The ten-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival started in Maharashtra and elsewhere in the country on Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic no longer casting its shadow on the celebrations.
The idols of Lord Ganesh, the god of prosperity and wisdom and a slayer of obstacles (`vighna-harta’), will be installed in homes across the state with pomp and gaiety.
The pandemic-induced restrictions, now lifted, had curtailed the celebration in the last two years, hence the public celebration of the festival in roadside Ganesh pandals is expected to be on a bigger scale this year.
The public celebration of the festival in Maharashtra dates back to the 1890s when the nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak and others decided to use it to mobilize the masses.
Ganesh mandals in Mumbai and other major cities of Maharashtra took large idols in processions accompanied by dhol-tasha beats to their pandals in the last few days.
Household Ganpatis were brought mostly on Tuesday night or in the morning with chants of “Ganpati Bappa Morya”.
Devotees thronged vegetable and flower markets, sweet shops and roadside stalls for buying flowers, puja materials, sweets and decorative items.
Political leaders and film and television personalities also welcomed the deity to their homes.