India celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi
India along with Mumbai welcomed the elephant-headed Lord Ganesh as the ten-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival started from Monday.
The ten-day Vinayak or Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, Hindu God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Although celebrated across India, the festival is most popular in Maharashtra where over 10,000 idols are worshipped in Mumbai alone.
In Mumbai, one can see the largest idols in the country; height of some Ganesh idols even soars up to sixty feet.
On Sunday, the city echoed with chants of 'Ganpati Bappa Moraya' with idols arriving at residences and pandals.
Mumbai's famous Siddhi Vinayak temple was wrapped with flowers, decorative lights and security.
The most popular Ganesh idol is worshipped at Lalbaugcha Raja near Lower Parel where the theme is king's durbar (court).
Another popular Ganesh puja takes place at Ganesh Galli, near Lower Parel.
One of the tallest idols in the city is worshipped at Chandanwadi at Kalbadevi.
Meanwhile, heavy security arrangements have been made in Mumbai for the festival.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President Hamid Ansari greeted the nation on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.
In his message the President said, "On this joyous occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, I express my warm greetings and felicitations to all my fellow citizens.
"The celebration of this festival which marks the birth of Lord Ganesha brings people from all walks of life together."
"The large scale public celebrations of this festival were successfully encouraged by the great freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak to galvanize support for India's Independence movement.
"On this day, let us resolve to renew the spirit and vision of this great leader and re-dedicate ourselves to the country's development and progress," said Mukherjee.
"May the festivities associated with Ganesh Chaturthi mark the beginning of fresh efforts towards building a new, just, strong and caring India where people live in happiness and harmony.
Let us celebrate this festival by reaffirming our faith in all that is good, noble and virtuous and instilling in ourselves pride in the composite culture of India," he said.
In his message, the Prime Minister said that this festival with a tradition rooted in the freedom struggle inspires us to reaffirm the cherished values of brotherhood, unity and secularism.
"Ganesh Chaturthi inspires us to dedicate ourselves to the larger cause of nation building. May this festival bring joy, prosperity, peace and happiness to all," said Singh.
Ansari said: "I extend my warm greetings to all the citizens of our country on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi."
"This festival, which is celebrated with gaiety and fervour in all parts of the country, marks the birthday of Lord Ganesh.
On this joyous occasion, may Lord Ganesh bless us all with wisdom, prosperity and good fortune," he said.
Celebrities and politicians greeted the nation on micro-blogging site Twitter.
"Ganapati Bappa Moriya! May Lord Ganesha help us make our country powerful by freeing it from all difficulties. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!" tweeted Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"Ganesh Chaturthi Greetings ftom gorgeous Goa !" wished writer Shobhaa De.
Actress Jacqueline Fernandez said: Happy Ganesh Chaturthi..!! May Ganesh ji bless us all!!!"
"Happy Ganesh Chaturthi! May the path to success always be free of obstacles for you all. Stay blessed always :)" greeted composer-singer Shekhar Ravjiani.
"On Ganesh Chaturthi,bappa bless r nation and remove th obstacles which stay in way of its growth and bless us all with health wealth n happiness," said actress Celina Jaitly.
Filmmaker-actress Pooja Bhatt tweeted: "Ganesh Chaturthi reminds me of my grandmother Shireen Nanabhai Bhatt.She was a Muslim who inculcated in me a genuine love for Lord Ganesh."
Model-turned-actress Poonam Pandey posted: "Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all Tweethearts..!!!"
(Posted on 09-09-2013)