10 facts about Lord Ganesh and Ganesh Chaturthi…how many do you know?

Regarded as the reliever of all obstacles and a symbol of wisdom and good luck, Lord Ganesha is the most worshipped of all Hindu gods.

Lord Ganesha’s photos, idols and other decorative items find a prominent place in most Hindu households, with every festive occasion or new beginning starting with offering prayers to Lord Ganesha.

Marking the birth of the lord of wisdom is the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, which is celebrated across the country for 10 days with fervor and in 2023, the festival begins on September 19.

The preparations begin months in advance as artists sculpt countless idols of Lord Ganesha in different poses, colours and sizes and families gear up to welcome their favourite Lord with decorations and an array of sweets, especially the signature sweet, the ‘modak,made of freshly grated coconut and jaggery, with an outer soft shell made from rice flour or wheat flour mixed with khava or maida flour.

After 10 days of celebration with family and friends, the Ganesha idol is eventually immersed in the sea (or water) led by a procession of bells, drums and music, a tradition known as ‘visarjan.’

This is when devotees bid farewell to Lord Ganesha and request him to return again the next year.

As India celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi, we take a look at some interesting and lesser known facts about this famous festival.

In 1893, revolutionary freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak urged the masses to come together to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi.

His main motive was to inculcate the feeling of patriotism among people at a time when British discouraged social gatherings.

In India, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in its grandest fashion in Maharashtr, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Goa

Traditionally the idols were sculpted out of mud.

They were eventually immersed in water as the festival drew to an end. But like this they were sculpted again every year to celebrate the festival.

According to statistics, the number of Ganesh idols brought home exceeds 2,00,000 in Mumbai alone and the number is significantly increasing each year.

The longest immersion procession is that of Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja, which starts at around 10 am and ends the next morning, taking nearly 24 hours.

The total insurance cover for pandals across Mumbai alone in 2014 was worth INR 450 crores.

Lord Ganesha, who is at times represented with only one tusk, is known as Ek Dant.

According to Hindu mythology, Ganesha once broke his tooth and hurled it at the Moon for laughing at his belly.

Although the curse was undone, the myth about looking at the moon is a bad omen still remains.

Apart from Mumbai and Pune, one place which flourished and mastered the art of making Lord Ganesha idols is Maharashtra’s Pen district.

Close to 500 workshops and over 800 artisans make over 7 lakh idols every year, which also get exported to the UK and US.

Though many believe Ganesha to be a bachelor, there are numerous instances where Ganesha is presented with two wives-Ridhi and Sidhi. According to mythology, both of them were created by Brahma to placate Ganesha who was distraught at not having any wife when several Gods and deities had more than one.

Lord Ganesha has around 108 names, including Vighna Harta (the remover of obstacles) and Buddhi Pradaayaka (the giver of wisdom and intellect).

Apart from his birth, Ganesh Chaturthi is also the day when Lord Shiva declared Ganesha to be above all Hindu Gods.