Ganesh Jayanti is celebrated with much fervour not only in India but across the globe. Beautiful pandals are set and idols of Lord Ganesha are worshipped to celebrate the festival that goes on for 10 days. Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Ganesha is believed to be the Lord of wisdom and beginnings. It is said that Ganesha was born on the Shukla Chaturthi of Magha lunar month, meaning the fourth day of Hindu month of Magha, which coincides with January or February in the Gregorian calendar.
Though Ganesh Jayanti in the month of Magha is considered as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month (August – September) is widely celebrated. Ganesha Jayanti in the Magha month is celebrated in Maharashtra and Konkan region. The day is also known as Magha Shukla Chaturthi, Tilkumd Chaturthi, and Varad Chaturthi. According to tradition, Magh Ganesh Jayanti is the actual birthday of Ganesha.
It is said that the Ganesh Chaturthi was started by freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak. The festival became a major social and public event after a public appeal by Tilak who championed it as a means to circumvent the colonial British government ban on Hindu gatherings through its anti-public assembly legislation in 1892.
On the festival day, an image of Lord Ganesha is made with turmeric or vermillion powder and is worshipped. Food prepared from til (sesame seeds) is offered to the lord as bhog and consumed by the devotees as prasad. Hence the day is also known as Til Kund Chaturthi. Devotees take bath with water mixed with sesame seed and by smearing a paste of sesame seeds on the body. There is also a tradition of observing fast throughout the day followed by a feast in the night. The idol is immersed in the water on the fourth day of the festival.
Temples to visit
On Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees visit the Moreshwar temple in Morgaon, Pune. The temple is considered to be the starting point of Ashtavinayaka – a pilgrimage of eight revered Ganesha temples. The other temples visited on the day are Siddhivinayaka in Siddhatek and Ganpatipule in Ratnagiri.
Chaturthi tithi begins: 10:17 am on February 8
Chaturthi tithi ends: 12:25 am on February 9