The popular Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi, is celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada which falls in August-September. It is believed that during this occasion Lord Ganesha visits the homes of his devotees and blesses them with prosperity and success in all their activities. It is also believed that by performing the ritual of Ganesh Visarjan, the Lord removes all problems and sorrows of his devotees while he leaves. Lord Ganesha is regarded as the Lord of knowledge and fortune who blesses his disciples with spiritual knowledge and removes all hurdles from their paths towards success.
Rituals Followed During Ganesh Visarjan:
1) Aarti is performed In the morning amidst chanting the prayers of ‘Sukharta Dukharta’ and ‘Jai Ganesh Deva’ and subsequently bhog is distributed among the family members and neighbours.
2) It is followed by Uttarang puja, where the five items of flowers, incense, oil lamps, fragrance and food offering (naivedya) are offered to Lord Ganesh.
3) Before taking the idol for immersion, the Visarjan arti is performed again and the Ganesh idol is moved about an inch.
4) Then prayed to God, requesting him to forgive for any mistakes committed, and seeking his blessings
5) Then all members of the family sprinkle raw rice (akshat) on the deity.
6) Palm of the lord is then rubbed with curd. It is a popular belief in Maharashtra that a guest who gets rice and curd will definitely visit again.
7) Jaggery, coconut pieces and five types of grains of rice placed on a red cloth is offered to the Lord which is believed to be the food for his journey back home.
8) The Ganesh idol is then taken to each and every corner of the house for his blessings, amidst the chanting of the slogan ‘Ganpati Bappa Moriya’.
9) When the idol is taken out of the house, a coconut is circled around the idol’s head thrice and broken in front of the idol. This coconut is supposed to be drowned in the holy water when the idol is immersed.
10) The idol is then carried in a procession to the spot of immersion, accompanied by singing, dancing and full of enthusiasm.
11) At the Visarjan spot, the idol is placed facing the water body and another round of arti is performed.
12) The person doing the ritual of Ganesh Visarjan, should remove the flower garlands and all decorative items from the idol, before immersing it in water. He is also sprinkled with water just before immersing the idol.
13) When the idol is drowned, it will be in a position facing the family members, and it is believed that the Lord takes away with him all the sorrows and problems of his devotees and blesses them with fortune, prosperity and happiness.
The devotees of Lord Ganesh strictly follow the rituals and perform Ganesh Visarjan every year. Because of the water pollution problems due to immersion of Plaster of Paris idols, symbolic immersion is followed nowadays, without disturbing the eco-friendly atmosphere. In this practice, the idol is kept at home safely, which is to be worshipped every year without drowning in water. Water is sprinkled on the idol symbolically instead of literally immersing it in water. Visarjan ritual of idols made of metal and porcelain idols is performed this way.