Ganesh Chaturthi is a great Hindu festival celebrated on the birth day of the elephant headed god Lord Ganesha. It falls on the Hindu month of Bhadrapada i.e. late August or early September depending on the cycle of moon. It is celebrated for 10 days with heavy celebrations on the last day known as Anant Chaturdasi. Lord Ganesha is worshipped on this festival as he is believed to remove all the obstacles. This festival is celebrated with great pomp and show across the globe by Hindu communities, but the Indian city of Mumbai stands at the top for the greatest celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.
This festival was introduced in Mumbai by Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja but it was freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who transformed it into a public event in 1893 to fill the gap between different communities, castes etc. The main reason behind it was to unite all the people living in Mumbai. The tradition is carried on till today with more people participating on it and competing to put the best idols in their area.
In Mumbai not only the people of Hindu community but large number of people from varied communities come together to celebrate this festival and make it into a grand success. The whole city is adorned with decorative along with their home; each and every Mumbaikar can be seen in a festive mood during the celebration. The top places in Mumbai where this festivity is celebrated with great grandeur are Mumbaicha Raja, Andhericha Raja, and Khetwadi Ghanraj etc. In these places the idols are decorated using golds and diamonds and are made up to a height of 40 feet.
On the first day the idol is kept over a base that denotes a throne and it is tracked by a priest who performs the rituals devoted to the idol. Before offering Modak (sweetened ladoo) along with incense and flowers to god, it is dipped in the holy water. After days, the idol is being worshipped with Ganesh Stuti and devotional songs (bhajans) in the sunset and sunrise. Along with programmes which are organized at various places, people also set up idols at homes and pays their greetings to god and ask for wishes. During this festival season everywhere you will hear the resonating sound “Ganpati Bappa Moriya, Mangalmurti Morya”.
On the tenth day farewell procession for taking the idol into the watering bodies are accompanied by lots of famed singers, priests and dancers as it is believed that god leaves for heavenly abode after visiting. Sweets, ladoos, aarti, flowers and other delicacies are offered to god before immersing in the Arabian Sea. People enchant saying ‘Ganapati Bappa-Maurya’ following the farewell procession. The most famous immersion takes place on Chowpatti Beach which is positioned 1 km away from the Marine Drive, large number of people flock to observe the majestic Visarjan.
Negative Impact of Ganesh Chaturthi:
The grave impact of the festival on the atmosphere is due to the immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris into various sources of water including sea, lakes, rivers etc. It takes place on the last day of this festival. With the contamination of water sources which affects the environment, the floras and faunas are also hugely affected as lakes and rivers are used by them for water sources. Animals, birds, marine life along with people of rural area are mostly affected. Heavy metals like mercury and cadmium which are used to adorn the idols cause water pollution. Among others, noise pollution is also the outcome of this festival. Traffic jams is another problem and above all these problems, security is the major problem during the festival season as the festival is celebrate with great vigor and pomp, but every individual has the fear of terror attack. With such a huge crowd coming together, it becomes very difficult for the management to provide security, but even though, India government put all its efforts to avoid and ensures that such unexpected incidents does not occur.