Ganesh Chaturthi

Sunday, 2 October 2016

My recent visit to Ratnagiri, following the sad story of King Thibaw’s long spell in exile, concluded with the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the 10-day birthday party for the elephant-headed Hindu God of Wisdom.

IMG_0639 - Ganesh Chaturthi - 540▲ As a finale images of the God are carried down to the beach, smaller ones carried on a platform, larger ones like this, on the back of a truck.

IMG_0636 - Ganesh Chaturthi - 540▲ Or like this one.

IMG_0650 - Ganesh Chaturthi - 540▲ And after some dancing, chanting, firecrackers and general merriment are carried into the sea …

IMG_0657 - Ganesh Chaturthi - 540▲ and ‘drowned.’ What happens to them, do they dissolve or just sink? Answer, they’re made of plaster of Paris and they simply dissolve. There’s been some discussion of late about making the Ganesh images eco-sensitive. Bombay (Mumbai), my next stop after Ratnagiri, is the centre for Ganesh enthusiasm and carrying images down to the sea is a major spectacle, never mind I was quite happy with the Ratnagiri version. There was also discussion in the Bombay newspapers about how many people had drowned carrying the images into the sea, more than usual in 2016.