The Ganpati Festival – a slide show
On my trip to Pune last week-end, I went Ganpati-Seeing, something I have not done for many years. I used to do it (on foot) during my college years. It was something I enjoyed, as I always loved Ganpati. Odd, isn’t it, for an agnostic like me to adore a God, but if there is one God I am partial to, it’s Ganesh. And enjoying the festival has always been more of a cultural celebration for me (rather than religious).
Walking is the most efficient way to see the elaborately decorated and lighted ganpatis as you don’t have to keep getting in and out of a car – although it notches up many (walked) kilometers. If you are a serious ganpati watcher, best to go on foot as certain parts of the city are closed to vehicles after four pm during the 10-day Ganpati Festival.
(If you want to know more about the Ganesh Festival, see note at the bottom)
Pune is not legendary for its massive Ganpati idols like Mumbai is, but it is known for its lighted Ganpatis. It is quite fascinating to watch the elaborate lighting, which is often synchronised to the music. Nowadays the police have become strict about the music though, forcing it shut down by around 10:30 at the latest. I did not get the time to visit all the ganpatis, and I know I missed the best ones, but these are slide shows of some that I saw.
First, just a few pictures to capture the atmosphere of the streets alongwith pictures of the idols and the sets which narrate stories from religious mythology. Note the presence of animals…this was something I always took for granted (the importance of animals in Hinduism), until a reader pointed it out. It made me conscious of the fact that Hinduism has an all-encompassing nature…in Hinduism there is a place for all creatures, big and small, the weak and the powerful.
If you want to see any slide-show again, just click the tiny cross at the top right hand corner.
The next few slide shows are of the lighted Ganpatis. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did. It’s not the same without the music though!
(Note: Ganesh Festival (Ganesh Chaturthi) is celebrated on the day of Lord Ganesh’s birthday. This festival means installing the idol of Lord Ganesh in the house or in a public place (by a group), and worshipping it until the time comes for immersion. Each family immerses the idol on different days (from one and a half to ten days), according to the tradition of the family, but most public ganpatis are ready for immersion only on the 10th day. During the way to the water body, people sing and dance on the streets and many groups/societies hold cultural evenings throughout these ten days.)
Related Reading: A visit to Mammallapuram – a photo essay
The cave temples of Ellora at Aurangabad – a photo feature
A tour of the Ajanta Caves at Aurangabad – a photo feature
Countering the Hinduphobia of the west