TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

India's bustling Mumbai slows for festival to honor Ganesha

Mon, September 19, 2016   /   08:25 pm
  • /

    An Indian artist provides final touches to an idol of the elephant headed Hindu god Ganesha before it is carried off for worship to mark Ganesh Chaturthi festival, in Hyderabad, India, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. The idol will be immersed in water bodies after worship at the end of the festival. AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

  • /

    An Indian family arrives in a car with an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha to immerse it in a lake during Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. The festival ends with the immersion of the idols. AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

  • /

    An Indian worker prepares to immerse an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha in a lake during Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. The immersion of idols after worship marks the end of the annual festival. AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

  • /

    Indian men hold an idol of elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha and jump into the river Sabarmati to immerse it during Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. The ten-day festival is dedicated to the worship of Ganesha. AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

  • /

    An Indian man holds idols of elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha and jumps into the river Sabarmati to immerse them during Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. The ten-day festival is dedicated to the worship of Ganesha. AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

  • /

    Idols of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha are taken on trucks in a procession before immersing them in the Hussain Sagar Lake on the final day of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. The immersion marks the end of the ten-day long festival that celebrates the birth of the Hindu god. AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A

  • /

    Hindu devotees participate in a procession towards the Arabian Sea where a giant idol of the elephant-headed god Ganesha will be immersed on the final day of the ten-day long Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 . The last day of the 10-day celebration is the biggest day, with massive crowds singing and dancing as they carry their idols through the streets, to immerse them in the water, an act that symbolizes sending the god back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains taking all the worries and problems of his worshippers with him. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

  • /

    Hindu devotees participate in a procession towards the Arabian Sea where a giant idol of the elephant-headed god Ganesha will be immersed on the final day of the ten-day long Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 . The last day of the 10-day celebration is the biggest day, with massive crowds singing and dancing as they carry their idols through the streets, to immerse them in the water, an act that symbolizes sending the god back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains taking all the worries and problems of his worshippers with him. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

  • /

    A huge idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha is taken on a truck in a procession before immersing in the Hussain Sagar Lake on the final day of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. The immersion marks the end of the ten-day long festival that celebrates the birth of the Hindu god. AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

  • /

    A Hindu devotee smears the face of another with colored powder during a procession for the immersion of idols of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha in the River Tawi on the last day of the ten-day long Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Jammu, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. The last day of the 10-day celebration is the biggest day, with massive crowds singing and dancing as they carry their idols through the streets, to immerse them in the water, an act that symbolizes sending the god back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains taking all the worries and problems of his worshippers with him. AP Photo/Channi Anand

  • /

    Hindu devotees participate in a procession towards the Arabian Sea where a giant idol of the elephant-headed god Ganesha will be immersed on the final day of the ten-day long Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 . The last day of the 10-day celebration is the biggest day, with massive crowds singing and dancing as they carry their idols through the streets, to immerse them in the water, an act that symbolizes sending the god back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains taking all the worries and problems of his worshippers with him. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

  • /

    Indian devotees watch as a crane lifts an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha to immerse it in river Sabarmati on the final day of the ten-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

  • /

    Devotees splash water as they prepare to immerse an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha in the Arabian Sea after worship marking the end of the 10-day long Ganesh Chaturti festival in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. The act symbolizes sending the god back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains taking all the worries and problems of his worshippers with him. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

  • /

    Devotees prepare to immerse an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha in the Arabian Sea after worship marking the end of the 10-day long Ganesh Chaturti festival in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. The act symbolizes sending the god back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains taking all the worries and problems of his worshippers with him. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

Every year Raju Laljibhai Dipikar goes out with his wife and three daughters and chooses an elaborate statue of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god so dear to devout Hindus.

For two days the god "lives" with the family in their tiny apartment in Mumbai, his presence bringing them joy. And in return for the love the family showers on him he takes away all their problems, Dipikar says.

So it is for tens of millions of other families across western and southern India when they mark the birthday of Ganesha.

Beautiful idols of the god are purchased and brought home, where they are worshipped. After a few days — every family has its own tradition — the idols, made from plaster of Paris or clay, are carried to a large body of water and ceremonially immersed.

Nowhere is the festival celebrated with more fervor than in Mumbai. For 10 days every year the pace of India's bustling business capital slows to welcome the god, known as the one who blesses new beginnings and removes obstacles.

Apart from the small idols installed in people's homes, massive statues are set up in temporary structures.

Flowers and coconuts and incense are offered to the god as is his favorite sweet treat — dumplings called "modaks," made of a crude sugar and coconut.

The last day of the 10-day celebration is the biggest day, with massive crowds singing and dancing as they carry their idols through the streets, to immerse them in the water, an act that symbolizes sending the god back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains taking all the worries and problems of his worshippers with him.