Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa ~ by Veena Parrikar

This year we celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa. Tourists come to Goa in hordes to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Day, but fortunately, Ganesh Chaturthi here has remained a quiet, joyous festival that graces the home and the temple rather than strut the streets. Having grown up on the very public, loud, and grandiose observances in Mumbai, the Goan experience came to me with all the freshness and fragrance of a monsoon breeze. Here there are no gigantic idols worth crores of rupees, no loudspeakers blaring crude film songs, no vargaNi (monetary donations) demands at your door by Ganeshotsav associations, and none of the other attendant evils of commercialized celebrations. While there are saarvajanik (public) Ganesh utsav celebrations in Goa, the scale and noise is nowhere near that of Mumbai. The spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi - a celebration of the birth of Ganesh through private worship, cooking and eating delicious saatvik meals, visiting your friends’ and neighbours’ and sharing festival snacks, participating in the aarti, community events such as cooking contests, rangoli and maaToLi competitions - is still alive in Goa.

Here are some vignettes from our Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa.


Shri Shrikrishna Dhumal, a murthikaar in the village of DhargaL, Goa.
These artists shape the murthi by hand and do not use molds or templates. Only eco-friendly materials, from the clay to the natural dyes, are used.


Shri Umanath Naik, another murthikaar in Nagueshi village, putting the final touches on his creations.


The day before Ganesh Chaturthi is marked by paying homage to Ganesh’s parents, Shankar and Parvati.


As part of the naivedya for the Shankar-Parvati puja, a special dish is made with five different seasonal greens. These bunches are prepared and sold in the markets by village women. It includes pumpkin leaves, drumstick leaves, red and green amaranth, and chavLi greens. The greens are cooked without salt and offered to Parvati to take care of her pregnancy cravings.


Our Ganesh, resplendent in his birthday finery.


Modak for the birthday boy. Less than perfect in looks, but full of shraddha (and taste).


MaaToLi is a Goan tradition where, fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, etc. are hung on a wooden frame over the murthi, symbolizing Ganesh’s status as a provider. This is crafted with a great deal of care and passion in the villages, and the all-Goa maaToLi competition has many enthusiastic participants. This picture was taken in the remote village of Bambar in a peasant’s cottage. He had 175 unique items in his assemblage, all of them either grown in the farms or foraged from the wild. We later read in the papers that he won the third prize.


On the day of visarjan (immersion) - a quiet moment after the aarti.


Our Ganesh at the Panjim jetty, just before immersion. This is the hardest part of the festival.


The next morning we headed out to Nirankarachi Rai (nirankar = without form, rai = grove). This is a sacred grove in a forest in the village of Bambar. The Ganapati murthi are dipped in the stream and then left in the forest to naturally mingle with the earth. A more fitting farewell for Ganapati Bappa, I simply cannot imagine!

Photo Credits: Rajan Parrikar

Posted by Veena Parrikar©Copyrighted in Bhakthi~Bhukthi, Traditions, Veena Parrikar (Sunday September 23, 2007 at 2:44 pm- permalink)
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