Ganesh Chaturthi, the fourth day of the waxing moon period in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh, the elephant god. Ganeshotsav, the 10-day festival will be starting this year on 10th September and will continue till 19th September on Anant Chaturdashi, the 14th day.
The echoes of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ are not alien to our North Indian city of Gurgaon anymore. Last few years with more and more migrant populations making the millennial city their home, Ganpati also has made its more prominent place in the heart of people and into many homes in its festivities.
Ganesh, the elephant God, holds a special place in Hindu homes and is worshipped before all other gods when it comes to any puja or festival. Ganesh-Utsav festivities are more popularly celebrated in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and has been elusive in the northern states for a long time. In recent years with the mix of cosmopolitan population, Gurgaon brought this festival in the midst of its weave in every way possible.
Many households now invite home ‘bappa’ for a few days if not the whole 10 days and follow the traditional sthapna, puja and visarjan culture. Along with the religious sentiments, the eco-consciousness is not far behind for anyone and thus the eco-friendly Ganesha are more in demand than the conventional plaster of pairs ones.
We see many shops across markets or malls or even roadside vendors selling the Ganpati idols of all sizes which are made with water-soluble clay and decorated with water-colours. Few even come these days as plantable Ganesha with plant seeds embedded to just turn into plants once immersed into a gardening pot. Many home-entrepreneurs have gained popularity by sourcing eco-friendly idols and all puja essentials from Maharashtra. Many artists hold workshops to train people to make their own clay Ganesh idols at home. Such sessions are even being held online in the last two years.
Most sweet shops are aware of the increased demand for modaks and laddoos, Ganesh’s favourite sweets, during the week and now have turned innovative with various flavours of kesar, coconut and even chocolate ones. A large number home chefs and kitchens also serve special Ganpati menu with modaks and other festival favourites.
A big credit for the popularity of the festival here goes to Maharashtra Mandal Gurugram which has been hosting the Ganesh-Utsav for over 20 years in the city. The scale of celebrations has only increased over time in the pre-pandemic years with all 10 days filled with maha-puja rituals and cultural events involving families and kids. Not just the members of the mandal but people from across Gurgaon have participated in the events with bhajan singing or dance performances or musical nights. One of the most favourites has been the rangoli competition. The festivities also attracted large crowds to visit the utsav for puja, attend the events and also to enjoy the yummy Maharashtrian delicacies like vada pao, bhel puri, sev puri, dabeli, misal pao etc.
In 2020, with the lockdown restrictions and limitations, their utsav was much scaled down with puja rituals and events broadcasted live through digital platforms. We are yet to hear the program details for this year.
The love for our Ganpati has brought a huge cultural shift in our Gurgaonites and we hope that the lord brings peace, tranquillity and prosperity across all, healing the town from the pandemic so that we can all enjoy his celebrations to the fullest.
‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’
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