30 September 2012

Ganesh takes a dip

For the past ten days, the city has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. I have written about different aspects of this festival already in previous years. In this post and this post, I describe the preparations leading up to the festival, and this post describes some of the festivities.

Like many Hindu festivals, the Ganesh puja is a noisy affair. Almost all week my nights have been punctuated by the loud frenetic drumming and firecrackers coming from the main road. Add to this my cat who howls in terror from under the bed! The police block off the road to let the night-long processions make their way to Ulsoor lake where the Ganesh idols are immersed.

I decided to go to Ulsoor lake on Sunday morning to have a look at where Ganesh meets his end. The timing was perfect - a small truck soon arrived carrying a large idol and a noisy posse of celebrants. They unloaded Ganesh from the truck and carried him to a small table. After breaking a coconut on the ground and paying their last respects, they carried the idol to a waiting platform.

The municipality (BBMP) has put everything in place to make sure things go as smoothly as possible and to try to limit pollution. The idols are not dumped into the lake itself but into a tank, an enclosure filled with water. A powerful crane lifts the platform and swings it over the tank so that the idols can be immersed. BBMP workers in yellow t-shirts are on hand to assist with this. A policeman supervises the scene and controls the crowds.

Lift off for Ganesh!

The idol is lowered over the tank.

The BBMP workers gently release the idol into the water.

In he goes. The celebrants are yelling Jai Ganesha the whole time.

The celebrants go home and won't be back until next year. The BBMP's work is not finished though. My next post will be on the aftermath of the festival on the lake surroundings.


Shubha said...

When we were growing up,it was a small affair.And although people kept huge idols and all that,the immersion happened within a week.Now the celebration goes into Dusshera too.
I wish the jobless kids in the block who organise all this with such enthusiasm showed the same sincerity in their work..We would be a better city.

Eva said...

Looks like a highly political venture too. Isn't this Shiv Sena celebrating Ganesh and their warrior king Shivaji?
Thanks again for wonderful and informative photos!

Isabel said...

Hi Shubha, I was told the same thing - that this festival used to be low key but keeps getting bigger.

Thanks for your comment. That looks like Shirdi Sai Baba to me, and this being Bangalore, I don't think there's a big chance of them being from Shiv Sena.