The birth anniversary of Lord Ganesh is celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesh Chaturthi is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and Ganesh Chauth. Lord Ganesh is the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Lord Ganesh was born during Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada month which falls in the month of August or September in English calendar. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 10 days which ends on Anant Chaturdashi which is also known as Ganesh Visarjan day. On the 10th day, after a gala street procession, the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed in water by the devotees. It is believed that Lord Ganesh was born during Madhyahna Kala. Therefore, the Puja is preferred during Madhyahna that is equivalent to midday according to Hindu division of the day.
It is advisable not to see the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi. It is believed that seeing moon on Ganesh Chaturthi creates Mithya Dosham or Mithya Kalank which means false accusation of stealing something.
As per Purana, Lord Krishna was falsely accused of stealing precious jewel named Syamantaka after sighting moon on the day of Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi. This is because God Chandra has been cursed by Lord Ganesha that anyone who sighted moon on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month would be cursed with Mithya Dosha and would be tainted and dishonored in the society. Lord Krishna observed Ganesha Chaturthi fasting to get rid of Mithya Dosha on the advice of sage Narada. Depending on start and end time of Chaturthi Tithi, sighting of moon might be prohibited for two consecutive days.
Moon should not be sighted while Chaturthi Tithi is prevailing, as well as Moon risen during Chaturthi should not be sighted even if Chaturthi Tithi gets over before moonset. If anyone has mistakenly sighted moon on Ganesha Chaturthi then he should chant following Mantra to get rid of the curse:
Simhah Prasenamavadhitsimho Jambavata Hatah
Sukumaraka Marodistava Hyesha Syamantakah
The most popular mantra for Lord Ganesh is:
Shree Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvada
The meaning of this mantra is: O Lord Ganesha of the curved trunk and massive body, the one whose splendor is equal to millions of Suns, please bless me so that I do not face any obstacles in my endeavors.
Lord Ganesha also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka is one of the most popular deities in the Hindu religion. is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and the brother of Lord Kartikeya. Lord Ganesha is representation of three honour namely Buddhi, Siddhi and Riddhi known as wisdom, spirituality and prosperity respectively.
While Buddhi represents Lord Ganesha himself, the other two honour are personified as Goddesses and considered to be the wifes of Lord Ganesha. It is believed that Riddhi and Siddhi were daughters of Lord Brahma who himself conducted wedding ceremony of Lord Ganesha. As per Shiva Purana, Lord Ganesha had two sons who were named as Shubh and Labh. Shubh was the son of Goddess Riddhi and Labh was the son of Goddess Siddhi. Shubh and Labh are symbol of auspiciousness and profit respectively.
Lord Ganesha is represented with human body having elephant head. Usually He is portrayed with four hands and carries a noose and a goad in upper hands. . One of the lower hands of Lord Ganesha is shown in Abhay Mudra while in the other lower hand He holds a bowl full of Modaks. Mouse is the mount of Lord Ganesha.
There are 8 incarnations of Lord Ganesha which are the most significant one and famously known as Ashta Vinayaka. Lord Ganesha is also worshiped in 32 different forms.
Ganesha Chaturthi is famous Hindu festival and celebrated throughout India. While celebrated all over India, the celebrations are the most elaborated and the grandest in Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka. Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad are some of the cities where it there is grand celebration and you will love watching it. Here you can enjoy Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations to the fullest. Lord Ganesha is considered the God of wisdom and remover of all obstacles. He is worshiped first among all Gods and before starting any Puja or ritual.
The day before Ganesha Chaturthi, people buy beautiful Ganesha Idol and do a day long fast on next day after ritualistically installing Ganesha idol on Ganesha Chaturthi. They do daily worshiping Lord Ganesha for next 10 days. Modak, Til and Jaggery Laddu, Besan Laddu which is made of gram flour or chickpea flour, Motichoor Laddu are offered as prasad to Lord Ganesha in these 10 days of worship.
After 10 days of Ganesha Chaturthi, the day is considered significant to bid farewell to Lord Ganesha known as Anant Chaturdashi. Anant Chaturdashi is the final day of Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations when the idols of Lord Ganesha are offered to water body through Visarjan and immersion. Public life is significantly affected on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi because of the grand street processions that are taken out with much fun and frolic. The roads and streets are blocked with devotees of Lord Ganesha due to which the movement of vehicle on some significant roads is blocked. There will be much more traffic due to several Ganesha processions.
In some states, the day of Anant Chaturdashi is declared as dry day to control and minimize the unwanted incidents. On this day, all liqueur shops remain closed and all hotels and restaurants except five stars are prohibited to serve alcohol by local authorities. Anant Chaturdashi is listed under restricted government holidays. Hence, individuals can take a day off on the day of Ganesha Visarjan.
An individual gets the flexibility to take time off to celebrate those festivals which are important to their region and religion as per restricted holidays.
The birth anniversary is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada lunar month and the day is popularly known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Magha Krishna Chaturthi is observed as Sakat Chauth in North India. Although, it is not celebrated as birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, it is considered a significant day to worship Lord Ganesha.
