Before the ten-day ceremony begins, the household achieves an unmatched state of purity. Households and specially the place where the idol is to be placed, is cleaned and whitewashed.
Ganesha idols that are newly molded are brought from the innumerable street-side shops, which come up especially during the festival.
The idols of Lord Ganesha are carried with their faces covered with a saffron cloth amidst the chanting and sound of cymbals. And as the evening approaches, his ideal is seated in a grandiose manner in the puja room.
He is installed as the supreme one who takes precedence over all others. This is called "Sthapana" when all the members of the household gather around the decorated altar. Then the priests perform a ritual by which the idol is said to be imbued with life.
The worshipper then sips the holy water and performs the pranayama and bows against Ganesha and all the other gods.
The Ganapati Aarti and devotional chanting are sung along with the cymbals, bells and clapping. The "modak" a sweet is offered to the deity along with the flowers. This completes the ritual of the first day.
For the remaining days, the idol is worshipped with simple recitations of the devotional songs, offering of flowers and lamps.
After the ten days of worship, the god returns to his heavenly abode and his image is immersed in the water. This is known as visarjan (immersion).
All the people join the final procession to the ghats of a river or the ocean in Mumbai and other coastal areas. Shouts of 'Ganapati bappa Morya, Purchya varshi laukariya' (beloved Ganesha, Lord of Morya, come again early next year) echo all over.
The event is now a massive celebration and is perhaps the world's largest religion-inspired party. Trucks carry the huge idols of Ganapatis on roads while the devotees carry a red colored called gulal to shower oneach other.
Last Updated: 19th August, 2017