Indian festivals - Ganesh Festival
It is festival time in India and the Ganesh festival has just concluded while the Navratri festival has begun which will be followed by Diwali.
Ganesh festival is celebrated all across the country but the ten-day celebrations in Maharashtra have a unique flavour.
Pune, considered to be the cultural capital of Maharashtra, wears a vibrant look and thousands of people from across the state and even from outside the state flock to this city to witness the colourful decorations. Pramod Bhosle has clicked photographs of a few idols while riding through the city.
Hundreds of "Mandals (groups)" install idols of Lord Ganesha in every nook and corner of the city and the "pandals" are beautifully decorated. The "mandals" use the occasion to highlight various issues - social, cultural, scientific, and others - by choosing the appropriate themes and depicting scenes based on the themes. Thus, awareness on issues like the ills of female foeticide, corruption, etcetera, are spread during the festival.
Apart from the community celebrations, people install in their homes idols of Lord Ganesha who is the god of intelligence and wisdom.
It was Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak, described as the "Father of Indian Unrest", who started the tradition of community celebrations of the Ganesh festival in 1893. He transformed the festival into a public event as a means to unite people during the pre-Independence era.
There are five Ganapatis in Pune which are considered as "Manache Ganapatis (most honoured Ganapatis). The Kasba Ganapati temple, situated in the Kasba Peth locality of Pune, was built on the instructions of Chatrapati Shivaji's mother Jijabai. The other four most honoured Ganapatis are the Tambdi Jogeshwari Ganapati - which also has 16th century origins, the Guruji Talim Mandal - which is symbolic of communal harmony, the Tulshibaug Ganapati and the Kesariwada Ganapati which was installed by Tilak himself in 1893.
The festival is also an occasion for people to indulge their sweet tooth. "Modaks", a coconut-stuffed dumpling which is said to be Lord Ganesha's favourite sweet, is much in demand during the festival.
Pune city comes to a grinding halt on the last day as the hundreds of idols are taken out for immersion. The streets become choc-a-block as the idols make their way to the river and other immersion spots.