Ganeshotsav : The Great Ganesh Festival

“Ganeshotsav” is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the devotees across India and in many places of the world. But mainly in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra, Tamilnadu, Karnataka it is celebrated in a big and elaborate  way. Devotees clean and decorate their houses with flowers, rangolies, lights etc. A day before Ganesh-Chaturthi clay idols of Ganesha are brought home. Number of delicacies are made for Ganesha but
the most popular and Ganeshas favourite one is “Modaks”  are made as prasadam(offerings). With proper puja and prayers Ganesha idols are installed. Devotees chant different Ganesha stotras, bhajans, arti to honour and praise lord Ganesha.

Ganesha celebration at our home-2012

The celebration takes place at both individual and community level. This is a great time for communities to take a break from their routine life and come together, participate and celebrate. Number of cultural, social events are organized during these ten days.

Ganesh festival ends with Ganesh Visarjan (immersion). As per the tradition Ganesh immersion is performed on Anant Chathurthi Day (14th day) .
But every family has different traditions so different families perform  Ganesh visarjan on different days, like 1st, 3rd, 7th etc.  Images of Ganesha are carried in a grand procession for ‘Ganesh Visarjan’. Now a days Government plan the immersion routes and places in advance for the environmental safety and also to avoid any mishap during the procession. In short, “Ganeshotsav” is a spectacular festival which gives the message of sociocultural unity and togetherness.

Ganeshotsav is a great festival, we all love it and enjoy it too, but the most serious and the dangerous impact of  Ganeshotsav on the environment is due to the Ganesh Visarjan(immersion). Not all the Ganesha idols are made up of natural clay, instead, most of them are made from the manmade, easy to mould plaster of paris. This plaster of paris is insoluble in water. The Chemical paints used to paint the idols contain number of heavy metals which pollutes the river/sea water. Also several accessories used during the Ganesha puja like real and artificial garlands, flowers, decoration, different costumes , fruits etc cannot dissolve in water so it gets accumulated in sand on the beaches. Beaches and riverbanks become dirty for many days even after the visarjan which is a big health hazard. All these things during immersion not only pollute the water but the surrounding area also. Such pollution can damage the environmental balance by killing the aquatic animals and plants and starting different health issues in the nearby areas.

Ganesha celebration at home : 2011

As a responsible citizen we can make this wonderful, joyous, fun-filled Ganesha festival, an environmental friendly by just doing small changes in the way we celebrate this festival.
After landing in India we started installing Ganesha at home &  we are personally following these small steps and doing our bit to protect the environment. With my experience I can say, it’s very simple , easy to do and lot of fun for everyone involved in the festival.

1. First and the most important one is, buy a natural clay Ganesha idol, its bit expensive  but worth. Or make your own clay Ganesha at home with kids.
2. Buy and use the reusable decoration.
3. Segregate all the biodegradable & dry  waste before the immersion.
4. Immerse the Ganesha idol in a bucket of water at home and after a day use that water for plants.
5. If not comfortable at home follow the Government instructions on the Immersion places and use only the designated  lakes, tanks etc for the immersion.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” by  Mahatma Gandhi

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