Sunday, September 30, 2012



This is the most kaleidoscopic festival 
in Bombay- Ganesha Chaturthi. I'm nearly always surprized, year after year, at how it infuses the city with a sense of high, a melody that seems to permeate the atmosphere all around, a bonding across all cultures and religions. This festival that falls on the fourth day of the waxing moon around August, is the start of the festive season in India and

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goes on for seven days. A long festival yes, but it only hit my radar when I was driving back from the airport and I became acutely aware of its magic - returning after a long spell of study and work abroad.

Colors, firecrackers, gambling, worship, dance all through the seven day saga. Public celebrations on streets with color powder being thrown signifying the myriad moods and moments of the local communities  and mandalas competing to put up bigger and more colorful statues of the mighty Elephant God Ganapati, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati- the mother goddess Shakti.  
It’s interesting to see the poor and the rich dancing on the streets with their deity, year after year, celebrating with equal fervor.   

The procession is accompanied with much dance, fanfare and song, though I am a tad confused as to why Bollywood 'pop' over sacred chants. I must admit I was most surprized last night to hear 'Munni Badnaam', a song shot in Bollywood depicting a local brothel, at a holy immersion dance.

                                                               I jumped out of my car to see throngs of crowds dancing and singing,  following floats of trucks and vans and pick up’s that carried the Mighty Ganesha to his 'visarjan' or the immersion of the God into the Sea- symbolizing the return of Lord Ganesha from the earth.

                                                                                                                        After satisfying his devotees' wishes the Lord Ganpati returns to his heavenly abode. Immersing of the clay deity into the sea where he becomes one with the elements is a metaphor for transience of all joys and sorrows,  the impermanence of the human form and  changing state of the universe.  Form  to formlessness.  

The only constant is the divine power, the energy. The ritual see-off of the Elephant God in his journey towards his abode in Mount Kailash is a big day for Indians when they dress up and celebrate his going home while he take’s away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.

                Nisha JamVwal



sabkon wells said...

hi loved such an awesome post.Will be back for more such interesting updates.

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Saurabh said...

Interesting write up... As u rightly said, its one of most vibrant celebrations all over the world... The best thing is that this is celebrated by almost all ppl(including muslims)... simply overwhelming when I saw a muslim wearing the skull cap and having long beard going to submerse the deity!!!!

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