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.
Some statues are much bigger than the artist…
They take plenty of dye and color before they’re ready.
But artists attend to even the finest details…
In order to create the perfect Lord Ganesha statue – which can be made of clay, or papier-mâché.
The sculptures are then taken on a procession through India’s streets, riding with the joyous worshippers.
Worshippers pray that, as the God of Success, Ganesha bring them luck in their affairs.
Dancing and singing accompany the procession towards the water…
With much color and vibrancy provided by the dye so commonly associated with India’s religious festivals.
Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is celebrated in August or September every year.
Its history reaches back to the 17th century, as far as contemporary history can see.
When the procession reaches the water, the statue will be fully immersed.
This tradition symbolizes the god’s send-off from its home…
And has various interpretations: some believe it will purify their minds. For others, it’s a dissolution of their obstacles or problems.
Needless to say, the bigger the statue, the more difficult the Immersion.
As the statue reaches the water, crowds begin their prayers.
In Mumbai, the statues are carried directly into the sea.
But in non-coastal cities, they might be thrown into the river – with a crane.
But whatever the method…
The statue will stay in the water and ultimately dissolve.
Leaving only the debris of the celebration behind it.
2016: 5 September
2017: 25 August