Ganesh chaturthi: Women decorate Lord Ganesha's idolThe end of the monsoon brings round one of Mumbai's most beloved festivals - Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the destroyer of obstacles. Observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September), it lasts for 10 days, ending on the tenth day which is called Ananta Chaturdashi.This year, it all begins on September 13th, 2018 when Ganesha idols are brought home and installed with great ceremony (sthapna) on a decorated platform. The idol is offered pure water along with libations such as honey and milk. Author and blogger, Shakti Salgaokar-Yezdani says that "In our home, my grandfather Jyotirbhaskar Jayantrao Salgaonkar (who was a Ganpatya and a scholar on Ganpati) spent a few decades putting together special arrangements for bappa. We have a lovely wooden makhar, a special throne, special Paash and ankush."
A puja is performed twice a day until the idol leaves the home. On this day, the uttarpuja ritual (a sort of farewell) is performed, after which visarjan takes place i.e. the idol is submerged in the sea, river or even a token dip in a bucket (depending on where in the world you are). The final visarjan day sees Mumbai criss-crossed by throngs of worshippers trailing their idols to the shore. It is customary to bring home a smidgen of sand and the paat on which the murti rested before visarjan. Kept at home for a day or two, they serve as panacea for the emptiness brought on by Ganpati's departure.
"Apart from modak, nivagrya are typically made on Ganpati day. Nivagrya are little savoury, steamed dumplings made from leftover "ukad" (rice flour dough) that was made for the modak casing. The leftover dough is mixed with cumin seed powder, coarse green chilly paste, salt, and other flavorings, flattened, and steamed. These are eaten with peanut oil and are quite a delicacy," says Saee Koranne-Khandekar, blogger, writer and food consultant."The Naivedya thali does not contain the pinch of salt on the side as other traditional thalis do. There is a small serving of kheer (usually made of gavhle, the Maharashtrian equivalent of orzo or vermicelli), puran (the stuff that goes inside a puran poli), chutney, pickle, koshimbir, a kothimbir dadi/alu vadi/batata vada, a dry vegetable, a gravy vegetable and/or sprouts, a dal or kadhi, plain rice with plain toor dal (varan bhaat), masala bhaat, and dahi bhaat. Ladoos made of besan are also considered a traditional specialty," she clarifies. And after all the celebrations, the festivities end with a whisper. "On the last day, after an overload of festivities, we pack off Ganpati bappa with a light meal of dahi bhaat or dahi pohe," she smiles.
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