Pune: In a land of contrasts, in an emerging superpower where ancient mysticism walks hand in hand with scientific progress, nearly 1.3 billion people are bound together by diversity of their faiths and beliefs. In India, the customs and cultures are woven in a tapestry of traditional cycle of celebrations of lights, colors, music, dance and sheer spirit – the festivals.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a symbol of the spirit of India. Airing on Monday, September 5 at 9 PM, Discovery’s one-hour special Spirit of India – Ganesh Chaturthi showcases the dynamic colors of the spirituality, the grandeur and the amusement, ushering the traditional celebration of Ganesha during the 10-day festival. UK born Indian actor Danny Sura immerses viewers into the cheerful mood of the festival that’s celebrated all over India, but not with the kind of intensity and fervor that it brings to the country’s financial capital – Mumbai.
Most popularly known for his blessings of wealth, fame and fortune, Lord Ganesha or Ganapati – is one the most popular deities in India. The name Ganesha has a meaning where ‘Gun’ means group of people, and ‘pati’ means ruler or lord. Danny Sura travels across the country to explore interesting traditions and trivia related to the festival.
Beginning his journey in Mumbai, Danny visits one of the biggest mandaps, where he meets a group of Catholic women who tell him that their forefathers, Christian fishermen had started the festivities at Lal Baug in 1934. It is estimated that over 1.5 million people visit this mandap every day during the course of the festival. At another mandap, Danny meets a set designer who tells him about the tradition of not painting the Ganesha idol’s eyes until it is taken to someone’s residence or temple, which has gradually changed to covering the eyes and the face of the idol till an auspicious time. Danny also introduces a sculpture artist, Yusuf, who has been making Ganesha idols for years.
Further in Karnataka, Danny visits one of the intricately designed mandaps which is a replica of the Mysore Palace, and meets a few artisans who make the puja celebration a surprise for the visitors.
In Pune, Danny visits Kesariwada Palace, a museum dedicated to the trials and triumph of legendary leader Lokmanya Tilak and finds about his contribution to revive public celebration of Ganesha, an event that is held since the times of Chattraparti Shivaji. Danny also takes part in the final procession of immersing the idols. Travel with Danny and witness the energy, the spirit and the devotion of people who welcome and bid goodbye to their favourite deity in Discovery’s special programme Spirit of India: Ganesh Chaturthi.
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