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Ganesh statue being carried into the water © Santibhavank P / Shutterstock.com
Ganesh statue being carried into the water © Santibhavank P / Shutterstock.com
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24 Stunning Photos From India's Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

Picture of Ewa Zubek
VP Social
Updated: 9 February 2017
Looming statues of Lord Ganesha, vibrant celebrations and a final Holy Immersion ceremony – all of these make the annual Ganesh Chaturthi one of the most spectacular festivals of the Hindu calendar, taking place around August-September. We wrote an article on its traditions right here. In this piece, 24 astonishing photographs reveal the gods’ journey from an artist’s workshop, through the busy cities of India and, finally, into the water.

An artist busies herself with putting the finishing touches on a clay Ganesha statue in Anantapur.

The statues being made in Anantapur © vdhya / Shutterstock.com
The statues being made in Anantapur | © vdhya / Shutterstock.com

Some statues are much bigger than the artist…

Artist working on a large Ganesh sculpture in Amravati, Maharashtra © Dipak Shelare / Shutterstock.com
Artist working on a large Ganesh sculpture in Amravati, Maharashtra | © Dipak Shelare / Shutterstock.com

They take plenty of dye and color before they’re ready.

Artists working on a giant statue of Ganesh in Hyderabad © reddees / Shutterstock.com
Artists working on a giant statue of Ganesh in Hyderabad | © reddees / Shutterstock.com

Yes, plenty.

Artists working on a giant statue of Ganesh in Hyderabad © reddees / Shutterstock.com
Artists working on a giant statue of Ganesh in Hyderabad | © reddees / Shutterstock.com

But artists attend to even the finest details…

Artist working on a giant statue of Ganesh in Hyderabad © reddees / Shutterstock.com
Artist working on a giant statue of Ganesh in Hyderabad | © reddees / Shutterstock.com

In order to create the perfect Lord Ganesha statue – which can be made of clay, or papier-mâché.

Ganesh statues, ready for transportation in Hyderabad © silentwings / Shutterstock.com
Ganesh statues, ready for transportation in Hyderabad | © silentwings / Shutterstock.com

The sculptures are then taken on a procession through India’s streets, riding with the joyous worshippers.

Worshippers transporting the Ganesha statues in Hyderabad © reddees / Shutterstock.com
Worshippers transporting the Ganesha statues in Hyderabad | © reddees / Shutterstock.com

Worshippers pray that, as the God of Success, Ganesha bring them luck in their affairs.

Ganesh statue being transported © reddees / Shutterstock.com
Ganesh statue being transported | © reddees / Shutterstock.com

Dancing and singing accompany the procession towards the water…

The statue of Ganesh being carried through Mumbai © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com
The statue of Ganesh being carried through Mumbai | © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com

With much color and vibrancy provided by the dye so commonly associated with India’s religious festivals.

Worshippers throwing coloured powder and celebrating in Mumbai © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com
Worshippers throwing coloured powder and celebrating in Mumbai | © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is celebrated in August or September every year.

Transporting the Ganesh statues in Hyderabad © reddees / Shutterstock.com
Transporting the Ganesh statues in Hyderabad | © reddees / Shutterstock.com

Its history reaches back to the 17th century, as far as contemporary history can see.

Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) procession © Snehal Jeevan Pailkar / Shutterstock.com
Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) procession | © Snehal Jeevan Pailkar / Shutterstock.com

When the procession reaches the water, the statue will be fully immersed.

Ganesh statue being carried into the water © Santibhavank P / Shutterstock.com
Ganesh statue being carried into the water | © Santibhavank P / Shutterstock.com

This tradition symbolizes the god’s send-off from its home…

Holy Immersion ceremony © ZIGROUP-CREATIONS / Shutterstock.com
Holy Immersion ceremony | © ZIGROUP-CREATIONS / Shutterstock.com

And has various interpretations: some believe it will purify their minds. For others, it’s a dissolution of their obstacles or problems.

Preparing for the Holy Immersion © yukihipo / Shutterstock.com
Preparing for the Holy Immersion | © yukihipo / Shutterstock.com

Needless to say, the bigger the statue, the more difficult the Immersion.

Statue being lifted before immersion © reddees / Shutterstock.com
Statue being lifted before immersion | © reddees / Shutterstock.com

As the statue reaches the water, crowds begin their prayers.

Crowd watching the Immersion ceremony © yukihipo / Shutterstock.com
Crowd watching the Immersion ceremony | © yukihipo / Shutterstock.com

In Mumbai, the statues are carried directly into the sea.

Statue being carried into the water on Chaupati Beach in Mumbai © Pete Burana / Shutterstock.com
Statue being carried into the water on Chaupati Beach in Mumbai | © Pete Burana / Shutterstock.com
Statue being carried into the water on Chaupati Beach in Mumbai © Pete Burana / Shutterstock.com
Statue being carried into the water on Chaupati Beach in Mumbai | © Pete Burana / Shutterstock.com

But in non-coastal cities, they might be thrown into the river – with a crane.

The statue of Ganesh is immersed in the River Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, Gujarat © nisargmedia.com / Shutterstock.com
The statue of Ganesh is immersed in the River Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, Gujarat | © nisargmedia.com / Shutterstock.com

But whatever the method…

Ganesh being immersed © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com
Ganesh being immersed | © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com

The statue will stay in the water and ultimately dissolve.

Ganesh in the open water © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com
Ganesh in the open water | © CRSHELARE / Shutterstock.com

Leaving only the debris of the celebration behind it.

Debris, post-immersion © nisargmedia.com / Shutterstock.com
Debris, post-immersion | © nisargmedia.com / Shutterstock.com

Dates:

2016: 5 September

2017: 25 August