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Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus from Maharashtra state of India and some other parts of South of India to honor Lord Ganesh, the Hindu deity that is regarded as the remover of all obstacles and the harbinger of auspicious beginnings. 


FIRST IS 'murti sthapana' (literal meaning is idol installation) by people in their homes and perform prayers for either one and half day, 5 days, 7 days, or the entire 11 days based on the customs of the family. Here are pictures of Ganesh setup in different Indian American homes-


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The Sule family has been bringing Ganesha home all of the 20 years that they have been in America. On the left is the Ganesha setup at the Sule home and on the right is the bhog, the offering to the Lord. The Sule residence turns into an open house on day 1 of Ganesh Chaturthi as friends pour in for aarti and prasad.

The Bhat family (pictures below), has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi with elaborate Ganesha display (seen below is Sanjay Bhat performing the arti), food and sweet preparations, friends and family gathering at aarti time for over 20 years in America.

Bhat family's Modak Recipe by Kalyani Bhat:

1 cup maida
3/4 cup sooji
Milk to make a dough
Mix the above ingredients into dough, 3 hours prior to frying

For filling: 
Equal amounts of fresh coconut and sugar, warm over low flame, until mixture is thickened, add kesar and elaichi

Roll puris out the dough, , put mixture in center and close the puri, holding it in center of Palm and making folds around the mixture , pinching the tips together, to get the shape of the modak 

One of the sweets often seen in the Bhat family's prasad thali is the fried modak. Kalyani Bhat, shared her mother-in-law's recipe on the local radio station (recipe on the left) and her friend, Supriya Patil (top), followed the instructions to make it (below).


More pictures of Ganesh setup in Indian American homes-

Left- picture by Hina Dave originally from Gujarat in India.

Below- picture by Susmitha Anaganari, originally from Andra Pradesh in India

Gauri Ganesh Pooja ..

Many from and in Maharastra and even South India, perform Gauri pooja during Ganesh Chaturthi. According to Kalyani Bhat, who has taught religious classes in the Dallas Fort Worth Hindu Temple for 8 years, "two idols of Gauri are brought signifying two sisters of Ganesh visiting during His visit.  Some bring a single idol.

Kavita Sathyanna, originally from Bangalore, India, says, " It's been a tradition in my family for many years, since I was a kid, to drape a sari on Gowri, adorn her with jewelry and do a new design for rangoli every year. The house is decorated starting from the front door in fresh flowers, Ganesh statues and rangolis to set the theme. We celebrate with tons of sweets, traditional south Indian festive food and lots of friends. I use silver Gowri and Ganesh for pooja rather than the clay ones. When I moved to the USA 18,years ago, eco- friendly Ganeshas were not available so I switched to silver and it has been a tradition since. "

Ganesh Chaturthi also brings out the creativity in people ...

Kavita Sathyanna created a very elaborate rangoli (floor art) on the occasion.

Kanan Garg, paid homage to Ganesh through a painiting (below). Kanan has lived in America for around 23 years. 

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 Jataveda Dasgupta (who has been in America for over 20 years) painted Ganesh on a few t-shirts that she designed for her son to wear on the different Ganesh events. She even made a few to give it to other kids as gifts, she says.


Ganesh Chaturthi is to Maharashtra what Onam is to Kerala, Navaratri is to Gujarat and Durga Pujo is to West Bengal- a festival spanning over multiple days, marked by traditional saris, beautiful decorations, religious songs, daily aarti, and creative art- all to honor the Hindu deity Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles. 

Although the festival is celebrated in the South as well, in Maharashtra it takes on a different fervor. The credit for the much higher scale of festivities in Maharashtra goes to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, India's famous Independence activist, who in 1894, transformed the private celebrations into a public event, Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav, characterized by processions, music and dance. The large public gatherings were means of opposing the British colonial rule. 

