Ganapati in the city

Ganapati in the city

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So Ganapati has gone after ten days of celebration. The blaring loudspeakers are silent.
I was late to the Ganapati party since back home we had no clue what the fuss was all about, other than what we saw in Hindi films and I always thought it was an exaggerated version of the real thing. It was in Pune that I got an up close and personal view of the festival.
The pandals are everywhere but the more revered Ganapatis are found in the old city. A bit ironic isn’t it? That some Ganapatis should be more revered than the others? Some more gracious about granting wishes than others? But then religion is beyond reason.
I try to visit the city at least once during the ten days, not for the blessings, but for the old world charm of the celebrations. No matter how huge the pandals in the scores of apartment complexes across the city, this is different. The buzz is something else and I love everything about it.
I do not find the crowds claustrophobic or the walk daunting. I find the small plastic toys on sale fascinating and the toy sellers even more so. Perhaps it reminds me of the melas of my childhood which were a bit of a forbidden treat or maybe it is my yen for roadside shopping. I do love it all.
This year I was a little reluctant after a friend had her bag cut through and her wallet stolen. The crowds hold all kinds. However I did manage a visit even though half my attention was on my sling bag.
As it turned out the visit was worth every little bit of it. To begin with the flower market is a treat. I loved the masses piled up by roadside. 

And I adore the lotus, perhaps because we don’t get to see them too often and definitely not in such profusion. It’s not much use getting it home because it wilts pretty soon but it does look gorgeous. Doesn’t it?

Check out the long winding columns of devotees. I didn’t venture to queue up but satisfied myself with the glimpse of the God from outside. Loudspeakers were booming out artis and instructions. At one of the temples a gentleman announced, ‘Don’t forget to take selfies with your favourite Ganapati’. 

Talk about keeping up with the times!

Oh and I love this quaint custom of whispering your dearest wish into the ear of the mooshak in the hope that he would conveyed it to Ganapati.

…age is no bar. All you need is to have faith.

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24 Replies to “Ganapati in the city”

  1. The photos of the flowers are refreshing. I never knew about the wish whispering concept in the ear of the mooshak. Imagine the mooshak becoming the pigeon delivering messages to Bappa 😀 To my surprise, Ganesh Chaturthi is also a big festival in Karnataka. Being a North Indian, I had always thought Maharashtra had the sole proprietorship of Ganpati.

    1. Considering Ganapati is sitting on him, the mooshak really cannot go anywhere. He would have plenty of time to pass on messages :-). Ganapati is a big deal all the way down from Central India. Some of my friends in Madhya Pradesh also observe it.

  2. Hi tulika…I studied in Pune for 5 years…and I absolutely loved the ganapati festival time in Pune…there is something about that city's ganapati utsav that is so charming, festive, vibrant, loud and crowded yet very devotional/spiritual….the pictures of flowers are beautiful

  3. Oh, yes, the lotus are gorgeous…. Thanks honey – you brought back amazing memories- my absolutely favorite festival from when I lived in Bombay…. Love it!!! Hugs, dear:-)

  4. I saw the Ganpati Visarjan for the first time, and I learnt so much about the festival through that one hour of standing near the beach!
    I didn't know about the whispering wish and all. Maybe next year I could try it out!

  5. There are some festivals I miss (being in US) and Diwali and Ganesh Festival are my top 2. Especially because I grew up in Mumbai – the Ganesh Chaturthi celebs were a big deal.

    I feel like I should get Dhruv once during these festivals to India, so he gets to experience the real deal, and not the watered down version of the US. Maybe someday..

    Oh and btw, we did introduce him to the wish-whispering concept this year, and he promptly (and loudly) demanded a fire truck from Nandi. 😀

    1. Ah yes the authenticity is a bit lost even between the old and new city, the US is far far away. Lol.. to the truck. N once asked that the Harshringar flowers she was clutching in her hands would never wilt.

  6. My first Ganpati celebration was in the old world charm of Pune that I totally loved and then in Mumbai. I love the crowd and the dance. I sorely miss the celebration. Your post and pictures brought back loads of memories.

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