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Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival Guide

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

When: August 25, 2017

This spectacular festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, popularly worshiped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune.

When is Ganesh Chaturthi?

Late August or early September, depending on the cycle of the moon. It falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. In 2016, Ganesh Chaturthi is on September 05. It is celebrated for 11 days (ending on September 15), with the biggest spectacle taking place on the last day called Anant Chaturdasi day.

Where is it Celebrated?

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

Mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. One of the best places to experience the festival is in the city of Mumbai. Celebrations take place in a special way at the towering Siddhivinayak temple, located in the central suburb of Prabhadevi, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. An incalculable number of devotees visit the temple to join in prayers and pay their respects to the God during the festival. In addition, around 10,000 statues of Lord Ganesh are displayed at various locations in the city.

How is it Celebrated?

The festival begins with the installation of huge elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha in homes and podiums, which have been especially constructed and beautifully decorated. Artisans put months of effort into making the statues. It's forbidden to look at the moon on this first night as legend had it the moon laughed at Lord Ganesha when he fell from his vehicle, the rat.

On Ananta Chaturdasi (the last day), the statues are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then immersed in the ocean or other bodies of water. In Mumbai alone, more than 150,000 statues are immersed each year!

What Rituals are Performed?

Once a statue of Lord Ganesh is installed, a ceremony is undertaken to invoke his holy presence into the statue. This ritual is called the Pranapratishhtha Puja, during which a number of mantras are recited. Following this a special worship is performed. Offerings of sweets, flowers, rice, coconut, jaggery and coins are made to the God. The statue is also anointed with red chandan powder. Prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha every day during the festival. Temples devoted to Lord Ganesha also organize special events and prayers. Those who have a Ganesha statue in their house treat and care for him as a much loved guest.

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

Why are the Ganesh Statues Immersed in Water at the End of the Festival?

Hindus worship idols, or statues, of their gods because it gives them a visible form to pray to. They also recognize that the universe is in a constant state of change. Form eventually gives away to formlessness. However, the energy still remains. The immersion of the statues in the ocean, or other bodies of water, and subsequent destruction of them serves as a reminder of this belief.

What to Expect During the Festival

The festival is celebrated in a very public manner. Local communities compete with each other to put up the biggest and best Ganesha statue and display. Expect very crowded streets, filled with boisterous devotees, and lots of music.

108 Names of Ganesha

Lord Ganesha is known by many names. There exists 108 different names of Ganesha in the Hindu scriptures. Many of these are suitable for baby names - for both boys and girls. The following are these various Sanskrit names of Ganesha with their meaning.

