Muscat, Oman: Ganesh Chaturthi, a splendid festival of devotion and fervour concluded with the immersion of the Ganapati idol and Maha Prasada distribution at Muscat Shiva Temple Hall on Sunday, 31st August 2014. The year 2014 marks the 30th year of the celebration of this grand festival by the Tulu/Kannada community in Oman. In commemoration of 30 successful years of Chaturthi celebrations in the country, invitations were designed to show 30 beautiful images of Lord Ganesha on the cover. The festivities commenced on the 29th of August 2014, i.e. the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. 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 group chanted the Ganapathi Sahasranama. The morning session wrapped up with a spectacular dance performance “Ganesha Vandana” by Smt. Pramila Ramesh and her disciples as well as devotional songs/bhajans by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda group.
The three days of this magnificent festival were interspersed with various devotional rituals like Aarathi, Gana Homa, Maha Pooja, Ranga Pooja, Pushparchan. Devotees sought the blessings of Lord Ganesha and paid homage to the deity while making offerings such as 108 Coconuts, Modaka, Laddu, Kodu Bale, Chakkuli, fruits/flowers and the like.
The ceremonial couple for the celebration this year was Dr. C. K. Anchan and his wife Smt. Neelkamal Anchan.
The entrance to the temple hall was decorated traditionally with banana stems, mango leaves, clusters of tender coconuts, date bunches and flowers. About 250 kgs of fresh flowers of different varieties and colours were flown in from Bangalore, Mangalore and Mumbai. 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 scented garlands of flowers like the Mangalore malige, rose, jasmine, lotus and marigold among others. A team of enthusiastic and creative volunteers led by Shri Koni Prakash Naik, Shri Ravi Kanchan and Shri Vishwanath.Bangera 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 devotees.
Popular bhajans like Prathama Vandana Vigna Vinasha, Prathama Tula Vandito, Prathama Namo Girijasuta Ganapati, Ganapati Deva Teri Jai Jaikar, Jai Jai Ganapati Jai Ganesh, Gaja Mukhane Jayatu Gana Nathane, Maje Maher Pandari, Jai Ganesha Jai Ganesha Deva, Namo Sharade, Maheshwarana Suta Ganeshwara, Jay Ganesh Gay Ganesh Deva, Matanga Vadana, Kuniyuta Naliyuta Baa Ganesha, Narada Muni Sur Det, Om Namah Shivaya, Tuja Magato Mee Aata, Sharanu Siddhi Vinayaka, Sharanu Sharuvayyo Gana Nayaka, Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma were rendered by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda Group comprising of Koni Prakash Naik, Karunakar Rao, Ashok Kotian, Kishore Kotemane, Dr. C.K. Anchan, Raju Sanil, Nisha Rao, Prema Umesh Karkera, Pushpa Kotian, Divya Kotian, Rishabh Rao and Jaya Ramesh.
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 ‘Mangalavu Gana Natha Mangalavu Gajavadana”.
The hall reverberated with Vedic Chants performed by Shri Vaidhyanathan Group; Shukla Yajur Veda chanted Ghanam by Shri A.V. Manohar. Devotional music resonated in the air with musical offerings by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda, Ms. R. Meenakshi Group, Sai Devotees, Kare Krishna Group, Mata Amritanandamayi Bhajan Group, Divine Spark, Muscat, Gopa Kuteera, Om Shree Ganesha Bala Vrinda, Chinmaya Bala Vihar, Tyagaraja Samithi, Maitri Vrinda, “Oneness” Group, Art of Living Group, GSB Group, Smt. Lata Murali, Smt. Jayashree, Shree Kanthi Bhai Group, Aaradhana Group, and Disciples of Smt. Jayashree
Bharat Natyam dance performances were rendered by the disciples of Smt. Padmini Krishnamoorthy, Guru Smt. Premila Ramesh and her disciples, Veena Recital by Smt. Chitra Ravi and disciples.
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 this- 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 the 31st August.
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 after immersion featured a sumptuous variety of foods such as Moode, Ambade, 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.
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.
Some prominent dignitaries who partook in the celebrations were the ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman, H. E. J. S. Mukhul and Smt. Mukul. From the merchant community, Shri Kanaksey Gokaldas Khimji, Shri Anil Khimji, Shri Kiran Asher, Shri Ashwin Nensey and family and Shri Bharat Asher offered their prayers. Also, Dr. Satish Nambiar (Chairman, Indian Social Club) and his wife Smt. Mangala Nambiar participated in the pooja.
Under the able guidance of convener Shri Ramesh Shettigar, the committee members tirelessly pooled in their efforts to ensure the success of the three day long festival. The Muscat Ganesh Festival Committee comprises of Shri Prakash Naik Koni, Shri Ramanand Kunder, Shri S.K. Poojary; Shri Karunakar Rao, Kadri; Shri Ashok Kotian; Shri.Umesh Karkera; Shri Shashidhar Shetty Mallar; Shri Nagesh Shetty, Kinnigoly; Shri Ravi Kanchan, Shri Mangaldas Kamath, Shri Gurudas Pejathaya, Shri Shreenivas Shriyan, Dr Anchan C K and Shri Kashinath N Anchan.
In honour of the 30th year of Ganesh Chaturthi festival celebrations a Sarwajanika Satyanarayana pooja will be organized on Friday, 5th September 2014 at Shree Krishna Temple Hall, Darseit in the morning. The evening will see two Yakshagana plays namely, “Bhakta Prahlada” and “Indrajitu Kalaga” performed by visiting professional artists from Mangalore along with Yaksha Mitra, a troupe from Dubai, UAE.
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!
Article By: Koni Prakash Naik, Kundapur, Muscat