Ganesh Chaturthi Pooja, also known as the Vinayaka Chaturthi Pooja, is a very popular Indian Hindu festival wherein the Lord Ganesha is worshipped. Lord Ganesh is worshipped throughout the country, and worldwide among Hindu community with sixteen rituals accompanies with the chanting of Puranik Mantras during the festival. Celebrated over ten days, the festival starts on the fourth day of Hindu solar calendar month-known as Bhadrapada in Hindu calendar-which typically falls in Gregorian month of August or September.
In India, it is primarily celebrated at home, and in public by local community groups. It is a celebration of the God of good beginnings, successes and, saver from obstacles. Mostly observed as a grand public event in the western parts of India such as Maharashtra, Gujrat, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Karnataka. It’s not clear when exactly the festival started but the earliest is found in the ancient book-Rigveda.
Ganesh Chaturthi Pooja Vidhi
Even before the beginning of this popular festival, people, who are devotees of Lord Ganesha, start the preparations for Pooja by decorating their homes with flowers and other decoration items to welcome Lord Ganesha. Ganesha idols come in various sizes- from 1.9cm for installations at home to 170ft. for community celebrations in public. And, artisans start the making of the idol of Ganesha, months before the festival starts. People, celebrating the festival, install Ganesha statues at home and offer prayers in morning and evening with the offering of flowers, strands of young grass, Karanji and Modak.
The famous sweet served during the festival is Modak- a dumpling made from rice, or wheat flour, and filled with jiggery, grated coconut along with some dry fruits, and other condiments, and steamed, cooked or fried. It called with different names in few states of India, like Nevri in the state of Goa, Vundrallu in Andhra Pradesh, and Panchakajjaya in Karnataka.
Though Ganesha Pooja can be performed Pratahkala, Sayankala, and Madhyahnakala Madhyahnakala is the most preferred during Ganesh Vinayaka Chaturthi. There are several rituals performed during the Pooja- Avahana and Pratishthapan are performed for the newly bought statues of Lord Ganesha, which is made either out of clay or metal. But, nowadays, given the environmental issues, most Ganesha statues are made out of Clay.
On the occasion of this festival, the devotees also perform Eka Vinshati Ganesha Pooja and Ganesha Anga Pooja, along with the Shodashopachara Puja.
Pooja should start with the invocation of Lord Ganesha, one should chant the Mantras in front of the idol, by showing Avahan Mudra. After Lord Ganesha has been invoked, installing Lord Ganesha into the statue while chanting the Mantras.
The festival is not only celebrated in India. It’s largely celebrated in Nepal too, and in several other countries by the Hindu community. The Hindu culture and Heritage society celebrated the Ganesha festival for the first time in London in 2005 at the Vishwa Hindu temple. In the United States, Philadelphia Ganesha Pooja has become one of the signature festivals, celebrated on a scale by the Hindu community of that place.
The worship ends with the singing of the Aarti- last ritual performed at the end of the festival. The festival ends on the tenth day from start in a procession with music and group chanting, the idol is then taken to a river or ocean outside the city/town, and immersed, which marks the end of the festival. And Ganesha is believed to return to Mount Kailasha to Parvathi and Shiva. However, due to environmental concerns, several families today avoid water and immerse in a barrel of water to disintegrate the idol.