Colaba Ganapati @ Millburn NJ

Friday Ratri Puja and Visarjan Puja
Bhatmaam has arrived and drinking hot Kaapi!

Friday Danapaar Puja
Live streaming of Friday afternoon puja


pics of Colaba Ganapati @ Millburn by Arun Shanbhag

Thursday Ratri Puja


Thursday morning Ganesh Chaturthi Puja
Here is the live stream of the Colaba Ganapati puja from Millburn, NJ.
Ganapati Bapa Morya!

Other Ganapati Posts:

Aśṭa Vināyak – Pilgrimage to Eight Gaṇeśa Temples – A Photo Essay

Pics from AstaVinayak Tirth Yatra Maharashtra by Arun Shanbhag In the Indian state of Maharashtra, a tīrth yātra (pilgrimage) to visit eight ancient temples to Gaṇeśa (Aśṭa Vināyak) is mentioned in the puranas and considered very sacred. These eight temples, each with exquisitely beautiful Gaṇeśa murtīs, are in tiny villages, scattered around the mountainous terrain between Mumbai and Pune. After much procrastination, last February we were called on this short, beautiful and spiritually uplifting tīrth yātrā. Continue reading “Aśṭa Vināyak – Pilgrimage to Eight Gaṇeśa Temples – A Photo Essay”

Ganapati Visarjan: Wadala & Lalbaug cha Raja

GSB Muth Wadala Ganapati 2011 Amol Kamat
During the 11 days of Ganapati, the murthy is brought into our homes and the divine spirit invited to reside and bless us all. During these days, we treat Ganapati as a valued guest and shower him with the best of flowers, fruits and delicious foods. Friends and relatives visit in awe at the divine presence. At festivals end, we bid farewell and the material form is immersed into a water body so as not to soil it. Bidding farewell to our divine visitor is called visarjan. In villages, Ganapati is dunked in the home or community well, or nearby lake or river. In Mumbai, the murthys are carried with pomp and celebration, with much dancing to one of many beaches and immersed in the waters.
Continue reading “Ganapati Visarjan: Wadala & Lalbaug cha Raja”

Ganapati at the GSB Muth, Wadala

Ganapati at GSB Wadala by Arun Shanbhag

The GSB Wadala Muth Ganapati holds some of my fondest memories of sarvajanik (public) Ganapati. At 8 ft, it is not the largest of the Ganapatis, but certainly one of the most artistically excuted and ‘constant.’ Even though the artisans craft a new murthy from clay each year, this murthy has not changed one bit over the last three decades. The size is limited by the doorway to the hall where this Ganapati sits. The GSB Seva Mandal Ganapati contrarily, is built on and sits on a trolley which is covered under a huge outdoor tent. On visarjan day, the stage is dismantled and the trolley with the Ganapati is pulled out. The Wadala Ganapati is wheeled/carried out of the hall, placed on a trailer and taken to Shivaji Park for immersion.
Continue reading “Ganapati at the GSB Muth, Wadala”

Ganapati at GSB Seva Mandal

pictures of GSB Seva Mandal Ganapati 2011 2012 by Arun Shanbhag

The GSB Seva Mandal is one of the largest Sarvajanik (public) Ganapati celebrations in Mumbai. The murthy is 14 ft tall and all pujas ( devotional services) are performed in Sanskrit following traditions prescribed in ancient scriptures. See pics from our 2009 visit here.
Continue reading “Ganapati at GSB Seva Mandal”

Video: Best of Mumbai Ganapati Street Dancing


Ganapati is a fabulous time for our extended family. At the end of five days of festivities, Ganapati Bappa is taken in a procession to Chowpatty for consigning to the waters. Behind the truck bearing the Ganapati, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, meera, friends and family, all walk or dance along. Enjoy the unique ishtyle of Mumbai street dancing!

See blog post on Meera’s Tolay-Bhaar, where Meera gets weighed in bananas, at the GSB Seva Mandal.


