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Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations begins; Puja Muhurat, Rituals, and Special Foods



Ganesh Chaturthi 2018

New Delhi, Sep 13: Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations have kicked off and the 10-day long festival is being celebrated with much fervour across the different parts of the nation.

States like Goa, Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra and some parts of South India are in high spirits and celebrating the occasion cheerfully.

Devotees in Mumbai throng to the most famous ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ to have a glimpse of Ganpati Bappa on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is celebrated in honour of Hindu God, Lord Ganesha, who is said to leave mount Kailasha to be with his followers for these ten days.

ganesh chaturthi

The auspicious day marks the birth of Hindu God Ganesha and starts with the ‘sthapana’ of the Lord in the house, ending with ‘visarjan’ on the tenth day.

Devotees clean up their houses and install idols of Lord Ganesha and worship him with flowers and delicious sweets.

Ganesh Chaturthi 2018

In states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, you would find massive Ganesh pandals, with artful clay idols of Lord Ganesha.

Craftsmen and sculptors from across the country begin sculpting idols of Lord Ganesha months in advance. Post the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, these clay idols are immersed in river.


Ganesh Chaturthi 2018

The celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi started today (September 13) and the visarjan will take place on September 23. The colourful and spectacular celebrations go back years in time and hold a very significant place in every devotee’s heart.

Puja Muharat:

13 September:

Afternoon- 1:30 pm to 3:21 pm

Evening- 4:53 to 9:21 pm

14 September:

Morning- 3:13 to 6:09 am

Afternoon- 12:16 to 1:48 pm

Evening- 4:52 to 6:24 pm

15 September:

Morning- 7:41 am to 9:13 am

Afternoon- 12:16 pm to 4:51 pm

Evening- 6:23 pm to 7:51 pm

Night- 9:19 pm to 1:45 am (September 16)

16 September:

Morning- 4:42 am to 6:10 am

17 September:

Morning- 6:11 am to 7:42 am and 9:13 am to 10:44 am

Afternoon- 1:47 pm to 7:49 pm

Night- 10:47 pm to 0:16 am

18 September :

Morning – 1:45 am to 6:11 am

19 September:

Morning- 6:12 am to 9:13 am and 10:44 am to 12:15 pm

Afternoon- 3:16 pm to 6:18 pm

Night- 7:47 pm to 0:15 am

20 September:

Morning- 3:14 am to 4:43 am

23 September:

Morning- 7:43 am to 12:13 pm
Afternoon- 1:43 pm to 3:13 pm
Evening- 6:13 pm to 10:43 pm

Significance of the Festival:

Known as the God of beginnings, no rituals or ceremonies in Hindu culture is begun without performing his puja first. He is known to ward off the evil eye. Ganesha has 108 different names and is also the Lord of arts and sciences and the deva of wisdom. Also, popularly called Ganpati, Vinayaka, and Vighnaharta.

Hindu devotees worship him prior to all Hindu Gods. His name is repeated before starting any work and is believed to be very fortunate and auspicious. People even keep an idol or image of Ganpati on their door entrance to let positive vibrations enter the house.


During Hindu marriage ceremonies, the first invitation is presented before Lord Ganesha to seek his blessings. He is also associated as the God of power and wisdom. There are various stories that show how cleverly and calmly he used to deal with complicated matters.

Mythological Significance:

Lord Ganesha was the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Paravati. There are many legends associated with Ganpati’s birth. But the most famous story goes like that once Maa Parvati asked his son Ganesh whom she created from the dirt that came out of her body while taking bath and then breathed life into him. She asked him to guard her door while she finishes her bath. When Lord Shiva returned and found this little boy who would not let him go past the gate he was livid. He pursued Ganesha but he was unwilling to budge.

Little Ganesha even called for a combat. Angry Lord Shiva severed the head of Ganesha after a combat between the two. Upon seeing the dead body of little Ganesha, Goddess Parvati broke down and asked Lord Shiva to do something to bring their son back to life again. Lord Shiva ordered other devas to head to the north direction and bring the head of whoever they find first. They found an elephant and as instructed by Lord Shiva, brought its head. Lord Shiva fixed the elephant’s head on the child and brought him back to life.

Lord shiva parwati ganesh

Lord Ganesha is designated as vighnaharta, the one who averts obstacles. Through the span of Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees pray to Lord Ganesha to rid them of all their obstacles in their personal and professional lives.


During the festival, colourful pandals (temporary shrines) are setup across across the nation specially in the state of Maharashtra and the Lord is worshipped for 10 days. Beautiful Ganpati idols are created – some enormous in size for the pandals and some in size as tall as two feet for people’s humble abode. Throughout the 10 days, cities like Mumbai and Pune are in high spirits, right from the first day of the festival to the last day.

There are four main rituals during Ganesh Chaturthi. The first is Pranapratishhtha – the process of infusing the deity into a murti or idol; second is Shhodashopachara – 16 forms of paying tribute to Ganesha; third is Uttarpuja – puja after which the idol could be shifted after it’s infusion; fourth is Ganpati Visarjan – immersion of the idol in a water body. For the all the days, the idol is worshipped with Ganpati puja, devotional songs and Ganesh aarti in the morning and evening.

