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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sri vinayaga Chathurthi Celebrations @ Chennai 2018

One sees whatever one wants to see – anywhere, everywhere. 

Ganesh Chathurthi is a very popular festival across the Country.  Ganapathi, Vinayakar, Vigneshwarar – in various forms is celebrated in Temples, households and in Pandals made by groups where the idol of Vinayaka is kept, worshipped and then immersed in river / sea and water after worship.  In Mumbai, there are many Pandals – put up by local Organisations with ornately made Ganesha idols. Lalbaugcha Raja is one of the most popular ones.  The idol is kept for public display for Eleven days thereafter it is immersed on the auspicious day of Anant Chaturdashi.

This Ganesha reportedly  attracts lakhs of devotees every day.  It is believed that this Idol of Lord Ganesha is Navsacha Ganpati (fulfiller of all wishes).  This popular Ganesha is hosted by Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Lalbaug, founded in 1934 at Lalbaug.  Lalbaug lies in the approximate centre of Mumbai, near Dadar and Parel, and has been a famous centre for reunions of Hindus during their festivals, especially the Ganesh festival.

பிள்ளையார் பிள்ளையார் ~ பெருமை வாய்ந்த பிள்ளையார்!
ஆற்றங்கரையின் ஓரத்திலே; அரசமரத்தின் நிழலிலே
வீற்றிருக்கும் பிள்ளையார்; வினைகள் தீர்க்கும் பிள்ளையார்!

Today 13th Sept 2018 is Ganesh Chaturthi…. Vinayaka Chathurthi has been celebrated in Tamilnadu as also in the rest of the country with gay and gaiety.  Lord Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.

In mid 1980s, installing huge Vinayaka idols in many public places, religious worship for ten days and visarjanam were being conducted in a big manner ~ after a couple of incidents, the then rulers banned passing of procession in the Triplicane High Road citing law and order issues and now a days, the procession has shrunk ……. Those days, there would be hundreds of Vinayakas big and small installed at each street and the idol procession would unwind through narrow lanes of triplicane, with enthusiastic crowds singing bajans and songs extolling Ganesha. In the early 1990s there were close to 5000 idols from all parts of Chennai assembling nearer Thiruvateeswaranpet and then the procession concluding near Thilagar Thidal in Marina beach.

Many persons who were earlier organizing such pandal now state that there has been too much of pressure and hassles in obtaining permission, installation and conduct of visarjanam.  Nearer Thiruvatteewarar koil in Triplicane, there used to be very huge idols of Vinayakar touching 32 feet which had to be scaled down to many reasons ~ important one being the construction of MRTS and the overhead bridge restricting the height.

This year too there have been so many restrictions and Hindu Munnani resorted to protests including peaceful abstinence from food ~ yet, despite so many pressures,   today could observe many pandals with beautiful Vinayaka idols. Police have instructed members of Hindu Munnani and other organisations that have installed Ganesh idols to follow stringent rules while conducting the festival.

Sowcarpet area in Chennai  has huge sprinkling of Rajasthani and North Indian population and here Ganesh Chathurthi is celebrated with great religious fervour.  The pandals are tastefully decorated and richly made. Here are some photos of
Vinayaka in different forms (taken in Triplicane and in Sowcarpet)

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
13th Sept. 2018

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