Ganesh Festival

Ganesh procession on a Powai street.

Every year in late August-early September, Bombay honors Lord Ganesh (the elephant deity). People make elaborate effigies of Lord Ganesh, in ever growing sizes; recently, I read in the papers here, the authorities have imposed a height limit (something to the tune of 5-10 m, i.e. 15-30ft.)... for after ten days of celebrations, with chanting and processions, each effigy is taken to a body of water and immersed. In the city of Bombay proper the Arabian sea receives Lord Ganesh, and beaches like Chowpatty are full of people till early in the morning, when the immersion finally takes place. In Powai, the pooja offering takes place in the Powai lake, using a ramp right next to the IIT Guest House, where I obtained the images below. (The effigy below is not the same as the one above, but both were in Powai.)

Lord Ganesh arriving lakeside. Lord Ganesh, closer.
Effigy of Lord Ganesh arriving lakeside.

In the interest of accuracy (and saving a network hop) I excerpt here Mumbai Net's description of the festival:

Ganapati Utsaav [more details/pictures] - Festival dedicated to Lord Ganesh, the son of Shiva and Paravati. This festival is probably the longest of all, going on for ten days. The Samajic Utsaav (public celebration) was started by Lokmanya TiLak as a rallying point during [the] freedom movement from the British Raj. Even to this day, there are huge public displays of Ganesh idols with Aarthi (song of devotion to God) and loud music and dancing by the devotees. [...] People also install a Ganesh idol in their homes. On the tenth day, huge processions carry images of the God to be disposed off into the water, hoping for them to return early next year.

Faithful surround Lord Ganesh.People around Lord Ganesh.
Faithful surround Lord Ganesh.

People waiting by the lake.
People waiting by the lake.

. Effigy lowered from its carrier. Ganesh moved by hand to lake.
. .
Idol carried by hand to the lake.

. . .
People watching the immersion of the effigy in the lake.

Lake Powai morning after Ganesh immersions.
Warning at ramp; Lake Powai, the morning after.

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© Cris 1998-Y2K
updated 1998/12/02