See my different Ganapati posts


Ganapati and Gauri Puja

Aarti of Ganapati Mumbai Arun Shanbhag

Na tatra suryo bhaati na chandra tarakam
nema vidhyuto bhanti kutoyamagnihi |
tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam
tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati ||

Sun cannot illumine him, nor the moon, nor the stars
Lightning cannot, much less this little flame I wave |
Verily, when he shines everything is illuminated
By his light alone all of us shine ||

~ Kathopanishad II v 15


Continue reading “Ganapati and Gauri Puja”

Ganesh Chaturthi – The Day Before

Picture photograph of Ganapati murthy, Ganesh utsav murthy during Ganesh Chaturthi by Arun Shanbhag
After a few days respite in Goa and Kumta, we returned home for the Ganesh Chaturthi Utsav (festival). Over the next few days, our extended family home transformed into a festive temple. Resident cooks arrived and made traditional Konkani snacks (chivda, mando, shankar paLLan, masala shaenga, chuklee, etc). Siblings and cousins descended on our home. Professional flower stringers decorated our main hall in elaborate arrangements of plump marigolds. Humongous pots and pans, giant oil lamps and other puja accompaniments were retrieved from storage and polished to a high gleam. Continue reading “Ganesh Chaturthi – The Day Before”

Ganesh Chaturthi

Painting of Dancing Ganesh Chaturthi by Arun Shanbhag

On Ganesh Chaturthi
Wishing you all
A Blessed Ganesha’s Grace!

M&A

Notes are excerpted from my book, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms;
© Arun Shanbhag 2007

Ganesha Stotram – Hymn to Ganesha
The visage of Gaṇeśa (or Gaṇapati) is easily recognizable as the elephant-headed God of Knowledge and Wisdom. Gaṇeśa is very popular in all parts of India, and amongst all sects: Vaiśnavās, Śaivās, Śaktās, Buddhists and Jainās. He is considered the controller of, and thus remover of, all obstacles (Vighnéśwar), thus he is remembered at the beginning of all religious services. The likeness of Gaṇeśa in the form of artwork, sculptures or murtī adorn many homes and offices. Tiny Gaṇeśa figurines also grace dashboard of cars, and Gaṇeśa icons in a variety of poses is a popular gift for family and friends (from Prarthana).
Continue reading “Ganesh Chaturthi”

Saraswati, Lakshmi & Ganapati

print of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganapati posted by Arun Shanbhag

Growing up, such a print of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganapati adorned every home or shop, either as a calendar or a picture frame. I bought this poster from a sidewalk stall in the Fort area in Mumbai. Love the bright colors. Beautifully done.


Ganapati Bappa

ganapati ganesh chaturthi Arun Shanbhag


Ganapati from our home, 2002.

On this occasion of Ganapati
Wishing Everyone
Days full of Peace and Good Cheer!

M&A


Recent Ganapati Greetings


Back Home in Boston

Exhausted, drained and my circadian rhythm is shot. Two conferences in the next three weeks and 700 e-mails to attend to. Why does everyone think I read my emails while on vacation?

Since I live to eat (suffer ye thinkers!), my self imposed exile to the culinary Siberia has resumed. Yesterdays cafeteria choices included Corn Chowder (85 Cal), Chicken in red cream sauce (995 Cal – really!) and 65 other equally unsavory options. While I really wanted the Rawas Hyderabadi or the Shrimp Kadipatha, I would have settled for the bourgeois Kamats Thali.

I already miss Aiee asking every night what I want for breakfast the next morning (M, please take note). And restaurant waiters understand “strong filter coffee.” I met fascinating people all day, every day. I am going to miss them the most. I don’t miss living out of a suitcase(s) for 4 weeks and my shirt soaked 2 minutes after I wear it.

I have 900 pics to go through, 45 books I brought back, a huge stack of CDs, a suitcase full of Ganapati foods (puran-poli, chewda, shankar-palli, saath, mysore-paak, banana and almond halwa, kaju barfi from Chandu Halwai, …) lots of knick-knacks and a boat load of memories.

