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Vadodara, the princely state of the Gaekwads, has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, the 10-day festival dedicated to Lord Ganesha, with great pomp and show since the region was under the rule of the Gaekwad family. Vadodara is a vibrant & colourful place to come down, to celebrate this joyous festival in all its glory.
Shri Dhundiraj Ganpati Temple is Gujarat’s one of the oldest Lord Ganesh temples and the only one made completely out of wood. This is the 161+ years old Dhundiraj Ganpati Mandir is located at city’s Wadi Rangmahal area. This temple is unique as the marble idol of Lord Ganesha is placed with idols of his wives Riddhi and Siddhi and their children Labh and Laksh. The ‘moushaq’ which is generally at the feet of Lord Ganesh is placed in this temple on marble pedestal outside the temple.
Ganesh Chaturthi in Vadodara is a funfilled activity as there are unique pandals built and Ganesh shows of 15 minutes each at different locations and the aarti takes place at all locations in mornings and evenings. Just like Mumbai’s Lalbaug Cha Raja is a famous Ganpati idol revered above all year after year, it’s counterpart in Vadodara is called ‘Mannat Na Ganpati’ located at Dighe No Vado, Dandiya Bazaar. People come to worship & devotees gift ornaments to the idol once their wishes get fulfilled.
Though it’s hard to imagine devotees not immersing Lord Ganesha after 10 days of Ganesh Chaturthi and giving this ritual a go-by is also considered inauspicious, the Ganesha idols installed by the royal Gaekwads were not immersed for 11 straight years in the 18th century. This unprecedented decision was taken by Sayajirao Gaekwad I, who ruled Baroda state between 1771 and 1789. The incident is documented in a Marathi book Shatakachi Vaatchal (Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav), which is in the possession of Chavhan family who made Ganesh idols for the royal family.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi witnesses unique Ganesh idols, some depicting him as a child with his parents, or with the setup of his story of birth or circling his parents or with his brother. Some sets show him killing a monster or riding the celestial horses or depicting him as a superhero. There are also some which show him in a modern avatar like taking a selfie or with the PM or addressing any current issues. While many idols are made of Pop, a great number of population is now turning to Eco-friendly idols with increasing awareness and means.