Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, It is the Hindu festival that reveres god Ganesha. A ten-day festival, it starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, which typically falls in Gregorian months of August or September. The festival is marked with installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stage). Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as Ganapati Upanishad, prayers and vrata (fasting). Offerings and prasada from the daily prayers, that is distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka believed to be a favorite of the elephant-headed deity. The festival ends on the tenth day after start, wherein the idol is carried in a public procession with music and group chanting, then immersed in nearby water body such as a river or ocean, thereafter the clay idol dissolves and Ganesha is believed to return to Mount Kailash to Parvati and Shiva.

The festival celebrates Lord Ganesha as the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles and is observed throughout India, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Goa,Telangana, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, and is usually celebrated privately at home in states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Ganesh Chaturthi is also observed in Nepal and by the Hindu diaspora elsewhere such as in the Trinidad, Suriname, Fiji, Mauritius, United States and in Europe.

At public venues, along with the reading of texts and group feasting, athletic and martial arts competitions are also held.

Significance: It’s the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God.

Key attractions: The beautifully crafted life size idols of Ganesha, and the immersion ceremony

When: The 4th day of the first fortnight (Shukla Chaturthi) in the month of Bhadrapada of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August or September of the Gregorian calendar

Where: Celebrated in the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh with fervor and gaiety

2017 dates: 5th September