular places where Ganesha visarjan is done in Bengaluru are Ulsoor Lake, Sankey Tank, Yediyur Lake, Hebbal Lake, Varthur Lake and Bellandur Lake. However, due to environmental concerns, many people opt for eco-friendly ways of doing visarjan, such as using clay or paper idols that dissolve easily in water, or immersing the idols in buckets or tanks at home. Some people also donate their idols to organizations that collect them and reuse them for the next year.

Ganesha visarjan is a joyous and emotional event that marks the end of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a time to express gratitude and love to Lord Ganesha for his benevolence and guidance. It is also a time to reflect on his teachings of wisdom, courage and devotion

Ganesha festival is a celebration of life, culture and spirituality. It is a festival that brings people closer to each other and to God. It is a festival that fills our hearts with love, devotion and happiness.