Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most anticipated Hindu festivals to be celebrated every year. Alok Bhartia has seen the vibrant hues of this festival up-close in Mumbai. The immense energy and zeal of the people in Ganesh visarjan is something you should never miss. The air is filled with drum beats and shouts of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’. Mumbai celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi in full grandeur. Sadly, the celebrations this year mellowed down due to the cloud burst. Alok Bhartia’s recent excursion to Singapore exposed him to the preparation of Ganesh Chaturthi. The numbers were lacking, but the energy was way more than that of native celebrations.
Singapore usually has one of the best Ganesh Chaturthi processions. They usually crown the idol of Lord Ganesh with a huge gold crown that can cost up to SGD 150,000. Puja happens at the 150-year-old Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple and it attracts the locals as well. Some years back, the crown presented to Lord Ganesh’s idol weighed 3.5 kg. The merry-makers not just include Indians, but the Chinese as well. A large number of Chinese are ardent devotees of Lord Ganesh. You will also find crowds of Bali Hindus in the celebrations.
Three African mahogany trees have barks that look like Hanuman, Ganesh and Guan Yin, a Chinese god. During Ganesh Chaturthi, these trees attract a lot of crowd. Banana and peanuts are offered as prasad. It’s mostly the collective communities like Maharashtra Mandal that organize Ganesh Chaturthi in Singapore. The welfare collects funds to provide all the festival arrangements. The rituals are followed by many cultural programs, contests and amusing events.
Alok Bhartia was lucky to have seen Ganesh Chaturthi in another light. Lord Ganesh is the remover of obstacles and he has helped Alok Bhartia escape the clutches of mismanagement at the airport a number times. It’s why his visit to the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Singapore was special.