Happy Ganesha Chaturthi
Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya–Kotti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa
O Lord Ganesha, of the curved trunk, large body and with the brilliance of a million suns please make all my works free of obstacles, always.
So the big event has arrived. Today is the day. Boys in groups of ever increasing size have been touring the area, for what seems to be weeks, knocking on doors asking for donations to build their shrines.
The traditional potters street in Mysore (see below) sell the many varieties of the terracotta Ganesha. Others sell them on street corners throughout the city.
Our good friend Rob Thomas has taken some great photos of them for sale in Mumbai. I must say that the one’s in Mumbai look great, (maybe its Rob’s photography) they are beautifully painted.
The older boys and men build temporary shelters, with completely over the top decorations, lights leading up the road, colourful Ganeshas and music blasting out of speakers. Its great fun.
It’s not a particularly ancient festival in its current form as it was popularised by a chap called Lokamanya Tilak (there’s a back story there about fighting the British colonials and the development of Hinduvstan) in Mumbai in the late 19th Century.
So here at home Ganesh is installed in our Pooja Room. We choose to have the simple version with no or natural paints NOT the Plaster of Paris version with paints that damages the environment.
There are a set series of days, with a few different options (this is India) we’re supposed to keep him at home and then immerse him in water. We usually go the ‘whole hog’ and immerse him in the river Kaveri on Srirangaptnam at Paschimavahini (featured on our world famous cycle tours) in five days. This year we’ll delay the immersion to coincide with the arrival of Alex , my niece from the UK and on her second day we’ll give her a ‘right-old’ introduction to India 😉
Our Pooja Room also has a much larger Ganesh, bought cheaply after the festival had ended a few years ago. He was bought to go in the roof garden but he just hangs out here! that’s cool!