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Ganesh Chaturthi Festival Information – Importance - Story - History - Rituals - Pooja Time for Ganpati Festival on Monday, 2 September 2019

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Ganeshotsav or Vinayaka Chaturthi, is the birthday of Hindu God Ganesha (Vinayaka - Ganapati), the God of wisdom, prosperity, and auspiciousness. Ganesh Chaturthi 2019 date is Monday, September 2 - information based on Hindu calendar in India. Ganpati Festival in 2019 ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the murti (idol) on Anant Chaturdashi day - September 12, 2019. Good puja time on Sept 2, 2019 is from 11:20 AM to 1:45 PM. Ganesha is today worshiped around the world and the Elephant-faced Hindu god is one of the most popular deities associated with Hinduism. Like symbol ‘Om’, Ganesha is slowly becoming the face of Hindu religion. This is a pan India festival and is observed in all regions.

When is Ganesh Chaturthi Observed?

Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August - September). Bhadrapad Shukla Paksha Chaturthi or the fourth day during the waxing phase of moon in Hindu Calendar.

Why is it observed?

It is the birthday of Ganesha. Vighnaharta, one among the 108 names of Ganesha, appeared on earth to remove the obstacles of devotees. He is invoked before any puja or prayer in Hinduism. He is the lord of beginnings.


Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

A few years back an article on Ganesh Chaturthi might have mentioned Vinayaka as the most popular god in India or might have restricted him within Hinduism. But today, Ganesha is a popular symbol around the world. Slowly and steadily, Ganesha is breaking all religious and national boundaries and is finding a space in many living rooms around the world.

Ganesha breaks that invisible distance which exists between man and god. Children can play with him, teenagers can discuss their problems, and elders can find answers to philosophical questions. Hindu mythology is full of stories related to Ganesha. Devotees and admirers of Ganesha might not be aware of these myths but the image of Ganesha connects with them immediately and is reminded of a Supreme Soul.

Perhaps, Ganesha is the cutest god in the world. People might debate this statement but nobody can ignore the unique figure of Ganesha. The figure represents hope in adversity. Ganesha provides the strength to overcome obstacles. And due to this aspect he is called ‘Vigneshwara.’ He is worshiped first in all prayers. Ganesha’s names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun.

When a devotee stands before Ganesha, the devotee’s ego disappears and is transformed into a child. In that innocent state, one will realize that the elephant head of Ganesha symbolically represents ‘om’ – the first mantra and the primordial sound.

Ganesh Chaturthi Symbolism - Importance of Ganapati

To a Hindu, the Ganapati immediately brings to mind the Lord in the form of the elephant-faced God, worshipped all over India irrespective of caste, creed or religious beliefs. He is worshipped by Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Shaktas and Shauryas, and of course by Ganapatyas. He is famous as the remove of obstacles and is therefore worshipped before undertaking any task.

In Sanskrit ‘gana’ means ‘to count’ (ganita, mathematics is also derived from gana). We count and categorize things into groups and so a group is called gana. Every field of knowledge makes its own groups. Science categorizes the phenomenal world as groups of organic or inorganic chemicals, amphibians or reptiles, constellations or galaxies. Ganpati is the Lord of all groups.

The world is made up of the permutation and combination of a group of five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) and three qualities (sattva, rajas and tamas).

Each body is constituted of a group of seven substances (bones, flesh, blood, fat, lymph, marrow and semen), the five sense organs of action (locomotion, grasping, speech, reproduction and excretion), the five sense organs of perception (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling touch), the five physiological functions (respiration, digestion, circulation, excretion and reversal action) and the four mental modifications (mind, intellect, memory and I – notion). Ganpati is the Lord of all.

Each group may have its own leader. Indra is the king of heaven, a president is the head of a nation or the human being is the crow of all earthly beings. But, Ganpati is the Lord of all lords, the king of kings, the Master of all. Prostrations to the Lord of all. Who is Ganpati in essence? (Source - Ganapati Atharvashirsha Upanishad By Swami Tejomayananda)

Story of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha is the remover of obstacle - Vighneshwara or Vignaraja – and is always invoked when Hindus are beginning a new enterprise.

It is believed that Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of clay and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door, Goddess Parvati went to have her bath.

When her husband, Lord Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him.

Ganesha did not allow Shiva to enter and finally, an enraged Shiva severed the head of the child.

Goddess Parvati returned to find her son dead and was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. Shiva cut off the head of an elephant and fixed it on the body of Ganesha and giving birth to elephant-headed Ganesha.


How Long is Ganesh Chaturthi Festival?

In Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 10 days. In other parts of India, it is celebrated for one day on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. On the day special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha.

Who Started Ganesh Chaturthi Festival?

The large scale public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893 in Pune.

The origin of the public celebration of Ganesh festival is traced to the period of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, who asked people to perform public celebration to promote culture and nationalism in the 17th century.

