Ganesh Chaturthi in Haridwar

Major festival

Ganesh Chaturthi is the festival celebrating birth anniversary of the elephant headed Lord Ganesha, the God of new beginnings. Although it is celebrated almost all over India, and many other countries, it is the chief festival of the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai (earlier name: Bombay) is the capital city. New York is to Mumbai what Washington D.C. is to New Delhi.

And like a viol Luxmie answered him:
“Sprung of the moon, thy grandsire’s fault in thee
Yet lives; but since thy love is singly great,
Doubtless thou shalt possess thy whole desire.
Yet hast thou maimed the future and discrowned
The Aryan people; for though Ila’s sons,
In Hustina, the city of elephants,
And Indraprustha, future towns, shall rule
Drawing my peoples to one sceptre, at last
Their power by excess of beauty falls,—
Thy sin, Pururavus—of beauty and love:
And this the land divine to impure grasp
Yields of barbarians from the outer shores.”
She ceased and the oblivious mists rolled down.

Vyasa, Ganesha, Mahabharata and Haridwar

Sage Vyasa lived at Haridwar several thousand years ago. There is an architecturally beautiful and spiritually peaceful Vyasa Temple located in Haridwar at the place where he lived. Vyasa composed Mahabharata the epic ancient poem having 100000 verses. The poem Mahabharata is about 100 times longer than Iliad  and Odyssey put together.

To write Mahabharata, after composing it in his mind, Sage Vyasa was helped by Lord Shiva. He sent his son Ganesha to Vyasa. Ganesha broke one of his two trunks and used that to write the entire Mahabharata while Vyasa was narrating it high up in the Himalayas. The writing took ten days time.

Meaning and date

It occurs on the fourth (Sanskrit: Chaturthi) of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada which broadly relates to August  / September. Ganesha is a compound word made from two Sanskrit words – Gana (those who accompany Lord Shiva) and Ish ( God or leader).


It is celebrated with much gaiety in Haridwar. Families bring a clay statue of Ganesha to their homes this day. It is installed and invoked for 9 days. Communities also install richly decorated Ganesha idols in the common areas of the housing blocks. Typically, the idols are brought to Ganges for immersion on the 10th day. Some also close their observances earlier on 3rd, 4th, 5th or the 7th day after installation.

Ganpati bappa moreya

The idols, especially the ones that were installed in communities, are brought to the river in processions. Devotees dance and pray along the journey singing –

“Ganapati bappa moreya,
Agle baras tu jaldi aa.”

which means –

“O Lord Ganapati bless us
Please visit us again soon the next year.”

Ganapati is one of the several other names of Ganesha.

Children, boys & girls, men and women throw coloured powder at each other as is done during the colour festival of Holi that comes after the winter comes to an end. Communities pool the costs.

Sweets are distributed to all – friends, strangers and passers-by – with much love.  Alms are given to the mendicants and anchorites sitting at the river-banks and ghats.

AZIMVTH and Singh Dwar

Singh Dwar is the bridge just at the start of Arya Nagar, name of the locality inside which AZIMVTH Ashram is located. Singh Dwar is about 2 km. away from AZIMVTH in Haridwar. A large number of processions from different areas converge here on the 10th day. Prior to this also, almost a dozen idols are immersed during each of the earlier days but the last day is the grandest. Besides Singh Dwar, idols are immersed in several other ghats of Haridwar.

Fine arts

These Ganesha idols are made by artisans in Haridwar. The material used is clay or plaster of Paris. Basic kinds of percussion drums slung around necks of semi-professional ritual-drummers accompany almost all processions. At times, professional performers and multi-piece brands are also hired by communities. All of these are local musicians and artisans living in Haridwar.

Following pictures and videos were recorded at Singh Dwar on the night of 24 September 2018. Since it was night-time, the pictures were dark and hence needed enhancing.

Ganesha Arriving on a Chariot of Horses 1

Image above: Ganesha Arriving on a Chariot of Horses 1

Ganesha Arriving on a Chariot of Horses 2

Image above: Ganesha Arriving on a Chariot of Horses 2

Eyes Closed in Prayers

Image above: Eyes Closed in Prayers

Another Party of Devouts Moving Away

Image above: Another Party of Devouts Moving Away

Little Boy on Fathers Shoulders

Image above: Little Boy on Fathers Shoulders

Performers Departing

Image above: Performers Departing

Passers By

Image above: Passers By

Mendicants and Anchorites 1

Image above: Mendicants and Anchorites 1

Mendicants and Anchorites 2

Image above: Mendicants and Anchorites 2

Before Immersing Ganesha Idol

Image above: Before Immersing Ganesha Idol

Ganesha Idol Being Immersed 1

Image above: Ganesha Idol Being Immersed 1

Ganesha Idol Being Immersed 2

Image above: Ganesha Idol Being Immersed 2

Video above: 1 Devouts Arriving with Ganesha Idol in Hands

Video above: 2 Devouts Arriving with Flying Colours