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This is the Hindu Elephant Immersion Festival

“One of the many colourful festivals of India is the Hindu Elephant Immersion Festival. Ganesh Chaturthi is an ode to the God of wisdom, prosperity and luck- Lord Ganesh. Elephant God, as I like to call him, is said to come down on earth to bless one and all. Meanwhile, also to give mankind a reason to rejoice together. “

Son of Lord Shiva, one of the three main influencers in Hinduism, Lord Ganesha’s birth is a fairytale in itself but that story is for another day. Some believe that Ganesh Chaturthi is his birthday. However others talk about this festival as being a binding force between Hindus, Muslims and all other religions. Eid which is a popular festival among the muslims, and Ganesh Chaturthi often coincide in the same week (as it did this year). And people from both religions have an added incentive to forget their differences and share their joy with one and all.

Huge idols of Lord Ganesh are installed in temples, homes and pandaals (temporary shrines) during our modern times. As a consequence people offer their prayers in various forms. It is believed that he removes obstacles and bestows blessings in the form of intelligence, intellect and prosperity. Ultimately, this festival is celebrated by Indians from all around the world. However it is only befitting that Mumbai, the financial capital of India is where this festival is celebrated with maximum enthusiasm! Through belief, faith, colours and of course “modaks” (for those of you who aren’t aware, Lord Ganesh’s appetite was non-satiable when it came to this Indian sweet ). 10 Days of festivities make the city vibrant, positive and yes, LOUD!

Experience the Hindu Elephant Immersion Festival

The most meaningful ceremony though is bidding adieu to God and immersing him in water only for him to return next year. Thousands of people gather on various corners of the Arabian Sea which spans the city. Here you can see processions of gaudy, multi-coloured idols, and energetic folk bands. The immersion pulsates liveliness and optimism with a streak of sorrow as you bid farewell to this immortal source of hope and love. Watch hundreds of men carrying gigantic structures to the middle of the water body.  And the city chanting prayers in these final moments. The idols are allowed to sink in the water bed to nurture the earth from its very base.

Furthermore, this is a twisted tale narrating the cycle of death and rebirth.  The immersion ceremony is an annual reminder of the fact that life no matter how grand eventually gets absorbed into nothingness. In conclusion the pessimists term it “death”, and the optimists “rebirth”. Ganpatti Bappa Morya! (Literal Translation: Lord Ganesh come back soon).

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