Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some Ganeshas at Chembur

Having finished with the distant Ganesha pandals, we decided to head for a shorter trip closer home in Chembur. Two of the oldest and most popular Ganeshas in Chembur are those at R.K. Studios and the Duke’s Factory. Of course, there are other bigger Ganeshas too – the Chembur-cha Raja in Camp and the many others in the vicinity, and the extravagant Tilak Nagar Ganesha, but these usually have a long queue waiting for darshan, something for which I lack patience. We started with the aim of visiting just these two Ganeshas, but managed a couple more interesting ones on the way. Come, take a look….

We started with the Ganesha at the Duke’s factory – that’s the one making the famous ‘Duke’s Soda’. The factory employees have installed a Ganesha here for years, and it is one of the most popular ones, for they not only have a huge idol of the lord, but also work hard for the theme of the year.




Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ganesha Chaturthi - A tour of some Ganesha Pandals in Bombay




This year, I had planned to write a blog on all the 10 days of the Ganeshotsav, and take you along with me as I visited various Ganesha Pandals. However, all my plans came to naught when my internet conked off on the morning of the very second day. So, first of all, to all those who have left comments on my earlier blogs, I am sorry for the delay, but I have a lot to catch up with, and shall certainly reply to all of you soon.

Coming back to the Ganeshotsav, the pandals I visit are not the most popular ones – I certainly don’t have the patience to stand in the never-ending queues for the Lalbaugcha Raja or the Tilak Nagar Ganpati. In any case, there are plenty of photos of these Ganeshas on the net. I shall, however, like you to join me in my tour of some of the Ganesha pandals I normally visit – those near my house, as well as some others we have sentimental ties with.

Here is the first Ganesha we saw this year – this one is at thane – a new mandal, one that wasn’t there when I used to live there, but now is quite a popular one with interesting themes.

This year, the theme was the Ashtavinaya Temples in Maharashtra. Take a look.

 
A Nataraja at the entrance...




There are three Ganeshas we visit every year – and these are the 3 Ganeshas installed by the G.S.B. Seva Mandal at Wadala, SNDT and Kurla. While I was unable to take pictures at the second and third pandals, here are some of the first –




This is one of the richest Ganeshas in Mumbai, and all the ornaments you see on the idol are of real gold. This Ganesha is installed in the Ram Temple at Wadala.


I was introduced to the various Ganeshas of Matunga when I spent the 3 years of my college life there. I still have a soft corner in my heart for them, and as far as possible try to visit them every year. We started from the Ganesha next to Ruia College (My College!) and walked along the station road looking at all the Ganeshas on that road... Here they are……

This one is the Ruia Ganpati. This was the only one we saw with a social theme – this one was completely in Marathi – and focused on Indian achievements as well as the problems we face.


Here are a few more Ganpatis just down the same road...

A closer view of this last one...




The Matunga bazaar Ganpati had this beautiful exhibition of Ganesha drawings.




I especially liked these….

The crossword Ganesha…


And the Shivaji- Ganesha.



All these drawings have been made by a Mr. Rajan, who has his own blog. Check it out at http://rajandraws.wordpress.com/


At the Matunga flower market, we encountered a procession of Ganeshas heading for immersion, and waited while the drum beating crowd passed along………..

The flower Market Ganesha...

and the revellers...


We ended our tour with the Pramanik Ganpati.




The roads were lit up, and added to the festive atmosphere. I remember, how, as a kid new to Bombay, I would yearn to see these roads lit up, but had to come here from far off thane, and could only visit these pandals in the daytime. Yet, what stands out till today is the memory of those much-looked-forward-to visits. It makes me take Samhith to all these pandals, hoping he too will have some wonderful memories like mine…..




There are many more beautiful Ganeshas in Matunga, but we had time only for these.

Next, you can look forward to some Ganeshas from my neighbourhood. Till then, Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!!!




Monday, August 24, 2009

A Welcome to Ganesha




The morning dawned bright and clear, but soon it was a swirling mass of clouds which soon burst and soaked us as we prepared to welcome Ganesha, the elephant-headed God. It looked like the heavens were welcoming the gracious lord with welcome showers of rain, which, incidentally, we had almost given up on!

We still don’t have any pujas this year, and as we drove along the highway towards my mom’s house, the rains lashed almost till we reached. Then, they suddenly seemed to give up, and all was dry once more.

All along the road, people were getting their favourite lord home, covering up his face, as is the custom. His face will be uncovered only when he reaches home and the prayers begin to install him as the most preferred guest for the period.



In my mom’s place, prayers were on in full swing, for we have a special puja to go with Ganesh Chaturthi. We not only invite the child-like elephant headed god, but also his mother Parvati, also known as Gowri.

According to mythology, Parvati is believed to have made a visit to her mother’s home – earth, and Shiva wanted her to return as soon as possible. He therefore sent their son Ganesha, right behind her, asking him to bring back his mother soon. We, therefore begin our celebrations with Gowri Puja, inviting the Devi home. Then we welcome her son, who gets a reception befitting a much-loved grandson. On an auspicious day (the period varies), both, mother and son are sent back with much pomp and ceremony, and much regret too...

This year, both Gowri and Ganesha arrived on the same day, and stay for a full 5 days, making the puja an even more elaborate affair. Here are some pics….


The house is decorated – from the entrance to the puja room… with rangoli and lights…..

The arrangement of the idols –


The image of Gowri –




And Ganesha –



Till recently, we used to use a clay image of Ganesha and a sand rolled in cloth with a face drawn on it, for Gowri. These used to be immersed in the lake after the puja was over. However, these days the condition of the lakes are so bad, that we have modified things and use these idols for the puja, which can be re-used without any harmful effects.

The flowers for the puja….



The puja in progress….



Finally, the Naivedyam – the offerings to the guests…. Mouthwatering stuff!



Lets take a closer look…

First, the fruits….



Here’s the Sakkara Pongal – sweet pongal.



Kozhakattai – modaks…. Ganesha’s favourite… and Samhith’s too….



Idlis…the most healthy food in the lot…



Uppu kozhakkattai – made with pulses and salty..



Ellu Kozhakkattai – made with til…




Pal Poli (Polis dipped in milk..)




Sundal



Vadai..



Appam



And there were lots more items….. A regular feast!!

At the end of the puja, we women had a thread tied around our wrists…. For our well-being, I suppose…..



And finally, as the daughter of the house, I was given the haldi-kumkum, or vettalai pakku, with a slight difference. All the items were given to me in a ‘moram’ (I have no idea what to call it in English, so you can take a look yourself!)



Here’s what’s inside……..



Before I end this post, here’s a look at the many types of Ganeshas my sister has collected over the years… have I mentioned that we are all voracious collectors? We all collect all sorts of stuff… which probably explains why there’s no more place in my house!





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