With pomp and gaiety Ganesh festival was recently celebrated in Greater Manchester, Rahul Laud does some ‘pandal’ hopping to collect pictures and report
Leading Indian banks in the UK, State Bank of India UK and the ICICI Bank UK and upcoming restaurant Saffron’s Spice participated actively to support the Ganesh festival in Greater Manchester. Both the banks – ICICI Bank UK and SBI UK offered financial support at the Ganesh festival held at the Gita Bhawan temple and at the North West Marathi Association’s events respectively.
Since the 10th of September – day of the arrival of Ganesha various activities were held at different locations in the Greater Manchester region. Both temples in Manchester Shree Radhe Krishna Mandir and Gita Bhawan hosted the celebrations to invite and celebrate the festival with large attendance. People thronged to temples as it was their first outing – event during the ongoing pandemic.
North West Marathi Association (NORWEMA) one of the oldest community organisations for Marathi speaking people mustered huge support and they had to close admissions to follow health and safety rules of the local Council. Devrat Khumbhojkar, Head NRI Services from SBI UK travelled with his family from London to join the Norwema celebrations. He was joined by Riddhi Seth, who currently heads the Manchester Branch.
‘To engage actively with the NRIs in the UK’’ and celebrate 100 years of the SBI in the UK was the prime objective of these bank managers. NORWEMA Chairwoman Purnima Herlekar enthusiastically explained the Seniro Citizens activity and the Marathi language school started by NORWEMA. In addition to the traditional puja performed by frontline NHS consultant Dr Mukul Acharya, and a cultural programme with local artistes enthralled the audience. West Midlands India Partnership Director, Ghanshyam Nabar was spotted among other dignitaries at the event.
The Marathi, Telugu, Malyali, Tamil and Kannada communities also gathered together on different days and celebrated their annual Ganesh Utsav 2021 at the Gita Bhavan Hindu Mandir in Manchester.
Everyday beginning 10th September the venue at Gita Bhawan temple experienced Ganpati Pooja which was followed by a string of amazing performances by the community members, informed the temple priest Shyam Sundar Sharma. .
With the right mix of devotional songs, bollywood songs, upbeat solo and group dances as well classical dances, the event brought together the full flavour of the culture and diversity of India.
The turnout of around a daily average of 400 people created the required energetic vibe. Manchester dwellers – as well as everyone around the country and the globe – had missed the chance to welcome Ganpati Bappa with a public event in 2020; and so it came as no surprise that there was a sense of unbridled joy amongst those who attended as well as those who performed.
Every evening the energy in the hall was at its zenith – The main cultural event was concluded with the pleasant and devotional vibrations of the evening Aarti. Manchester based restaurant Saffron’s Spice owners Shroffs – Sonal and Kanti hosted Prasad for the entire Marathi community celebration and offered generous raw materials contributions to other communities on other days.
The Tamil community offered Pooja and Abhishek to Lord Ganesh. Abhishekam was performed by little children followed by adults.
This was followed by Chenda Melam by Manchester Melam group, which is a percussion drum like instrument traditionally played in Kerala temples. This vibrant rhythm added to the strong echo of divinity. Melodious Bhajans sung by little children as young as 6 years onward were an attraction. Similar traditional devotional singing was done by the families of the Kannada and Telugu communities.
The daily Prasad offered a diverse variety that is prevalent in Indian cuisine.
The Hindu Religious Society at the Gandhi Hall led by its new Executive Committee President Namrata Bedi also geared up to rise to the occasion and encouraged local talent to celebrate the festival and presented cultural performances at the Gandhi Hall. Shree Radhe Krishna Mandir priest Krishan Joshiji offered daily pujas and kept the sanctity of the festival with traditional aartis.
Members of Shree Bharatiya Mandal, Indian Association Tameside also celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi from Friday the10th of September to 19th September. The festival was celebrated by offering prayers to invoke Ganesha and residents of Ashton Under Lyne adopted River Mersey as their sacred river Ganges. The Rivers Etherow, Goyt and Tame flows through Ashton Under Lyne merging as River Mersey in the centre of Stockport.
It is reported that in the past over 2000 people from Birmingham, Leicester, Derby, Bolton, Bradford, Oldham and other parts of the North to Seacombe ferry in Liverpool for Viserjan (final immersion of the deity) of Ganesh.
This year due to Covid19 restriction the Viserjan was confined at the Ashton Temple with far fewer devotees than normal.