It took me 45 minutes to get ready after the shower. Confusion reigned: what trousers do I normally wear to work? Which shirt? Socks? Where are they? Damn! They need to match the shoes. Where are my keys? What time is my bus? … Am I forgetting something? Bostonians, if you spy a zombie, its just me!

All signs of a great holiday!

And I am equally glad to be back HOME! My bed, my pillow and my blanket (yes, its getting chilly here!).

Home Shrine: Where I bow my head

photo of Home Shrine: Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath; Udupi Krishna by Arun Shanbhag

Every morning I pay my respects to the universal divine at a small altar in our home. It started with the brass Om from my student days. I purchased the Om along with a booklet of Swami Vivekananda’s lectures, at a road-side stall in Kanya Kumari. Reading Vivekananda’s 1893 lecture to the World Congress of Religions in Chicago, was a pivotal moment in my life. It sparked self-realization and kindled a life long journey of self discovery. This Om graces the top of my home shrine.

As I left home to start my studies, my mother gave me the framed photograph of our kuladevata, Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath, our family deity in Goa. A tulsi bead rosary is wrapped around the frame. On either side of the frame are antique figurines holding lamps. To the right is a silver 'throne' with two Ganapati murthis and a Lakshmi. To the left is a baby Krishna crawling on both his knees and one hand; the right hand is raised.

On the lower shelf is a sandal wood murthy of Udupi Shri Krishna in a wooden mandap. Three silver medallions with beautifully engraved facsimiles of Venkatesha, Satya Narayana and Sudarshan – memories of the spirituality at the Balaji Temple in Pittsburgh. The round silver ball to the left has a delicately carved peacock on top, and twists open to store vermilion. Silver dabbas on each end contain vibhuti. Hanging off the frame is a Swiss cowbell, with a ring reminiscent of temples bells.

The wood stand is from the Bombay store. The rabbit-motif backdrop was left over from the previous owners.

Below the stand is a cedar chest on which I light a small oil lamp every morning. Then I say a small prayer, thanking him 'the knower of all' for all the good that I have been blessed with, recollect the challenges of the day, and ask for her guidance. I pray for wisdom for all in our extended family, so we can carry out our destiny with our heads held high. And then I lower my head to the floor in namaskar.

Dadar Flower Market – A Photo Essay

Flowers sellers in Dadar Mumbai during Ganapati by Arun Shanbhag
In our home in Colaba, the five day Ganapati utsav (festival) is the biggest family event of the year. Our entire joint family comes together making it very festive. For our daily flower decorations, one of us goes to the Dadar Flower Market every morning to buy flowers. After bringing them home, the women gather together and weave them into spectacular garlands and various other decorations. September 2002 was the last time I was home for Ganapati and one morning, I volunteered to go with my sister-in-law to the flower market. We took the train from Churchgate to Dadar and the flowers sellers are camped right outside the station under the bridge and packed into the nearby alleys. I mean, jam- packed – you move sideways leading with your shoulder, smile and squeeze your way forward.

Please read this newer post on the Flower Sellers at Dadar, from a recent visit

There are flowers everywhere. Marigolds heaped on tarpaulins on the ground and sold by weight, champae in tiny baskets and sold by the number and delicately wrapped in broad leaves, the dazzling array of long streamers, as well as the colour co-ordinated gajras of mesmerizing blooms, the cacophony of the sellers and buyers screaming and jostling all contributed to a spectacular audio visual symphony. It was an exquisitely delightful experience, one that I am sure to revisit in the near future.

More than the colorful flowers, the smiles on the flower sellers stayed in my mind. From the woman sitting cross-legged on the ground weaving busily, to the young men weighing the flowers, the older gentleman convincing you to buy the garlands, to the young lady with matted hair selling fragrant lotuses – they all had beaming smiles on their faces.
Continue reading “Dadar Flower Market – A Photo Essay”

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