Report by: Koni Prakash Naik, Kundapur, Muscat
Pictures: Nagesh Kumar
Muscat, Oman: Ganesh Chaturthi, a splendid festival of devotion and fervour concluded with the immersion of the Ganapati idol followed by serving of Maha Prasada in a traditional way to over 700 devotees gathered at Muscat Shiva Temple Hall on Wednesday, 4th September 2019. The year 2019 marks the 35th year of celebration of this grand festival by the Tulu/Kannada community in Oman. The festivities commenced on the 2nd of September 2019, i.e. the Ganesha Chaturthi day. This day is considered to be the birthday of Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati. The festival is observed during the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada with its beginning on shukla chaturthi (fourth day). Thousands of devotees from not only Tulunadu but all across India thronged the Shiva temple and partook in this festival of devotion and joy.
In Lord Ganesha one sees the human imagination of God. God, who is all-powerful, sees, hears, knows, rules, protects and blesses. No wonder he is the presiding deity of auspicious beginnings. He is worshipped as the God of wisdom and the patron of learning. He is Vighneshwara – the remover of vighnas (obstacles). He is Ganapathi (Ganesha) – Lord or leader of the people.
Pratishtapana and Pooja Rituals
The morning of the first day featured the Prathisthapana ritual performed by the main Archaka Shri.Shankar Narayan Adiga who was ably assisted by Shri Gurudas Pejathaya and a team of Archakas. Amidst the chanting of mantras and shlokas, Shri Shankar Narayan Adiga invoked the presence of Lord Ganesha. This was then followed by Panchamrita Abhisheka and Gana Homa. The Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda chanted the Ganapathi Sahasranama. The morning session wrapped up with spectacular dance performances by the disciples of Smt. Nalini Kannan and Smt. Sangeetha Sreejith followed by devotional songs/bhajans by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda.
The three days of this magnificent festival were interspersed with various devotional rituals like Aarathi, Gana Homa, Maha Pooja, Ranga Pooja, Pushparchane, Devotees sought the blessings of Lord Ganesha and paid homage to the deity while making offerings such as 108 Coconuts, Modaka, Laddu, variety of sweets, fruits/flowers and the like.
The ceremonial couple for the celebration this year was Shri Gurudas Pejathaya and his wife Smt. Jyothi Gurudas Pejathaya.
The entrance to the temple hall was decorated traditionally with banana stems, mango leaves, cluster of tender coconuts, date bunches and flowers. About 250 kgs of fresh flowers of different varieties and colours were flown in from India. Garlands of fresh flowers framed the walls of the hall in alternating patterns of light and dark hues. The beautifully molded clay Ganesh idol was adorned with gold crown, gold chains, scented garlands of flowers like the Mangalore malige, rose, jasmine, lotus and marigold among others. A team of enthusiastic and creative volunteers led by Dr. C. K. Anchan, Koni Prakash Naik, Shri Vishwanath.Bangera and Shri Vittal Poojary came together to give the hall the festive aesthetic beauty that it possessed during the celebrations.
The Modakapriya Lord Ganesha was artistically depicted in the form of a rangoli in front of the mandap. The rangoli design, replete with religious symbolism and bejeweled with glittering artificial stones was created by the talented duo Smt. Paru Negandhi and Smt. Pragna Shah.
Chauthi Fervor – Devotional Music and Dance
Strains of devotional music permeated the environs of the temple. The melodic keynotes of the harmonium, the pulsating beat of the tabla and mridangam, the rhythmic clank of cymbals and the twang of the veena strings all came together to create a harmonious atmosphere within the temple premises. Devotional music was accompanied with the sound of delicate tunes ringing from anklet bells draped around the feet of devotee dancers.
Popular bhajans like Prathama Namo Girijasuta Ganapati, Omkara Nadapriya Hey Ganapa, Nammamma Sharade, Karava Mugipe Ganapa, Jay Ganesh Deva, Shira Bagi Namisuvenu, Gajamukhane Ganapatiye Ninage Vandane, Gajanana Shree Ganaraya, Amma Parameshwari, Parvati Tapasina Punya Phala, Bhajane Madona Banniro Navellaru, Hey Gananatha Jaya Gananatha, Ane Moneda Swamiye, Sharanu Ninage Sharanu, Bhagyada Laxmi Baramma, Sharanu Sharanuvayyo Gananayaka were rendered by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda comprising of Koni Prakash Naik, Karunakar Rao, Dr. C.K. Anchan, Raju Sanil, Vijay Salian, Nisha Rao, Prema Umesh, Vanishree Nagesh, Theera Kateel, Neel Anchan and Chaitra Kotian. Tabla player, Shri Shodhan (alumni of Alwas and Ninasam Institute), who was specially flown in from Bengaluru, was at his best with his performance.
Om Shree Ganesha Bala Vrinda comprising of Pawana Nagesh Shetty, Sharanya Arun Holla, Sharvani Arun Holla, Sharath Devanand Amin, Ananya Gurudas Pejathaya and Shravya Ninjoor rendered soulful bhajans namely, Gajanana Hey Shubhanana, Deva Gananayaka, Raghupati Raghava Rajaram, Gajavadhana Beduve, Namo Bhootanatha and Hey Sharade Ma.
