Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival day.

Ganesh Chaturthi is an important holiday, “a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees” [Wikipedia].  We luckily chose to visit one of the major Ganesha temples in the city and got to experience the whole ceremony.  

Ganesha is seated at center right.

When we learned that school was closed for the day, so that families could celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, we decided that we should explore and find a way that we could learn more about this festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Ganesha.  We headed out mid-morning, and noticed that the majority of shops had been closed for the day.

We arrived at the Bull Temple, usually one of the more interesting but rather quiet tourist attractions in the south-central part of Bangalore.  Ah! But right next to the Bull Temple is a Ganesh temple, lavishly decorated for the occasion, with a huge crowd and a long line to get in. 

Ganesh temple near the Bull Temple

We waited in line for an hour, with many other families – no other tourists like us.  The mood was festive, and children in line were dressed in their best.  Near the front of the line we passed many sidewalk vendors, doing a brisk business offering the goods you might need to make an offering, and a few beggars.

We passed through the temple, receiving the blessing of Ganesh and then a small meal – a rice curry served in a bowl handmade from dried banana leaves, plus a modakam (a sweet ball of coconut, dried fruits, and sugar).  

Bull Temple

We visited the Bull Temple too, though it was decidedly less crowded on this day, Ganesh’s birthday.  

Tonight, as I write this at home on the IISc campus, I can hear many fireworks displays; at 10pm a rowdy truckload of students passed by, chanting something about Ganesha.

Ten days from now, as I understand it, all the families who have purchased a Ganesha figure for their home (like these) will take it to a nearby waterbody for submersion.  [Read more on Wikipedia.]

See my photos.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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