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.
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.
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.