The Banganga Festival
is a musical extravaganza organized by the Maharashtra
Tourism Development Corporation in January at the
atmospheric Banganga tank at Walkeshwar. Top artistes
from around the country perform live classical music
concerts and cultural enthusiasts attend the festival
and feast the soul as well as the mind.
Elephanta festival (18-19 Feb)
The Elephanta Island
is the site of the magnificent Elephanta caves, containing
beautiful carvings, sculptures, and a temple to the
Hindu God, Lord Shiva. These caves are located at
a distance of 11-km from Mumbai.
In February Elephanta Island comes to fervour as the
site of the Elephanta Festival. Organized by MTDC,
every year, renowned dancers and musicians perform
outside the caves, beneath a star-studded sky, to
a select and appreciative audience. Special launch
services and catering arrangements are provided for
Gudhi Padava (Mar-Apr)
Gudhi Padava is the
Maharashtran New Year's Day celebrated on the first
day of Chaitra(Mar-Apr). This day marks the start
of the Hindu solar year. It is a day of great festivity
and rejoicing. People get up early and clean their
houses, decorating them with intricate rangoli designs.
Bamboo staffs (gudhi) decorated with silk cloths and
topped with a brass goblet or kalash are erected.
These are supposed to drive away evil from the houses.
Nariyal Poornima (Aug)
Nariel Purnima or coconut
day in August marks the end of the monsoons and is
celebrated by Mumbai's fisher folk. Boats are painted,
little oil lamps lit and set afloat amidst the waves
and carried in the boats, and coconut are broken against
their bows as an offering to the Sea God and the seas
are set afloat with garlands of flowers as the new
fishing season begins.
is also celebrated on this day. On this day, sisters
tie rakhi on the wrists of their brothers to protect
them against evil influences. This is also the day
set apart for Brahmins to change their sacred thread
Parsi New Year (Aug-Sep)
in August is the Parsee New Year, significant because
it was on this day that the Shahenshahi Zoroastrian
community landed in India while migrating from Persia.
The Parsees celebrate at the fire temple, and the
community bonds are strengthened through feasts and
the meeting of friends and relatives.
Ganesh Chaturthi (Aug-Sep)
Ganesh Chaturthi is
celebrated in the month of Aug.- Sep., as the birth
anniversary of Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom. The
festival is so popular in Mumbai and the preparations
begin months ahead. Images of Ganesha are installed
and elaborate arrangements are made for lighting and
decoration and celebrations are held for 7-10 days.
The Chaturthi is the last day dedicated to the elephant-headed
god, and thousands of processions converge on the
beaches of Mumbai carrying the idols of Ganesha, to
be immersed in the sea. This immersion is accompanied
by drumbeats, devotional songs and dancing and marks
the end of the festival.
Bandra Feast (Sep)
The feast day of Virgin
Mary is celebrated in Bombay for a week beginning
on a Sunday closest to the birthday of the Virgin
Mary (Sep 8). The feast is held at the Basillica of
Mount Mary in Bandra. A fair is held with huge Ferris
wheels, amusements and rides, bands and shows. The
devout trudges up the stairs of the church to light
Diwali, celebrated on
the 13th day of the month of Ashwin (Oct-Nov), is
a festival of lights symbolising the victory of righteousness
and the lifting of spiritual darkness. Twinkling oil
lamps or diyas light up every home and firework displays
are common all across the country. The goddess Lakshmi
who is the symbol of wealth and prosperity, is also
worshipped on this day. This festive occasion also
marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Crackers
and fireworks illuminate the sky and people pray for
a prosperous coming year.
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