The 10 day-long festival celebrating the arrival of Lord Ganesha, or Bappa, as he is affectionately known culminated on 12 September, 2019. Ganpati statues are brought to the sea on the last day amidst much dancing and merriment, and immersed in the water. In this photo, Ganesha is on his way to Versova Beach followed by his devotees.
The 10 day-long festival celebrating the arrival of Lord Ganesha, or <em>Bappa</em>, as he is affectionately known, culminated on 12 September, 2019. Ganesha statues are brought to the sea on the last day amidst much dancing and merriment, to be immersed in the water. In this photo, Ganpati is on his way to Versova Beach followed by his devotees.
Maharastra is particularly known for passionately celebrating this festival, with huge crowds gathering along the beaches and procession routes on the last day and over 2,00,000 Ganpati statues being immersed into the sea here annually.
Ganesha idols are heavy structures created over months of labour. A forklift truck lifts this Ganesha onto the awaiting jetty that will take the statue out into the deeper waters for immersion.
Members of the community come together to keep the Ganesha idol stable and push the jetty off out into the waters.
Many live bands play along the procession route ensuring that everyone gets a chance to dance their hearts out. Ganesha is one of Hinduism’s most beloved deities, so much so that tradition dictates that all <em>pujas</em> (prayers) must begin with an invocation to the elephant-headed God.
Ladies dress up in their finery and come geared up to dance, joining the <em>visarjan</em> celebrations of their beloved <em>Bappa</em>.
The best view of the procession is from the top of the trucks carrying the Ganpati to the beach. Clay idols are installed privately in homes during the festival, but more prominently, local societies or <em>mandals</em> create temporary stages in public spaces to set-up a huge Ganesha statue with an entire locality coming together and contributing funds towards the 10-day-long festivities.
Two young girls accompany a Ganesha idol on the day of immersion. Over the 10-day period, vedic hymns are recited in the mornings and evenings in the <em>mandals</em> as well as in homes and delicious sweets, particularly the <em>modak</em>, are presented as offerings to the lord. In Mumbai, along with the small, local mandals, it is the Lalbaugcha Raja which is one of the most well-known Ganpati idols in the community.
A Ganpati gets carefully lowered onto a jetty with a crane, which will take Him out to sea, before being immersed into the sea water.
A coordinator of proceedings at the beach waves this Ganesha goodbye on his final journey.
Not all the Ganpatis are huge in size and organised by large groups of people, some are smaller, worshipped privately at home by one family, and later bought to the beach by hand to be immersed along with others on shared jetties.
<em>Pujas</em> are carried out and the crowd chants <em>'Ganpati Bappa Moraya, Pudhchya varshi lavkar ya'</em> (Hail Lord Ganesha, Come again soon next year) in unison, as they bid goodbye to Ganesha at the end of his 10-day stay.