The large-scale Ganesh festival as we see today was revived by Lokmanya Tilak, freedom fighter, in the last decade of 19th century in Pune to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies.

Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav - Public Vinayaka Chaturthi Festival

Thousands of Ganesh statues are installed in various public places in India and in Hindu Temples around the world. Millions of small Ganesh idols are installed in Hindu homes in India, especially in Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. After the festival, these statues are immersed in the sea (Ganesh Visarjan ceremony).

Some of the idols of Ganesha prepared during the Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav can reach a height of more than 70 - feet.

The richest Ganesh Chaturthi Pandals are located in Mumbai. Their budgets run in millions.

During the 10-day festival, millions of devotees throng pandals across major cities in India especially in Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Nagpur and Hyderabad.

Some of the popular Ganapati Mandals are:
  • Lalbaugcha Raja – Mumbai
  • Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal at King’s Circle – Mumbai
  • Keshavji Naik Chawl pandal in Girgaum – Mumbai (oldest mandal in Mumbai)
  • Dagdusheth Ganpati – Pune
  • Khairatabad Ganapati – Hyderabad – Secunderabad

Modak - Delicacy Prepared During Festival

Ukadiche modak, or steamed rice ball in a unique shape, made of rice flour and stuffed with coconut, jaggery, and cardamom is a special delicacy made during the period.

Other delicacies include Puran poli and Chakkali.

But the most important delicacy is modak as it is the favorite food of Ganesha.

Today, modaks made of dry fruits and numerous other rare fruits are available in the market.

Ganesh Patris – Different leaves offered during Ganesha Pooja

Ganesh Patris, or Patri, is the numerous types of sacred leaves that are offered during Ganesha Puja. The Patris are usually offered during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi Puja. Traditionally leaves of 108 different types of plants are offered. But today most people confine the offering to Durva grass and Bilva leaves. In some places, certain wild patris are worshipped instead of Ganesh idol.

In most community pujas, 21 different types of leaves are offered.
  1. Machi
  2. Brihati
  3. Bilva
  4. Durva Grass
  5. Datura
  6. Badari
  7. Apa Marga
  8. Tulsi
  9. Chhota (Mango leaves)
  10. Karaveera
  11. Vishnukranta
  12. Dadimi (Pomegranate)
  13. Devadaru
  14. Maruvaka
  15. Sidhuvara
  16. Jaaji
  17. Shami
  18. Ashwatha
  19. Arjuna
  20. Arka
  21. Nimba (Neem)
The most commonly used leaves are that of Durva, Aghada, Tulsi, Bilva, Prajakta, Mogra and Madhumalati (popular names). It must be noted here that Tulsi is only used during Vinayaka Chaturthi.

Most of the Patris that are used in Ganesh puja have medicinal properties and today many people are growing these plants at home. (You can have look at the pictures of 21 leaves here).

Ganesh Chaturthi and Environmental Concern

Ganesh Festival is also attracting a lot of criticism from environmentalists and nature lovers primarily due to pollution caused by the use of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris (POP). Hinduism and Nature are so entwined that one cannot be separated from another. Ganesha itself is a classic example. But still, we Hindus do little to stop pollution. At least we can stop creating more pollution in the name of Ganesha by only buying natural Ganesh idol and natural items for Ganesh Puja.
  • Buy Natural Clay Ganesh Murti painted with natural colors.
  • Use only natural materials during Ganpati Puja.
  • Spread the importance of Clay Ganpati.
  • Do Ganesh Visarjan at Home.
  • Create awareness and indulge in cleaning public places polluted due to Ganpati festival and Visarjan.


Visarjan - Ganpati Bappa Moraya – Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya 

The symbolic meaning of Ganesh Chaturthi festival is that Lord Ganesha comes and stays with us. The immersion symbolizes his return from the earth after removing the obstacles and unhappiness of his devotees.

Some families perform the ceremony on the very next day. It is believed that Ganesha comes and stays in the idol for a day and returns the next day.

There are other families which perform the Ganesh immersion or Visarjan on the 1.5 days, 3rd, 5th, 7th or the 10th day.

In Maharashtra, Ganesha is also bid adieu along with Jyeshta Gauri (5th day)

Today, many people choose the least crowded day to immerse the Ganesh idol.

Those who opt for an eco-friendly Ganesh immersion, do it in a bucket or a tank. In Mumbai, artificial lakes are created to avoid water pollution. This year the governments and NGOs are running a strong campaign for the use of eco-friendly Ganesh idols.

For public pandals, it is a 10-day festival and ends on Anant Chaturdashi - the fourteenth day during the waxing phase of moon in Bhadrapad Month.

The procession can last for more than 24 hours.

The murti is taken to sea, lake or river for immersion.

The air is filled with the chant of Ganpati Bappa Moraya – Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya – come back soon next year

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