The large gatherings during murthi stapna, and daily aarti, and huge processions with loud chanting of 'Ganapati Bappa Moriya' during murthi visarjan (literal meaning is idol immersion, where the Lord is submerged in a body of water with lot of fan fare) even today characterize the celebratory style of the festival in Maharashtra.

Mumbai is the capital of Ganesh Chaturthi. Mumbai, being the site of the Hindi film industry where celebrities abound, also witnesses star participation thereby adding stellar proportion to the crowd gathering. 

Seen here are the pictures shared by India's mega star, Amitabh Bachchan, on social media as he and his equally famous bahu (daughter-in-law), actress Aishwariya Rai pay their respect to Ganesha at Lalbaugh (the most famous Ganesh statue in Mumbai) where the family visits every year.

"Ganapati Bappa Moriya !! Lalbaugh ka Raja, Ganesh ji ke darshan karne har saal jaate hain hum !!", he wrote on his Facebook page. 

Talking of celebrities, many famous stars share pictures of Ganesh pooja with their families on social media, much to the excitement of their fans all over the world. Seen here is now single, heart-throb Hrithik Roshan wishing his fans on Ganesh Chaturthi along with his parents, sister and two sons.

While actress Shilpa Shetty, who shot to international fame with India's version of Big Boss, delighted her fans with pictures of her playing the dhol (drums) (below). 

While 'Lalbaugh cha raja', the Ganesh at Lalbaugh. is the most famous Ganesh statue in Mumbai, there is another Ganesh idol that is literally the most precious. The GSB Seva Ganesh Mandal is referred to as Mumbai's gold Ganesh. Subhash Solanki, who has lived in Mumbai, India, all his life, shared the pictures and some very interesting facts about the gold Ganesh. This particular idol of the beloved elephant-head God, is adorned with over 60 kilograms of pure gold! The statue is insured for Rs. 600 crore.

(Left- the GSB gold Ganesh in Mumbai, India

Below- GSB preparations for aarti)


For the first generation Indian Americans here in America, the pictures of Ganesh Chaturthi all over the net brings back nostalgia of the time they spent among family, extended families and friends amidst the festivities. The subsequent generations get the gist of the celebrations here through the Maharastrian families celebrating the festival (as my kids put it). 

However, Varma family's Ganesh setup in the balcony of their home brings back nostalgic memories for everyone who has ever lived in India. We all remember the lush green potted plants that adorn most balconies of middle class (and up) families in India. Jyotirmay Varma was born and raised in Mumbai. Although from North, the festival has been a part of their family traditions. It is said, you can't live in Mumbai and not celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in all its glory.


Murthi Visarjan (immersion) of Ganesha post the festivities is the day to bid farewell to the Lord. Some believe that the original significance of the ritual was to show oneness with the environment as clay idols prepared from clay of the ponds are worshiped using turmeric and other organic leaves, flowers and fruits and these idols are then immersed into water bodies thereby returning the clay, hence completing the cycle while the water animals like fish/ tortoise benefit from the turmeric and other herbs.  The Ganesha is very ceremoniously carried in a procession and given an emotional send off (picture on right- Amitabh Bachchan's Facebook page).

Popular chanting heard at this time is to request the lord to come back soon the next year, as-

"Ganapati Bappa Moriya! Agle Baras Tou Jaldi Aa!" or in marathi-"Ganpati bappa morya, pudhchya warshi lavkar ya".

By Sonal Kulshrestha, for desideewar

(Sonal is a programmer by profession and a writer by passion. She lives in Texas, USA) 



Did you know why do people chant "Ganapati Bappa Morya" ?

The story goes that Morya was the name of a very devoted Ganesh bhakt (devotee) who lived in Pune in the 14th century. Pleased with his devotion, when Ganesha asked him for a wish that He could fulfill, he asked for his name to be forever associated with the Lord's. And so it happens that every chant of the Lord (Ganapati Bappa) is followed by Morya.


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