The bhajan session concluded with the Ganesha Pancharatnam prayer while the main priest was conducting the pushparchane:
Mudakaraatha Modakam Sada Vimukti Saadhakam
Kalaadharaavatamsakam Vilasiloka Rakshakam
Anaaya Kaika Naayakam Vinasitebha Daityakam
Nataasubhasu Naashakam namaami Tham Vinaayakam”
and the mangala bhajan “Jaya Mangalam Nitya Shubha Mangalam,”
The temple hall reverberated with Vedic Chants performed by Shri Vaidhyanathan’s disciples, Shukla Yajur Veda Ghanam chanted by Shri A.V. Manohar. Devotional music resonated in the air with musical offerings by Towell Engg. Group, Vishwa Aaradhana Group, Chinmaya Balavihar, Smt. R. Meenakshi/Padmaja Ramanujam and disciples, Hare Krishna Group, Mata Amritanandamayi Bhajan Group, Divine Spark Group, Smt. Swarnalatha Hebbar, Omkar Ladies Group, Smt. Mukta Kala and disciples, Thyagaraja Samithi, Sai Devotees, Smt. Vidya Shreedhar & disciples, Art of Living Group, GSB Group, Smt. Nalini Kannan & disciples, Smt. Jayashree & disciples, Shri Kanthi Bhai Chawda & Group, Kum. Shreya & Group, Kerala GSB Group,
Bharat Natyam dance performances were rendered by Smt. Theerta Kateel, the disciples of Smt. Nalini Kannan, Smt. Sangeetha Sreejith, Smt. Padmini Krishnamoorthy, Guru Smt. Premila Ramesh and her disciples, Veena Recital by Smt. Dhanya Ratheesh and Group.
The Finale – Immersion
The three day celebration concluded with the age-old ritual of visarjan (immersion) of the clay moorthi (idol) of Ganesha on Vinayaka Chaturthi. One of the most popular explanations to this revered tradition is – In Sanathana Dharma (popularly known as Hinduism) Brahman, the One True God, is the Absolute and Supreme reality. The Brahman who is formless has the power to manifest Himself in different forms. One amongst the millions of his forms is that of Ganesha. It is not easy for an ordinary devotee to worship Brahman, who is without form (Nirakara). Hence, the Lord is given the shape of an idol during the celebrations and once this is done, it is time to accept the eternal cosmic law- that which took form has to become formless again. It is a never ending cycle. Immersion of the Ganesha moorthi symbolizes that the Brahman has returned to his formless state once more. The Brahman can manifest in many forms but the Supreme Brahman remains the same- formless, unchangeable and eternal. Following this tradition amidst the repeated and befitting choral chants of “Ganpati Bappa Moreya Mangala Moorti Moreya” the immersion of the idol of Lord Ganesha was carried out on the night of 4th September.
Prasada / Maha Prasada Distribution:
Traditional Mangalorean cuisine was served as prasad on all three days (both the afternoons and the evenings) and the concluding dinner (mahaprasada) after immersion featured a sumptuous variety of foods such as Moode, Mensu Kai, Kosambari, Banana Podi, Chitranna, Mosaranna, Payasa, Holige, Kodhel, Puliyogare, Saar, Huli/Sambar, Chatni, Happala, Mosaru/Majjige (Curd/Butter Milk) was served on plaintain leaves . It was catered by Shri Raviraj Ballal, Swagath Group of Hotels. Hotel Oman Express and Udupi Home also catered on other days.
Arrangements, Participation and Committee:
The committee members along with a number of volunteers contributed to the proceedings of the three day festival with immense dedication. A group of enthusiastic children pitched in as well, contributing to the overall quality and success of the festival.
His Excellency the Ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman, Shri Munu Mahawar and Dr. Satish Nambiar, the Chairman of Indian Social Club, Muscat partook in the celebrations. Many prominent dignitaries from the business community like Shri Anil Khimji, Shri Ashwin Nancy & family, Shri Bakul Bhai Mehta and others also attended the grand celebrations.
Under the able guidance of convener Shri S. K. Poojary, the Muscat Ganesh Festival Committee comprises of Shri Koni Prakash Naik, Shri Karunakar Rao Kadri; Shri.Umesh Karkera; Shri Shashidhar Shetty Mallar; Shri Nagesh Shetty Kinnigoly; Shri Mangaldas Kamath, Shri Gurudas Pejathaya, Shri Dr Anchan C K and Shri Kashinath N Anchan. tirelessly pooled in their efforts to ensure the success of the three day long festival.
In commemoration of the 35th year milestone of Ganesh Chaturthi festival two mega cultural events are being planned for Friday 20th September 2019 at the auditorium of Shree Krishna Temple Darseit. The evening will see (1) Nritya Roopaka “Ekadantha” and “Krishnantharanga” by Vidhushi Geetha Saralaya and her daughter Vidhushi Rashmi Chidanand accompanied by talented dancers from Muscat and (2) “Harikathamruta “Ganesha Mahime – Chowthiya Chandra” by Haridas Shri Thonse Pushkal Kumar, visiting artists from Mangalore.
May the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi and devotion to him bring peace and happiness to each and every one. Let Him take away all obstacles to prosperity!