Report By: Koni Prakash Naik, Kundapur / Muscat
Pictures by: Nagesh
Continuing with the tradition, this year being the 29th year of celebrations, Shree Ganesh Festival Committee, Muscat (ex-Tulu Koota) along with thousands of devotees celebrated the Ganesh Chaturthi festival with devotion in traditional pomp, fervour, and gaiety at Lord Shiva Temple, Muscat from Monday, 9th September to Wednesday, 11th September 2013.
This spectacular festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, popularly worshiped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring peace and good fortune. Elaborate rituals and cultural programs marked the festivities at the temple. The 3 day festival was celebrated with zeal and grandeur amidst thousands of devotees from all parts of India.
Invocation / Pratishtapana Rituals
After completing the Pranapratishtapana pooja to invoke the Lord’s holy presence into the beautifully crafted statue, the idol of Lord Ganesha was installed inside the mandap. Bala Ganesha wearing a glittering golden crown (Swarna Mukuta) was exquisitely adorned with variety of flowers and ornaments. In addition, a beautifully engraved silver umbrella was hung above the idol. This year, the ceremonial couple, Shri Shrinivasa Shriyan and Smt. Sudha Shriyan performed the invocation & immersion pooja rituals under the guidance of Veda Murthi Shri Shankaranarayana Adiga. Devotees were seen standing in a long queue since early morning at the temple to have the darshan of the presiding deity Lord Ganesh.
The temple hall entrance was decorated traditionally with banana stems, mango leaves, cluster of tender coconuts, bunches of dates and flowers. The alcoves on the ceilings of the entire hall were adorned beautifully in fresh flower garlands in an artistic pattern, with light and dark hued flowers alternately arranged. Around 300 kg of fresh flowers of different varieties and colours were flown in from Bangalore and Mangalore. Fresh flower garlands of Mangalore Malige, Roses, Jasmine, Lotus, Kewra, Marigold, Zeenia, etc adorned the idol of Lord Ganesha on all the three days. A rare opportunity for the devotees to witness such a beautiful floral decoration and it was a mesmerizing treat to the eyes. The entire decoration was aesthetically created by a team of enthusiastic, creative volunteers mainly Ravi Kanchan, Vittal Pujari, Satish Pujari, Mahesh Bangera, Vasant Sherigar, Vijayraj, Abhijith Khalasi, led by Koni Prakash Naik.
Shri Jaganath Rai and his committed team left no stone unturned in taking care of all the logistics and they deserve a special mention.
Right in front of the mandap, a spectacular rangoli depicting Lord Ganesha was created by the duo Paru Negandhi and Bijal Ved. The Rangoli design was replete with all the symbolic representation and ornate jewellery stones, bejeweled with stone necklaces.
Pooja Rituals and Offerings
The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations started with Pranapratishtapana, Panchamrita Abhisheka and Gana Homa on Monday, 9th September between 9.05 am and 11 a.m. As part of the celebrations, several other traditional rituals like Aarathi, Maha Pooja, Ranga Pooja, Vedic Chants, Ganapathi Sahasranamavali, Shukla Yajurveda Ghanam chanting were performed and variety of offerings like 108 Coconuts, Laddu, Chakkuli, Kajjaya, Modaka etc., were made to the Lord on all the three days. All the pooja rituals were performed by the main Archaka Shri Shankar Narayan Adiga (who was specially flown in from India), assisted by Shri Gurudas Pejathaya and a group of local Archakas.
As part of the festivities, cultural programmes like Bhajans, Devotional Songs, Bharath Natyam, Odissi Dance were presented which were highly spectacular and were performed throughout the day by various Bhajan / Dance troupes drawn from different parts of the country. This cultural extravaganza immersed the devotees into a devotional world of joy throughout the day.
Popular bhajans like Prathama Namo Girijasuta, Nammamma Sharadhe, Ganapati Deva Teri Jai Jaikar, Ganapati Enna Paliso, Vande Omkara, Ganapana Poojeg Ulai Bale, Maheshwarana Suta Ganeshwara, Sharavu Mahaganapatiye, Dhimikita Dhimikita, Ghajanana Shree Ganaraya, Jai Jai Ganapati Jai Ganesh, Narada Muni Soor Det, Sharanu Sharuvayyo Gana Nayaka, were rendered and the session was concluded with mangala bhajan ‘Jaya Mangalam Nitya Shubha Mangalam. A special Pushparchana was conducted on the last day during which Karunakar Rao chanted the Shloka “Madukarata Modakam ……”
The hall reverberated with Vedic Chants by the disciples of Shri Vaidyanathan, Shukla Yajurveda Ghanam chanting by A.V. Manohar. Devotional music resonated in the air with musical offerings by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda, newly formed Om Shree Ganesha Bala Vrinda, Meenakshi Group, Jyothi Balaji, Latha Murali, Mata Amritanandamayi Bhajan Group, Oneness Group, Sai Devotees, Aaradhana Group, Chinmaya Bala Vihar Group, Maithri Vrinda Group, Divine Spark Group, Art of Living Group, Thyagaraja Samiti, Muscat, Mrs. Jayashree & Group, Shri Kantibhai Chawda & Group, Gopa Kuteera Group, Muscat GSB Group and Hare Krishna Group.
