Ganesh Chaturthi festival-Pune

When I was a kid I used to always hum the tune Come September as that was a popular number then.

But here in Pune , come September and the city gears up for the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.  In fact it is celebrated all over India but is more prominent in Maharashtra. It is a great celebration that lasts for ten days.

There are different mandals funded by prominent shopkeepers/clubs that vie with each other for quality and eye catching display. Some come up with the latest social issues and that becomes the theme of the mandal. Families throng these mandals throughout the ten days to get a glimpse of the displayed theme.  In the wake of the terrorist threat it is a tough job for the cops, but they do manage to keep the peace and ferret out the antisocial elements.

What I like best about this festive period is the gaiety and colorful display that takes place on the last day. On Anant Chaturdashi (which is the tenth day) amidst much revelry, huge statues of Lord Ganesha are taken in a procession through the main city roads for immersion in the river.  Pune is fortunate to have two rivers running through the city which  helps in the immersion.

You may find the big statues in the procession, but during the immersion, a small statue is immersed as a symbolic gesture.  This is to avoid  pollution of the river. Many of the mandals, use clay idols (instead of plaster of paris) to keep in line with eco friendly requirement.

The procession is accompanied by the rhythmic beating of the drums. Earlier it was the boy’s bastion but of late girls have also entered into the fray with colorful headgears and equal gusto beating away to glory.

Dhol (pic by Swati Gavde)

Every year I make it a point to visually capture the event. If you are standing close, you can feel the reverberation of these drums.  It is said that the weight of the dhol (drum) which is tied around the waist, is around seven kilograms . Then there is the tasha (cymbal) which goes in perfect sync with the dhol. Some of them have the ghanta, a simple round metallic disc suspended at one end which is tapped by a rod to give the rhythm. The combination of the dhol, tasha and the ghanta produces the perfect sound to make anyone sway to the beat.

The Dhol - picture by Abhijeet

Recently I read that read that Pune has the maximum Dhols in India.

One has to be careful with the gulal (color powder) that is thrown at regular intervals.

I was more worried about my camera than the gulal going in my eye.

For those who are curious about Ganesh Chaturthi, it is the birthday of Ganesha (the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati). His presence on these ten days is believed to bring blessings and prosperity to all his devotees. Ganesha is widely worshiped as the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

This year Ganesh chaturthi falls on the 19th of September (in case anybody is planning to make a visit to Pune)

The presence of foreign tourists are steadily increasing during festive seasons and I am hoping to capture some better pictures this time.
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Author: Joe

Born and bred in Bombay (now Mumbai) having spend the last 41 years in Pune (earlier Poona). Have been into photography for quite some time but got hold of a digital in 2003 and since then have been shooting away to glory. Hate posed photographs and like to shoot the daily life around us. Nothing like traveling and observing the local people and their culture.


  1. This is an interesting looking Ganesh Idol.

    I read somewhere that the Ganesh Idol can be portrayed in several different ways. Is this true?

  2. Nice photos, brings back lot of memories. When I was a kid, I used to dance in these type of festivals. Now as a grown-up missing all those fun.

  3. Nice info and photos, is this festival popular in north or south?

    Do you have any other festivals for other god and goddesses?

    • Yes Carol, this is also celebrated in the north and the south, but not as fervently as in Maharashtra.
      As for other God and Goddesses, there is the Dussera which is followed by Diwali. In the east (specially Bengal) Dussera is celebrated as Durga puja.
      I will be writing about those too in my later posts.

  4. This is the first time I am seeing the Ganesh in that pose. It is a interesting blog and I liked your photos.

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