As hundreds throng the markets, one cant help but notice that people from other states who have come and settled in Bangalore are also enthusiastically preparing for this festival. As the month of September begins, festivities begin in Maharashtra. In the evenings, hundreds are seen dancing to the tune of dholkis with red colour smeared on their face. On the day of the visarjan ‘hosts’ proudly accompany their elephant guests singing aloud bhajans, biding him goodbye. Hundreds jump into the sea with their elephant god accompanying him till the end. However, in Bangalore, the celebrations are not exactly the same. City Express spoke to a few Maharashtrians living here who told us how they celebrate the biggest festival away from home.
Work brought Shradha Deshpande to Bangalore a year ago. Originally from Maharashtra, this Marathi lass plans to go back home for the big day. “I miss home so much. This being my first Ganesh Chaturthi away from home, I have decided to celebrate it with my family. The celebrations here are very different from what we have in Maharashtra,” she says.
For another Maharashtrian Nandialkar, Bangalore has become home now. Staying here for the past 20 years, he likes the city for what it is. “I don’t celebrate Chaturthi in Bangalore but go to a small village near Dharwad around this time of the year,” he said. He added that celebrations in North Karnataka are similar to that in Maharashtra. “On Ganesh Chaturthi we bring the idol to our home. Lord Ganesha stays with us for 10 days before we bid him goodbye,” he says. On the big day crackers are burst, houses are decorated and sweets are prepared. “The way the festival is celebrated in Bangalore is quite different, that is why we go to Dharwad to celebrate every year,” he said.
Like every year, the Maharashtra Mandal in Bangalore is making sure that the festival remains an unforgettable event. “For Maharashtrians, Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival. This year immersion is due on September 29 which is the eleventh day. Every day we have organised Puja and Aarti at 7 pm which will be followed by cultural events for about two to three hours,” said Dr Sharad Deshmukh, president of Maharashtra Mandal.
The events include prayers, contests for children and grownups, honouring elders and awards will also be given to the needy. When asked how different is the festival here from Maharashtra he said, “In Maharashtra, large and intricately decorated Ganeshas are seen everywhere and they naturally get bigger crowds. Their cultural events are organised with famous musicians, orchestra and comedy shows. With our limited budget, we prefer to provide an opportunity to local talent.”