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Philadelphia, NY light up for Ganeshotsav

Last updated on: September 14, 2010 17:43 IST

Philadelphia lights up for Ganeshotsav

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For the fifth year running, Philadelphia's Hindu community organised the Ganesh festival with traditional pomp and gaiety, with thousands of Hindus from the area including young school kids, their families and visiting grand parents participating in the festivities that began on September 11.


Image: Devotees carry the Ganesh idols to the temple in Philadelphia
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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Philadelphia lights up for Ganeshotsav

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The festival is known for being the first and largest sarvajanik (public) Ganesh festival in America, noted a release from Philadelphia-based organiser Mukund Kute. Unlike other North American cities where the festival is celebrated for a day or a maximum of nine days, Philly's festival is a full 10-day festival -- just as in India, he pointed out.

Image: The idol being bought to the Philadelphia temple in a traditional manner
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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Philadelphia lights up for Ganeshotsav

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Unlike other places where it is celebrated by a single temple or few associations, Philly's Ganesh festivals is organised by more than 11 Indian-American associations through public contributions. The Bharatiya Temple in Montgomeryville, PA, is home to this famous Ganesh festival that has received wide coverage in the media.

Image: Children play the drums at the Ganeshotsav celebrations in Philadelphia
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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Philadelphia lights up for Ganeshotsav

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This year's Ganesh festival in Philadelphia commenced with a prayer for the peace and prosperity of America & India. As a mark of respect to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, the Ganesh procession was stopped for two minutes to pay respect/homage to them.  The procession then went around the temple in a traditional palkhi, with boys and girls from various Indian language schools dancing to welcome the procession. The religious ceremony was held in the evening, following which was simple vegetarian fare, both of which were open to all.

Image: Children perform a traditional dance at the Ganeshotsav celebrations in Philadelphia
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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Philadelphia lights up for Ganeshotsav

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This year, the festival organisers have arranged for a series of cultural programmes every evening. September 11 saw a Bharata Natyam recital by Nalini Prakash from Washington, DC. Among others lined up for subsequent days are Jersey Rhythms, NJ, Kiranavali Vidyasagar, Pandit Ramesh Narayan from India, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar from India, by Ramdas Padhye, Kathak & Jazz Fusion concert by Aditi Bhagwat, with Grammy winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhat winding up the festivities on September 21.

Image: The idol being installed at the Bharatiya Temple in Philadelphia
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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Ganeshotsav in the Big Apple

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The Hindu Temple Society of North America too celebrated Ganeshotsav at the Ganesh temple in Flushing, New York. A large number of Indian-Americans who reside in the tri-state area turned up for the celebrations which began on Sunday.

Image: Children hold up a banner proclaiming Ganeshotsav outside the Flushing Ganesh temple
Photographs: A Nambiar
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Ganeshotsav in the Big Apple

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Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple society of North America, presided over the proceedings. New York Democrat and Congressman Gary Ackerman attended the function. The temple comes under the 5th Congressional District, which Ackerman represents.

Image: Uma Mysorekar with Congressman Gary Ackerman at the Ganeshotsav celebrations in New York
Photographs: A Nambiar
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