Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi in southern India, will be celebrated on Thursday (17 September). The festival that marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha is celebrated across the nation with great fervour. Though the traditions and customs vary from state to state, the grandeur is the same — breathtaking.
Ganesha is considered as one of the most beloved gods in Indian mythology, so it's only natural that the day is celebrated with devotion and joy in various ways. So, why let the day pass off just as a public holiday — go pandal hopping, watch the artistically-created huge Ganesha idols, relish the festival delicacies and experience how different cities celebrate the day.
To make the best out of the Ganeshotsav, we suggest that you plan a trip to some of the below mentioned destinations, which, according to HolidayIQ, are the best places to witness Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in India.
The Temple of Ganapatipule becomes the centre of grand activities for the five-day celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. The villagers and pilgrims join actively in a procession to honour lord Ganapati. The celebrations witness devotees carrying a huge idol, placed in an ornate palanquin on the shoulders of devotees as they take out the procession in the village accompanied by a priest and a drummer. The Swayambhu Ganapati Temple is said to be one of the most famous pilgrimage centres in this town in Ratnagiri district.
Pune is said to have its own traditions when it comes to celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. And it goes without saying that it is celebrated with pomp and gaiety. If you are in Pune, you can head to Kasbapeth for a darshan of Kasba Ganpati, the patron deity of Pune. Kasba Ganpati leads the immersion procession on the last day of the festivities. You can also check out Saras Baug, Shreemant Dagduseth Halwai Ganpati. But what every Punekar swears by is the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at the Dagdu Sheth temple.
Mumbai (Siddhivinayak, Titwala)
The Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Mumbai is considered to be the grandest and the biggest among all. The city literally comes to a standstill and enjoys a holiday on the visarjan day as processions are taken out across the city. Mumbai becomes lively and enthusiastic during the festival with pandals everywhere playing devotional songs, hosting dance programmes and mesmerising drum beats. Pandals across Mumbai are known to thematically represent the current social issues that the city faces through tableaux, paintings and decorations. While you are in Mumbai, head to the Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Samiti Mandal at Wadala to have a darshan of the richest Ganesha in Mumbai. Your trip would be incomplete without a visit to Lalbaughcha Raja. Unlike other Ganeshas, Lalbaugcha Raja is not a shrine but a community-organised festival.
Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi are the only two main festivals celebrated in Diveagar of Raigad district. When is Diveagar, do visit the Suvarna Ganesh Temple that houses a pure gold idol of Lord Ganesha.
Bengaluru witnesses Ganesha celebrations in its own style. As in Mumbai, one can witness various pandals across the city. And the city comes alive and witnesses grand festivities for a minimum of five days. The must-visit temples during Ganesh Chaturthi in Bengaluru include Panchamukha Heramba Ganapati Temple, Shri Jambu Ganapati Temple and Ananthanagar Ganapati Temple. And if you wish to witness the immersion spectacle, head to Sankey Tank or Ulsoor Lake.
Locals in Margao and Panjim, among other places in Goa, organise traditional pujas. What's unique to Goa is the use of instruments like Shamel and Ghumot, played during processions.
Did you know one of the largest Ganesh idols in the world is set up at Khairtabad in Hyderabad? It takes almost four months to make this idol. If you are in Hyderabad on the 11th day of the festival, head right to Hussain Sagar Lake to watch the procession and the final visarjan.
Trivandrum is one of the few places that makes eco-friendly Ganesh idols by using just clay and milk. Follow the procession from the Ganapati Temple to Shanghumukham Beach and you'll be in awe. Local artists and dancers with a variety of instruments dance throughout the way till the idol is immersed in the sea.
Celebrations in Chennai might not be as grand as in Mumbai, but they are a treat to watch nevertheless. Across Chennai, locals set up Ganesha statues and the celebrations at Marina Beach are a must-see.