The day was 25th August 2017 and I was extremely excited to welcome my Bappa home! The festival is know as ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ in Mumbai and ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ in Chennai. Although I live in Chennai, my better half was born and bought up here, I am a hard core Bombayite by heart! I proudly call myself SOBO (South Bombay) girl. So when I moved to Chennai 2 years back, I started to celebrate every festival ‘Mumbaiya’ style. Same is the case with my Ganesha. He comes home in a true King style, and my family and friends come to take his blessings.
So now every year I get to experience Ganesha festival in both Mumbai and Chennai. Usually the first 3-4 days I’m in Chennai and the second half of the festival in ‘Aamchi Mumbai’. There is a big difference in the way the festival is celebrated in both the cities. In Chennai, the festival is more about religious prayers and thanksgiving to God. Every Tamil household keeps a Ganesha made out of mud and they offer sweet Kozhukkattais.(sweet dumpling made from rice flour, with a filling of grated coconut and jaggery)
Here are some Ganeshas that I enjoyed seeing in Chennai:
The Corn Ganesha
Majority of the body is made with Indian corn( Sorghum ), to give an earthy color. Few parts that need to be highlighted are made with the ripe yellow corn and the light green skin.
The Watermelon Ganesha
This lord is made with 3500 watermelons. I totally loved the creativity.
As you can see Chennai Ganesha’s are more sober looking and monochrome. The festival is a quite affair here. This is in complete contrast to Mumbai where the pandals(a marquee) are open 24*7 and the Lord is very colorful. The pandals have loud music playing and the festival is a reason to socialize and enjoy.
Some of the Mumbai Ganeshas that I loved are:
The Red Ganesha
This Ganesha belongs to Pratibha Industies. They have had this Lord come to their pandal for 35 years now and every year he wears the color red.
This Ganesha’s color was so eye catching. That pearl lilac was something I have never seen before. This one is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, and is made with 4 animal forms: fish, turtle, boar and lion.
There is an area in Mumbai, called Khetwadi. You cannot miss walking around Khetwadi during this festival. It’s like a mela (a fair) and you can visit atleast 15 Ganesha pandals.
The Lord above is the King of Khetwadi, infact every year this Lord is the winner at the “Times of India Ganesha Utsav”(a competition held by a leading publication for the best creativity/theme with which the God/pandal is made). The Bhojan (food) that is offered to the God is mouth watering!(The picture on the right)
Fort-Icchapurti Ganesh(The Lord who hears your desires)
This Ganesha, is one of the most peaceful Ganeshas I have ever visited. The chant brings you inner pease and calm.
P.S. – His right palm which is made of pure gold.
This is undoubtedly my favorite! Made up of 30,000 pieces of Cadbury, a total of 69 kgs of chocolate! It’s miraculous how there ain’t a single ant out there. The temperature of the pandal is maintained by 4 air conditioners.
It’s been 3 days since all the Ganeshas have been immersed in the sea, and I’m totally missing them! Mumbai seems like a different place when he is around. Every year, I wait for him to come back to my home, and bless all my near and dear ones!
Lord Ganesha, till we meet again!