As a state that is known for its grand celebrations and fervour on Ganesh Chaturthi, it is only right that the International Ganesh Festival 2023 was conceived in Maharashtra. In its first edition, the event will dive deep into the cultural richness of the state as the juggernaut rolls across Mumbai, Pune, Palghar, and Ratnagiri from September 18-28.
Known for the festive frenzy and enthusiastic participation by the public, Ganesh Chathurti is synonymous with the state’s cultural identity. The best part is the event is all set to showcase the rich and unique blend of spirituality, history, and adventure of the state.
“The International Ganesh Festival 2023 is a grand celebration of Maharashtra’s illustrious heritage and the unity of cultures. Organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, the festival aims to promote tourism within the state and showcase the rich history and traditions of Maharashtra to a global audience,” says Dr. B.N. Patil, Director, Directorate of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra.
In the capital Mumbai, you can experience the grandeur of Ganesh Galli, seek blessings at the iconic Siddhivinayak Temple, revel in the festive ambiance of GSB Wadala, and round off your day at Girgaon Chowpatty. In Pune, the celebrations take centre stage at Tulsi Bagh Ganesh Pandal during the aarti and darshan and step back in time at the historic Shaniwar Wada. The more offbeat destinations where you can explore the elephant headed God are at Palghar where you can see a refreshing mix of exhilarating activities and cultural workshops.
To balance the spiritual sojourn, you can add a twist of adventure with ziplining, wall climbing, and archery or immerse head for a Warli Art Workshop, check the historic Kelva Fort and Shirgaon Fort, and chill at the beach. At Ratnagiri, you can pay obeisance at the divine Ganpatipule Temple, walk up the majestic Ratnadurg Fort, and discover the grandeur of the Thiba Rajwada.
Each of the chosen destinations holds a unique place in the cultural tapestry of Maharashtra. Mumbai, with its bustling streets, Pune with its historical wonders and Ratnagiri and Palghar with its treasure troves of spiritual sites, forts, and rich cultural heritage. These cities encapsulate the essence of Maharashtra, from its metropolitan charm to its deep-rooted traditions.
The idea then is really to showcase the varied kind of sights and sounds that the state is home to ensure that visitors are treated to an immersive experience of Maharashtra’s vibrant heritage. Furthermore, a Cultural Hub at the Gateway of India promises a blend of Sand Art, Mosaic Art, Scroll Art, Projection Mapping, cultural performances, engaging workshops, and Art and Craft exhibitions, reflecting both traditions and modern interpretations. In fact, the Gateway if India is set to turn into a cultural hub between September 25 and 27.
Mosaic artist Chetan Raut whose installation will be on display at that time says, “I will be creating a 12x10 feet mosaic artwork at the Gateway of India and the entire installation will be created out of discarded plastic bottles as the primary medium. I am trying to convey the message about the importance of recycling and responsible consumption. Each piece of plastic in the mosaic represents an opportunity for change, urging viewers to reconsider their plastic usage habits.”
There will also be a live sand art spectacle of Lord Ganesha by artist Vaibhav Katwate who says, “During the International Ganesh Festival, I will be creating sand art spectacle of Lord Ganesha. It will be a step-by-step creation of sand art. Visitors to the Gateway of India will have the opportunity to witness the transformation of simple grains of sand into a work of art.”
The annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival is a community event that is spread over 10 days. The International Ganesh Festival 2023 stands as a testament to Maharashtra’s ability to merge age-old traditions with contemporary experiences. “Our vision is to make the International Ganesh Festival an annual spectacle, growing in scale and impact with each year. By continually collaborating with local communities, artisans, and stakeholders, we aim to promote economic growth and preserve the state’s cultural heritage,” says Patil.
Future renditions will see an increased emphasis on supporting local businesses, endorsing homestays, and celebrating Maharashtra’s unique culinary traditions. With sustained efforts and collaborations, the tourism department hopes to solidify the festival’s reputation on the global cultural calendar.