If there is one festival that bonds millions of people every year, it is Ganesh Chathurthi, the legendary festival to welcome Lord Ganesha into the home.
Contrary to what several people may believe, Lord Ganesha is welcomed with the same warmth and celebration even in non-maharashtrian households in the city of Pune.
All set to welcome Bappa, these families cant wait to share their excitement with our readers….
Jaya Mohata, an architect and Interior designer, who moved from Dubai a couple of years ago shares her experience of celebrating this festival with much pomp and enthusiasm, yet keeping the environment unharmed.
“We make Shadu Ganesha at home which is 100% eco-friendly with no colours at all. We decorate the Ganesha idol with cloth and ornaments and the entire decor is done with plants, soil and flowers.
The Prasad offered is homemade and the Visarjan (immersion of the idol) is also done at home in a bucket of water, the soil then goes into the plants and the ornaments are reused for other purposes. We don’t use any electric lighting, just Diyas and Samai (brass diya).
Shradha Anand Hemani, a homemaker has been welcoming Bappa for the past seven years.
“Every year we do the ‘Sthapana’ and since we are not very familiar with the exact rituals, we try and do our best based on what we know.
Kids invite their friends for Darshan followed by a small evening get together. We invite our friends and family on the third or fourth day for evening ‘Aarti’, followed by homemade ‘Modaks’ as Prasad.
We started bringing Ganpati Bappa home as my husband believes that Bappa comes and takes away all our problems with him,” she smiles.
Born and bought up in Bihar, the spirit of this festival took Khushboo Sinha, by surprise. “I realised that in every puja, Ganpati Bappa was the one who was worshiped above all, as he was considered as very auspicious.
In 2001 when I came to Pune for studies, I saw the festival being celebrated with enthusiasm. I even enjoyed visiting all the pandals during the 10-day festival.
Back in 2002 I suddenly felt that I should turn vegetarian during these ten days and in 2003 I bought a small idol and performed prayers and decorated it.
I decided to have my own home in Pune and bring Ganpati every year, and it’s been 5 years now. We decorate the home and bring the elephant God with exuberance and the ‘Pandit’ does the ‘Stathpana’.
Apart from the ‘Bhog’ and ‘Prasad’, I even offer tea or coffee to him, as I believe Ganpati is like a guest for those ten days.
On the 5th or 7th day we perform ‘Satyanarayan Puja’ and on the day of ‘Visarjan’ I offer Ganpati, curd and sugar. All the rituals are performed according to the traditions with flowers and colors.
Although it is an emotional feeling to immerse the lord, yet, I feel happy and look forward to him coming home the following year,” shares Sinha.
Veena Chandran – Itkar, a home maker Keralite married to an Andhrite, took the tradition of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi forward that her husband started when he was an 8 year old.
“My husband started celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi when he was just a kid. With a very small start through the collection of their first ‘Vargani’ (donation) Of Rs 50r, they bought a RS 20 Bappa Idol.
Today, it has become a mandal where Bappa is welcomed every year.
“For me, a non-Maharashtrian, I started celebrating ever since I went out to see the beautiful decorations and then slowly started participating in Mandal programmes.
I am very excited about our ‘Mangla Gauri’ dance for which we have been practicing for few days now. I am waiting eagerly to wear the beautiful Maharashtrian Nath, Nauvari saree and beautiful ornaments.
The entire ‘Puja’ is done in a very traditional way by offering ‘Aarti’ and ‘Modaks’ to the lord,” Veena shares.
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