1. Akhuratha: One whose chariot is pulled by a mouse

2. Alampata: One who is forever eternal

3. Amit: One who is incomparable

4. Anantachidrupamayam: One who is the personification of the infinite consciousness

5. Avaneesh: Master of the universe

6. Avighna: The remover of obstacles

7. Balaganapati: Beloved child

8. Bhalchandra: One who is moon crested

9. Bheema: One who is gigantic

10. Bhupati: The lord of lords

Ganesh Chaturthi

11. Bhuvanpati: The lord of the heaven

12. Buddhinath: The God of wisdom

13. Buddhipriya: One who bestows of knowledge and intellect

14. Buddhividhata: The God of knowledge

15. Chaturbhuj: The four-armed lord

16. Devadeva: The lord of lords

17. Devantakanashakarin: Destroyer of evils and demons

18. Devavrata: One who accepts all penances

19. Devendrashika: The protector of all gods

20. Dharmik: One who is righteous and charitable

21. Dhoomravarna: One whose skin is smoke-hued

22. Durja: The invincible

23. Dvaimatura: One who has two mothers

24. Ekaakshara: One who is of a single syllable

25. Ekadanta: Single-tusked

26. Ekadrishta: Single-focused

27. Eshanputra: The son of Shiva

28. Gadadhara: One whose weapon is the mace

29. Gajakarna: One who has elephantine-ears

30. Gajanana: One who has an elephantine face

31. Gajananeti: One who has the looks of an elephant

32. Gajavakra: The trunk of an elephant

33. Gajavaktra: One who has an elephantine mouth

34. Ganadhakshya: The lord of lords

35. Ganadhyakshina: Leader of all celestial bodies

Ganesh Chaturthi

36. Ganapati: The lord of lords

37. Gaurisuta: The son of Gauri

38. Gunina: The lord of virtues

39. Haridra: One who is golden-hued

40. Heramba: Mother's beloved son

41. Kapila: One who is yellowish-brown

42. Kaveesha: The lord of poets

43. Kirti: The lord of music

44. Kripalu: Merciful lord

45. Krishapingaksha: One who has yellowish-brown eyes

46. Kshamakaram: The abode of forgiveness

47. Kshipra: One who is easy to appease

48. Lambakarna: One who has large ears

49. Lambodara: One who has a big belly

50. Mahabala: One who is enormously strong

51. Mahaganapati: The Supreme Lord

52. Maheshwaram: Lord of the universe

53. Mangalamurti: The all auspicious Lord

54. Manomay: The winner of hearts

55. Mrityuanjaya: The conqueror of death

56. Mundakarama: The abode of happiness

57. Muktidaya: Bestower of eternal bliss

Ganesh Chaturthi

58. Musikvahana: One who rides a mouse

59. Nadapratithishta: One who appreciates music

60. Namasthetu: Destroyer of evils and sins

61. Nandana: Lord Shiva's son

62. Nideeshwaram: Bestower of wealth

63. Omkara: One who has the form of 'Om'

64. Pitambara: One who has yellowish skin

65. Pramoda: Lord of all abodes

66. Prathameshwara: First among all Gods

67. Purush: The omnipotent personality

68. Rakta: One who is blood-hued

69. Rudrapriya: One who is the beloved of Shiva

70. Sarvadevatman: One who accepts all celestial offerings

71. Sarvasiddhanta: Bestower of skills and knowledge

72. Sarvatman: Protector of the universe

73. Shambhavi: Son of Parvati

Ganesh Chaturthi

74. Shashivarnam: One who has a moon-like complexion

75. Shoorpakarna: One who is large-eared

76. Shuban: The all auspicious Lord

77. Shubhagunakanan: One who is The Master of All Virtues

78. Shweta: One who is as pure as the white

79. Siddhidhata: Bestower of accomplishments and successes

80. Siddhipriya: Giver of wishes and boons

81. Siddhivinayaka: Bestower of success

82. Skandapurvaja: Elder of Skanda or Kartikya

83. Sumukha: One who has an auspicious face

84. Sureshwaram: The lord of lords

85. Swaroop: Lover of beauty

86. Tarun: One who is ageless

87. Uddanda: The nemesis of evils and vices

88. Umaputra: The son of Goddess Uma

89. Vakratunda: One with a curved trunk

90. Varaganapati: Bestower of boons

91. Varaprada: One who grants wishes

92. Varadavinayaka: Bestower of success

Ganesh Chaturthi

93. Veeraganapati: The vigorous lord

94. Vidyavaridhi: The God of wisdom

95. Vighnahara: Remover of obstacles

96. Vignaharta: Destroyer of all obstacles

97. Vighnaraja: Lord of all obstacles

98. Vighnarajendra: Lord of all obstacles

99. Vighnavinashanaya: Destroyer of all obstacles

100. Vigneshwara: Lord of all obstacles

101. Vikat: One who is huge

102. Vinayaka: The Supreme Lord

103. Vishwamukha: Master of the universe

104. Vishwaraja: King of the world

105. Yagnakaya: One who accepts sacrificial offerings

106. Yashaskaram: The bestower of fame and fortune

107. Yashvasin: The beloved and ever popular lord

108. Yogadhipa: The lord of meditation

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