Shukla Chaturthi during Magha month is observed as Ganesha Jayanti and it is celebrated as birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha apart from Ganesha Chaturthi in Maharashtra and Konkan regions.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped with all sixteen rituals along with chanting of Puranik Mantras during Ganesha Chaturthi Puja. Worshipping Gods and Goddesses with all 16 rituals is known as Shodashopachara Puja. Although Ganesha Puja can be done throughout the day, but Madhyahnakala is preferred during Ganesha Chaturthi Puja. Deep Prajawalan and Sankalpa are done before starting the Puja and these two are not part of core sixteen steps of Shodashopachara Puja.
Avahana and Pratishthapan are two rituals that are done for newly bought statues of Lord Ganesha either made of clay or made of metal. These two steps can be skipped if you have Lord Ganesha installed at your home and is worshiped daily. Pre-installed statue of Lord Ganesha at home are not given Visarjan but given Utthapana at the end of Puja.
Flowers and leaves are given utmost importance while worshiping Hindu Gods and Goddesses in Hindu rituals. All Gods and Goddesses have their own favorite list of flowers and leaves. Devotees choose only those flowers and leaves which are favorite of the deity, while worshipping Gods and Goddesses. Some flowers and leaves are prohibited for some of the deities and should not be offered to them.
21 different types of leaves are suggested for Ganesha Chaturthi Puja and popularly known as Patris Puja or Patra Puja. As it is not practical to have all of them during the Puja time, devotees can include some of them in Puja Samagari. During Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees offer Anga Puja along with Eka Vinshati Name Ganesh Puja and Shodashopachara Ganesh Puja to seek blessing of Lord Ganesha. In Anga Puja each vital body part of God Ganesha is worshiped along with chanting of Mantra. Anga Puja is integral part of Deva Puja rituals.
Avahan Mudra is formed by joining both palms and folding both thumbs inwards. Puja should begin with invocation of Lord Ganesha. Avahan Mantra should be chanted in front of the Murti.
Installing Lord Ganesha into the statue will be done while chanting Mantra after Lord Ganesha has been invoked.
Take five flowers in your hand by joining palm of both hands and leave them in front of the Murti to offer seat to Shri Ganesha while chanting Mantra after the idol got installed.
After offering Asana to Lord Ganesha, offer Him water to wash the feet while chanting Mantra.
Offer scented water to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra after offering Padya to Lord Ganesha.
After Arghya offering, offer water to Lord Ganesha for Achamana while chanting Mantra.
Offer water to Shri Ganesha for the bath while chanting Mantra after Achamana.
Give a bath with Panchamrita which is the mixture of milk, curd, honey, Ghee and sugar to Shri Ganesha while chanting Mantra after Snanam.
After Sharkara Snanam, now give a bath with scented oil to Shri Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
After Suvasita Snanam, now give a bath with Gangajal to Shri Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Now offer Moli as new clothes to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
After Vastra Samarpan, now offer clothes for upper body parts to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
After Vastra offering, offer Yajnopavita to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Offer scent to Lord Ganesha while chanting following Mantra after Yajnopavita offering.
After Gandha offering, offer Akshata that is unbroken rice to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Now offer garland made of flowers, Shami Patra, Durva with three or five leaflets and finally vermilion to Lord Ganesha for Tilak while chanting Mantra.
Now offer Dhoop to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Now offer Deep to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Now offer Naivedya to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
After Naivedya offering, offer Chandan mixed with water to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Now offer Tambula that means Paan with betel nuts, coconut and Dakshina or gift to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Now perform Lord Ganesha Aarti after chanting Mantra.
Offer Pushpanjali to Lord Ganesha while chanting Mantra.
Now offer symbolic Pradakshina which is circular movement of your hand from left to right of Shri Ganesha with flowers while chanting Mantra.
Now finish Shri Ganesha Puja with Visarjan while chanting Mantra.
Mantra are different for all the steps. Jay Ganesh Deva is one of the most popular and charming Aartis among all devotional Aartis. Ganesha Visarjan can be done on the same day of Ganesha Chaturthi after Ganesha Puja.
Ganesha Visarjan which is done on the next day of Ganesha Chaturthi is known as one and half day Ganesha Visarjan. In this ritual, after performing Ganesha Puja during afternoon, they take the Ganapati idols for Visarjan after Madhyahna.
As the installation of Ganesha idol was done on previous day during Madhyahna and is taken out for Visarjan on the next day during second half of the day. Ganesha Visarjan in many families are also done on the 3rd or 5th or 7th day from the day of Ganesha Chaturthi.
Anant Chaturdashi is the most significant day for Ganesha Visarjan. Apart from Ganesha Visarjan, Anant Chaturdashi is very significant day to worship Lord Vishnu in Anant form. In this day the devotees of Lord Vishnu observe a day long fast and tie sacred thread during Puja. It is believed that sacred thread protects devotees from all sorts of trouble.
After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and sweets, the statues of Lord Ganesha are taken to the water body preferably in a river, lake or the sea through the street procession with much fanfare. But, The idol of Lord Ganesha can be immersed in the water of tub or bucket. Thousands of devotees join the procession and fill the whole atmosphere with chanting of Lord Ganesha. "Ganapati Bappa Morya" and "Ganesh Maharaj Ki, Jai" are few of the famous slogans which are chanted throughout the procession.
In Mumbai, Ganesha Visarjan is performed in a grand way under the guidance of Ganpati Mandals. The street procession is accompanied with Dhol, Tasha and the other traditional instruments. Ganesha Visarjan continues throughout the night till the next morning.