Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the important Indian festivals dedicated to a God. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. Ganesh Chaturthi marks the day of Lord Ganesha’s birth. He is the Lord of knowledge, prosperity, wisdom and good fortune. The festival is also called Vinayak Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi. Though the festival is celebrated in many Indian states, it has a very special status in the state of Maharashtra. One reason is the Lord Ganesha is regarded as the patron saint of Maharashtra. Lord Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. People worship him before beginning any venture. So he is one of the most important deities of the Hindu pantheon.

ganesh chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi

Birth of Lord Ganesha

There is an interesting story about the birth of Ganesha, who is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It was his mother, Goddess Parvati, who created him. Once she made the image of a young boy using some sandalwood paste before she went to have her bath. She made him stand guard as Shiva was not around at the time. After a while, Lord Shiva arrived on the scene but Ganesha did not permit him to enter as Parvati was still bathing. Shiva lost his temper and cut off Ganesha’s head. When Parvati came out and saw this, she flew into a rage. Then she assumed the form of Goddess Kali and threatened to destroy the world. Everyone became worried and implored Lord Shiva to placate Goddess Kali. So Shiva ordered his followers to find a child and bring back his head. The first child they happened to see was that of an elephant’s and so they cut the calf  elephant’s head and took it to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva placed the head on Ganesha’s body and brought it back to life. Goddess Kali’s anger cooled down. All the gods blessed Ganesha and the day is today celebrated as Ganesha Chaturthi. Another  version of the birth of Ganesha says that Shiva and Parvati created him at the behest of the heavenly beings so that he would become an obstacle in the path of demonic beings.

Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations

The preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi preparations begin at least a month before the festival. The celebrations go on for around ten days (Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to Ananta Chaturdashi). On Day One of the festival, y a clay idol of Lord Ganesha is installed in homes or public pandals. Flowers are used to decorate the homes. Devotees flock to the temples where Poojas will be performed and bhajans sung. The festival is also an occasion for friends and families to get together. People of a locality form an association to solicit funds and arrange for pandals as well as various cultural events like music, singing, plays as well as philanthropic activities like blood donation drives and medical camps on the occasion. On the last day of the celebrations, the idols of Lord Ganesha are taken in procession. People join the procession in huge crowds and express their joy and devotion by singing and dancing on the streets. Finally, the idol is finally immersed in the river or sea.

Ganesha Pooja

The pooja starts once the clay idol of Lord Ganesha is installed. Women cook various dishes for the offering (bhog). Modak, a sweet dish, is a favorite of Ganesha and hence it is a staple. Other dishes include Karanji, barfi, laddoos and pede. The idol is bathed in water and then decorated with flowers. Aarti is performed and bhajans are sung. Mantras are also chanted. Chanting the mantras with complete devotion is thought to give life to the idol. People also believe that during this period, Ganesha comes to the devotee’s home, bringing prosperity and luck with him. Hence, it is a very auspicious day for Hindus.


The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival originated in the Maratha reign. It was the Maratha chieftain, Chatrapati Shivaji who began the festival. He did it to promote nationalistic feelings and cultural harmony among his people. In 1882, the festival got a fresh lease of life when Bal Gangadhar Tilak revived it. He saw it as a good platform to spread the message of the freedom struggle. As people from all communities took part in it, it soon became a religious as well as social function. This helped to unify Indians and create a spirit of oneness. The festival provided an occasion to deliver stirring speeches against British rule. Today also, Ganesha Chaturthi is an occasion that unifies all Indians, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. In fact, some of the artisans involved in making the clay idols are Muslims.