The eleventh day of Ganesh Chaturthi By happysnapper999
The Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, which is a celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesha (or Ganpati), will be held on August 29th, 2014 and will continue to be celebrated for 11 days. This important Indian festival is very colorful, and quite a sight to see. Check out these great photos of Ganesh Chaturthi and Lord Ganesha by India Miker snonymous for a peek at what you can expect. 

Celebrating Lord Ganesha, this festival is a family affair according to Prashir who describes Ganesh Chaturthi in colorful detail. Families purchase small statues of Lord Ganesha that they bring into their houses and decorate. Family, friends, and neighbors then come together to sing bhajans and make offerings to the statue and to Lord Ganesha. The Ganesha idol is then submerged in a tub or bucket of water. The larger statues are taken to the sea, where they are then immersed. For the larger statues, processions can be seen all over the streets, with everyone walking to the beach or lake to immerse their idols. India Miker Adam00121 gives some really good suggestions on how you can celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi

History

Ganesh Chaturthi has historically been a family celebration. This was converted to a more public affair by Bal Gangadhar Tilak during the 1890's. He thought of converting this popular private festival into a big public festival (Sarvajanik Ganeshostav) where people from all walks of life could participate.He also used this as a medium to send a message to the British. The first Sarvajanik Ganeshostav in Mumbai was held in Keshavji Naik Chawl, Girgaum, Mumbai in 1893.

When is Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi 2014 starts on 29 August and continues for 11 days.  According to Vishal 2001 the best time to experience this festival of Lord Ganesha is in the first few days. Weekdays tend to be better than weekends, as they are likely to be a little less crowded. Per India Miker aarosh, the best part of the festival is the immersion, which is called Ganesh Visarjan.

Where To See Ganesh Chaturthi

You can experience the festival on any of the eleven days of the festival. As noted above, the best part is when the devotees take the idol for immersion, which is usually done on different days, namely the 2nd, 5th, 7th and 11th days. The final day of the Ganesh Chathurthi festival is known as Anant Chatudarshi, and is usually the most popular and crowded day to watch the immersion. 

Maharashtra is the best state to see the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. In Mumbai, one of the biggest idols can be seen at Lalbaug in central Mumbai. If you want to go to Lalbaug for Ganesh Chaturthi IMers suggest either head to Chinchpokli station or take a BEST bus from the Victoria Terminus area. 

To witness the immersions in Mumbai, snonymous recommends heading to Girgaum (or Chowpatty) beach which is where the largest idols are immersed, after making their way through central Mumbai. Chowpatty is also another good place to see the immersion, if you are staying in Colaba or South Mumbai.  Other places to see Ganesh Visarjan include Juhu Beach in the north. Ceremonies are also held at Shivaji Park near the large Siddhi Vinayak Temple. Another option is to just find a good spot on Marine Drive and watch the different processions go past. 

If you are in Nashik for Ganpati, some India Mikers suggest heading to the Main Road where you will see a Ganesh idol made of silver. 

If you are in Bangalore for Ganesh Chaturthi, head down to Adavara Lake, Hulimavu Lake or the Ganesh Pandal of Nammura Hotel. N kumar also suggest Ulsoor Lake, however Jabayi has indicated that this site may no longer be allowed to host Ganpati immersions. 

IMers have also experienced Ganesh Chaturthi in Chennai. Whilst it is a smaller celebration than in Maharashtra, reports are that it is still quite a sight on the beach front there.

The Festival of Ganpati is not without controversy though.  There are both political and ecological consequences to this festival, which snonymous has explained in the IM forums.