Bharat Natyam dance performances were rendered by Smt. Premila Ramesh & Group, and Odissi dance “Ganesha Vandana” was offered by Kum. Shreya Bangera.
Invocation bhajan and the final day bhajans were performed by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda team comprising Karunakar Rao Kadri, Koni Prakash Naik, Ashok Kotian, Raj Sanil, Dr. C. K. Anchan, Nisha Anil Rao, Prema Umesh, Rishab K. Rao, Pushpa Kotian, and Chaitra Kotian.
Om Shree Ganesha Bala Vrinda
It is said that the values a family develops are traditionally the foundation for how children learn, grow and function in the world. Our social values are often times reinforced by our spiritual or religious beliefs and traditions. With a view to inculcate these values in our children last year “Om Shree Ganesha Bala Vrinda” was formed and some young children were trained to sing bhajans/devotional songs. Like last year, this year also these children, viz. Master Rishab Karunakar Rao, Master Janav Nagesh Shetty, Ms. Pavana Nagesh Shetty, Ms. Disha Devendra Amin, Ms. Simran Tharanath Kotian, Ms. Driti Ravi Kanchan, Master Mithil Ravi Kanchan, Master Dhanush Kishan Shetty, Ms. Bhakit Kishan Shetty, Ms. Sparsha Kishore Shetty, Ms. Mihika C. Anchan and Master Swastik Sundar Moolya, gave a heart touching performance by singing some of the popular bhajans namely Pahi Pahi Gajanana, Jay Ganesh Jay Ganesh Deva, Jaya Lambodhara Pahima, Shree Ganaraya Jaya Ganaraya, Lambodhara He Vigneshwara, Jaj Jay Jay Gananayaka, Sunder Mukha Shree Gajanana.
Finale / Immersion
The finale of the three day celebration was the ritual of immersion. Amidst the repeated and befitting choral chants of “Ganpati Bappa Moriya” the immersion of the idol of Lord Ganesha was conducted.
Traditional Mangalorean cuisine was served as Prasad on all the three days (both in the afternoons and at night) and on the last day after immersion a sumptuous cuisine namely Moode, Payasa, Holige, Chitranna, Kodhel, Saar, Huli/Sambar, Mosaru/Majjige (Curd/Butter Milk) were served on plantain leaves to all those who were present enhancing the flavour of the festival. It was catered by Shri Raviraj Ballal, Swagath Group of Hotels.
Among the dignitaries, the most prominent being, His Excellency the Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, Shri J. S. Mukul along with his wife attended the second day afternoon Mahapooja and offered prayers to Lord Ganesha. Also, the Hon. Chairman of Indian Social Club, Dr. Satish Nambiar together with his wife Smt. Mangala Nambiar partook in the celebrations and sought the blessings of Lord Ganesh.
Certain other prominent personalities from the merchant community like Shri Kanaksi Khimji, Shri Ashwin Nensey, Shri Kiran Asher and Shri Ajay Hamlai together with their respective family members partook in the celebrations.
All the arrangements were impeccably coordinated and executed. The committee members along with a number of volunteers contributed to the proceedings of the three day festival with immense devotion.
The Muscat Ganesh Festival Committee comprises of Shri Ramesh Shettigar (Convenor), Koni Prakash Naik, Ramanand Kunder, S.K. Poojary; Karunakar Rao Kadri; Ashok Kotian; Umesh Buntwal; Shashidhar Shetty Mallar; Nagesh Shetty Kinnigoli; Ravi Kanchan, Mangaldas Kamath, Gurudas Pejathaya, Shreenivass Shriyan, Dr. C. K. Anchan and Kashinath Anchan.
Due to the unstinted and selfless efforts being put in by the members of Shree Ganesh Festival Committee together with a strong team of committed volunteers with the feeling of fraternity and oneness, devotees in Muscat have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to celebrate Ganesh festivals in traditional style for all these years and with the Lord’s blessings, efforts are continuing with one voice “GANAPATHI BAPPA MORIYA…MANGALA MURTHY MORIYA”.