The Temple of Ganapatipule becomes the centre of grand activity for the five days celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi when villager’s and pilgrims join actively in a procession honoring Ganapati. A taller idol is placed in an ornate palanquin and carried on the shoulders of the devotees through the village accompanied by a priest and a drummer. The idol in the sanctum is placed in a way that also makes it visible. The Swayambhu Ganapati Temple is one of the most famous pilgrimage centres.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, especially in Pune. This city has its own tradition of Ganesh Festival. Head to Kasbapeth to have a darshan of Kasba Ganpati, the patron deity of Pune. Kasba Ganpati leads the immersion procession on the last day of the festivities. Saras Baug is another must visit temple in Pune. Shreemant Dagduseth Halwai Ganpati is another popular Ganesha shrine in Pune that is a must visit during Ganesh utsav. Every Punekar is sure to understand the magic of Ganesh Chaturthi, at the Dagdu Sheth temple.
3. Mumbai – Siddhivinayak, Titwala
Mumbai becomes very lively and enthusiastic during the festival with devotional songs, dances and 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. Huge crowds come to visit Lord Ganesha and at times it takes over 20 hours to reach the idol.
The main festivals celebrated in Diveagar are Janmashtami and Ganesha Chaturthi. Must visit is the Suvarna Ganesh Temple that houses a pure gold idol of Lord Ganesha.
Head to popular Ganesh temples – Panchamukha Heramba Ganapati Temple, Shri Jambu Ganapati Temple and Ananthanagar Ganapati Temple. Catch the immersion spectacle at Sankey Tank and 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.
Here’s some trivia. One of the largest Ganesh idols in the world is set up at Khairtabad in Hyderabad. The construction of the idol takes anywhere between three to four months. If you are in Hyderabad on the 11th day of the festival, head right to Hussain Sagar Lake to watch procession and final ‘visarjan’.
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. Trivandrum is one of the few places that makes eco-friendly Ganesh idols using clay and milk.
Celebrations in Chennai might not be on the same scale as Mumbai, but there are a treat to watch nevertheless. Across Chennai, locals set up Ganesh statues and the celebrations and at Marina Beach are a must-see.