Ganesh Chaturthi: Mumbai's Most Prominent Festival

Thursday, September 07, 2017
Ganesh Chaturhi or simply the Ganesh Festival is a Hindu-based festival with an epicenter in Mumbai, spreading from there like an earthquake. The festival goes on for 10 days straight and takes months of planning.

One of the many displays across Mumbai during Ganesh Chaturthi, India
Platforms (also named pandals) and even shrines are set up all across the city, showcasing idols of the revered Elephant God; Ganesh. During the festival you can visit and admire the statues and decorations on display. The different pandals are often organized by local youth groups or neighborhood associations.

Fire breathing in Mumbai, India
The last day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. This is the day. The day of madness. The Ganesh idols are carried out from their shrines and driven through the streets on large trucks for several hours. Meanwhile parades from the local youth groups follow their idol. Chanting, singing, dancing, breathing fire, lighting fireworks and in general celebrating is going on. Eventually the idols are transported to the ocean or nearby rivers.

Parade leading their Ganesh idol through the streets of Mumbai, India
Chowpatty Beach is one of the places where the celebration of the festival immersions take place. The Ganesh idols are tipped over into the sea and people even get hurt or drown sometimes due to the masses of people and poor swimming skills. Chowpatty Beach is a much calm place during "normal" days in Mumbai. Little kiosks selling Bombay's special snacks, Bhelpuri, one can finde professional masseurs, pony leaders, snake charmers, monkey-trainers, balloon sellers and lots more.

Marina Drive leading towards Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai, India
Experiencing Ganesh Chaturthi is an absolut must, if you want some of that Hindu culture all up close, blasting your senses with loudness, colorfulness and did I mention the free food, limonade and chai offered during the last day of the festival?

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