The word Maharashtra comes from the words Maha meaning Great and Rashtra meaning Nation, and as the name suggests is an enormous state. It’s home of the Hindi film industry and in September, it’s the host for two stunning Hindu festivals. Now, just in time to pack your bags and lenses for the events, we bring you reasons why September is a great month for Maharashtra tourism.
Also known as Janmashtmi in North India is this festival, which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. At this time, all of Mumbai is filled with groups of young men who try to erect huge human pyramids in order to reach a pot of curd or butter tethered to heights of over 30 feet. Women throw water at these men from their balconies to make the task even harder. The tradition draws its roots from stories of Lord Krishna’s childhood when he, along with his young posse, would sneak into people’s houses and steal the homemade butter hanging in pots from the ceilings. Today, groups successful in smashing the pots get lacs of rupees from the local organisers. Different scales of such contests are held in practically every colony of Mumbai and is a spectacle like none other.
September is the famous Ganesh Chaturthi. This date is final day of the 11-day long festival, on which all of Mumbai takes to the streets to take out processions carrying massive and colourful Ganesh idols. For the first 10 days Ganesha is worshipped in every home and on the 11th day the statue is immersed in a river or the sea. In some homes the immersion takes place on the 3rd, 5th or 7th day of the period. People from all religious and economic backgrounds patricipate in this festival. Even movie stars and sportsmen join shoulders with vegetable sellers to send the idols out to sea. The chants of ‘Ganpati bappa moriya’ fill the city. These Ganesha idols are prepared for months in advance for the festival some can be 25 feet high. In the affluent neighbourhoods they are adorned with elaborate clothing and sparkling accessories.
GANESH CHATURTHI IN SINDHUDURG
During Ganesh Chaturthi, the flavor of the festival in Sindhudurg can be seen in many homes here. To enjoy how the locals celebrate the festival for all 10 days get in touch with Nandan Farms homestay. During this time, the homestay is drenched in decorations and festivities. A big idol of Lord Ganesha is brought home and flowers and lights bedeck the home. Guests are welcomed in traditional fashion to join in the celebrations.
GANESH CHATURTHI HISTORY
In Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi was an important family oriented festival under the Peshwas. But in 1893, Lokmanya Tilak introduced it as a large-scale festival for the general public. This was done to bridge the gap between Brahmins and non-Brahmins and promote unity.
What adds to the drama of both festivals is the monsoon. Rain in the state and city lashes down the backs of the participants and soaks them from head to toe. But people carry on undaunted towards their goal, at times seeming almost fuelled by the rain.
As the two festivals are far apart from each other, it’s advisable for people to make their base in Kashid, Sindhudurg or Goa… At these scenic places you can easily camp out for 2 weeks and hop over to the city for these events getting the best of both worlds in the same trip. Sindhudurg in itself is a good place to enjoy Maharashtra’s unique Ganesh Chaturthi.