On the last day of the festival, during Ganesh Visarjan, people gather on the streets and dance on the beats of the drums and bid adieu to their beloved Ganpati with utmost joy and happiness and pray to him to return next year as soon as possible.

ganesh chaturthi

Must Visit Ganesha Temples:

There are several temples in India dedicated to the elephant god that devotees must visit at least once in a lifetime. These temples are known for their architecture as well for the history behind them. Few temples like Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai; Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple, Pune; Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Koil Temple, Tamil Nadu; Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Puducherry and Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple in Chittoor are a must visit.

Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai

Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai

Ganesh Chaturthi ‘Special Foods’:

It is no strange fact that Lord Ganesha was a fond lover of food, especially ‘Modak’. Modak is a special kind of sweet rice flower dumpling made with fillings of jaggery and desiccated coconut.


Sweetmeat shops across Maharashtra are filled with delicious varieties of modaks during this festive time.

Another popular sweet dish is karanji (karjikai in Kannada), similar to modak in composition and taste but in a semi-circular shape. This sweet is popularly known as nevri in Goa, which is an intrinsic part of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Goa.

Maharashtrian delicacies like Puran Poli, Srikhand, Patholi, Varan Bhaat, Sabudana Vada( traditional prasad or bhog) are popularly made during Vinayaka Chaturthi.

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi 2018!  Ganpati Bappa Morya !!



Sabarimala issue: ‘Will you take sanitary napkins to friend’s home,’ asks Smriti Irani




Mumbai, Oct 23: Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday waded into the Sabarimala issue by asking if it was proper for anybody to desecrate a place of worship to justify the right to pray.

“It is plain common sense… Will you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood to a friend’s home? You will not. Do you think it is respectful to do the same when you enter the house of God?” Irani asked, speaking at an event..

Seeking to point out the difference, Irani said: “Everyone has the right to pray, but not to desecrate,” referring to a statement she had made recently after some woman threatened to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala with blood-soaked sanitary napkins.

Irani’s remarks came at a Young Thinkers’ Conference organized by the British Deputy High Commission and think-tank, Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

She made it clear that these were her personal views and as a cabinet minister, she would not comment on the Supreme Court’s recent verdict opening the Sabarimala Temple precincts to women of all ages.

After the Supreme Court ruling, the temple opened its doors on October 17, but shut down on Monday (Oct 22) following widespread protests and not permitting a single woman to enter the premises in the “banned” age group.

Prior to the apex court verdict, women in the menstruating age were only permitted till the base camp near the Pamba river, while men were allowed to continue the five-km long trek to the temple.

Drawing parallels, the Hindu-born Irani referred to her own marriage with a Parsi community man, (Zubin).

“I am a Hindu married to a Parsi, but I have ensured both my children practise Zorastrianism. Both have performed their Navjot ceremony. When I took by infant son to a fire temple (Agiary) in Andheri, I had to hand him to my husband. I was asked to go away from there,” she recounted.

Since then, Irani said as she is not allowed to accompany her husband and kids to any fire temple, she waits for them outside or in the car.

On the prospects of the Bharatiya Janata Party pushing the religious agenda in the 2019 elections, the minister said she “does not support populist rhetoric”.

“However, if there are schemes by implementation of which a majority of the population can benefit, it should not be targeted or sidelined or even demonized in any manner because it helps those who cannot help themselves,” Irani said.

She also discussed the achievements of the BJP government on various issues like the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, implementing difficult measures including the GST and Insolvency Code.


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Women approach Kerala High Court seeking police protection to visit Sabarimala Temple



Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala, Oct 23: Four women including two lawyers on Tuesday approached the Kerala High Court seeking police protection to visit Sabarimala Temple.

They claimed that the Supreme Court had given women permission to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple.

The brief pilgrimage season in Sabarimala failed to make history as women aged between 10-50 age were kept away by protests against their entry despite the top court order of allowing women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyaappa temple.

The doors of the famous temple closed at 10 p.m. on Monday, a day that witnessed five women making an unsuccessful effort to pray at the hill temple.

Since the beginning, Kerala was on the edge, after the temple opened for its customary monthly pujas for the first time after the September 28 the Supreme Court verdict which overturned a centuries-old practice that prohibited women of menstrual age from entering the famous temple.


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SC wants response from Centre, Assam on Hajela not favouring allowing five left-out documents for inclusion in NRC



Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Oct 23: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the Centre and Assam government on the report by the State NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela not favouring permitting 40 lakh-odd left out to rely on five documents including ration card to assert their claim for inclusion in National Register of Citizens.

Seeking response from Centre, Assam and other stakeholders, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman declined, for now, the Centre’s plea for extending time for filing claims for inclusion in NRC as since September 25 when the process started, only one lakh people filed the claims.

The top court on September 19 had ordered the commencement of submission of claims and objections on inclusion of names in Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft from September 25.

The court had ordered that the start of filing of claims and objections backed by 10 identity documents would last for 60 days from the date of commencement.

However, it kept out five identity documents that included extract of NRC of 1951; extract/certified copy of electoral rolls up to midnight of March 24, 1971; refugee registration certificate issued up to March 24, 1971; and ration cards issued by competent authority with official seal and signature up to March 24, 1971 (midnight).

The court had sought the views of Hajela on permitting their use as favoured by the Centre by in its September 17 affidavit and Assam.

Seeking response from the stakeholders on Hajela objecting to allowing the use of five identity documents for claiming inclusion in NRC, the court said, “He may be right or wrong.”

He has told the court that relying on five documents would create problems.

Hajela submitted two reports– one confidential in a sealed cover and the other in which he expressed his misgivings on permitting five identity document to rely upon for claiming inclusion in NRC.


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