Lord Ganesha is the most revered deity in Maharashtra, and so Ganesh Chaturthi easily comes as the most celebrated and buzzing festival in the entire state across religions, across castes. The festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesha and usually spans a 10-day affair with grandeur, music and devotion.
The festival gained its existence back in 1630 during the reign of Shivaji, the ruler of Maratha empire. However, post 1818 the festival lost its momentum with the fall of Maratha and Peshwa empire and rise of British rule until 1893 when freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak reinvented the festival in a bid to bring various castes together.
The festival, which is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and Ganeshotsav, usually begins with bringing an idol of Ganesha in homes on the first day. The festival kicks off from the fourth day of the fortnight of Bhadrapada as per the Hindu calendar (August-September).
For the next 10 days, the entire atmosphere is buzzed with daily prayers, feasts, folk songs, chanting of Lord Ganesha and the celebrated sweet during the festival, laddoo (sweet balls). In addition, huge pandals (set ups) grace every local corner with idols as huge as 20 feet with decorations worth crores of rupees.
A lot of cultural events are also organized during this phase. It’s a big, vibrant mix of culture, religion, devotion and fun that is hypnotizing for any tourist who visits the state during Ganesha Chaturthi. The entire state has high police security to avoid any mishappening during this mad rush of celebration.
On the 10th day, the idol is taken out of the house/pandal and is taken on a huge procession through the lanes with lots of singing and dancing before it’s immersed in the river/sea. During immersion, devotees bid farewell to the Lord and ask him to bless their families and visit again next year. Under any circumstances, the idols are not supposed to be kept in home after the 10th day as it brings bad luck.