Lord Ganesha is known to remove all obstacles from one's path and also for fulfilling boons. All throughout India in every Hindu household you will see that it is Lord Ganesha who is first worshipped prior to every important occasion. Ganesh Chaturthi is a celebration where all the devotees call out to the lord singing praises and thanking him for having protected them.
In South India the festival is celebrated with much aplomb where you can see all the houses decked up with flowers. Every household will have the aroma of sweet Modaka, prepared for the lord and the temples are crowded with devotees who throng here to take his blessings.
This weekend let us take a trip to few of the temples of Lord Ganesha in South India and enjoy the festivities held there. We start our trip from the city of Kasargode and head to Mangalore. From Mangalore we drive down to witness the celebrations at Anegudde, followed by Hattiangadi and Idagunji. Our final stop is at Gokarna where we wish adieu to the lord, thanking him for his blessings and pray that he protects us for the years to come.
Kasargode is the northernmost district of Kerala and is a historical and archaeological town. The beauty of this place is bound to leave you speechless. It derives its name from two Sanskrit words namely 'Kasaara' meaning lake and 'Kroda' meaning secured place for treasure. The region is characterised by coconuts trees and streams which flow through the hills into the sea. It is a perfect place to head to during the weekend and enjoy the beauty of the place.
Photo Courtesy: Riju K
The Madhur Temple was originally called Madhanentheswara Temple and was dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the priest's son got a vision of Lord Ganesha and he drew the image of the lord on the wall. Thereafter the temple was renamed as Madhur Mahaganapathy Temple. Today the idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva stand here. Ganesh Chaturthi is a major festival celebrated here, with devotees coming here to take the blessing of the lord. They carry with them 'Appa', a sweet favoured by Lord Ganesha.
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Mangalore, the gateway to Karnataka is a picturesque city, which lies between the clear blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the towering mountains of the Western Ghats. It is a perfect place to escape to during the weekends as it is filled with many activities you can participate in. Tourists can either head to the beach and relax under the sun or go trekking through the mountains. The city is also a leading port and is known for its export of coffee and cashew.
Photo Courtesy: Hari Prasad Nadig
At the heart of the city stands the majestic Sharavu Mahaganapathy Temple, which is crowded by devotees throughout the day. The temple is believed to be nearly 800 years old and along with Lord Ganesh you can see the idols of Sri Sharabheswara and Sro Nagabrahma here. The festival is celebrated with grandeur and everybody is served lunch on this day at the temple.
Photo Courtesy: Karunakar Rayker
Anegudde or Kumbashi as it was earlier known is a historical town surrounded by lores. Famous among them is the story of Sage Agasthya who visited here to perform a yagna to remove the drought that had afflicted the region. It is said that during the puja a demon called Kumbhasura disrupted it and was put to rest by Bheema with the blessing of Lord Ganesha. This otherwise serene town is not exactly a explorer's paradise, but it is worth a visit for those who love to mythological stories.
Photo Courtesy: Raghavendra Nayak Muddur
The Anegudde Vinayaka Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha who is also called 'Siddhi Vinayaka' and 'Sarva Siddhi Pradaayaka'. This entire region is believed to have been created by Lord Parashurama and hence is considered very scared. The idol of the Lord Ganesha is completely covered in silver coating. Devotees come here to worship the Lord and also marvel at the holy region. During the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi you will see this small town teeming with devotees who come to pay their respects to the lord. There is a major celebration held here and all are welcome to be a part of it and enjoy the festivities.
Photo Courtesy: Manil Gupta
Hattiyangadi was once the capital of the Alupa Kings and is now a small village in Udupi. The region still holds the splendour of the olden days and attracts tourists towards it. The lush green mountains and the Varahi river makes this town a picturesque place. It is a perfect place to head to during the weekend for those who wish to get away from the city and relax. You can set out to explore this village and be surprised by what you get to find here.
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The Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Temple here is said to date back to the 8th century and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It is a famous pilgrimage spot for the Hindus who come from far and wide to pay respect to the lord. The unique feature about this temple is that the idol of the lord has been carved out of a single Saligrama stone and measures a height of 2.5 ft. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with much pomp here. During the festival, the idol of the lord is taken around the village. Devotees come from far and wide to be a part of this celebration.
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The small town of Idagunji is not very popular among tourists as it has few attractions that would attract any. If you are looking for a place to relax and rejuvenate then this is the ideal spot. You can head out and go shopping in the village and pick up a few trinkets and other items here.
Photo Courtesy: Prasanth M J
The Idugunji Ganapathy temple is a popular temple here. It was built more than 1,500 years back and many devotees come here to worship the lord. The town sees a major crowd only during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival when free lunch is offered to the devotees at the temple. There is a belief that Lord Ganesh had once rested in the village.
A perfect weekend getaway in Karnataka is Gokarna thanks to its beautiful beaches. The town is located at the confluence of two rivers namely; Aganashini and Gangavali. This picturesque town attracts tourists from far and wide who come here to relax and explore the place. It also has many activities you can indulge in here.
Photo Courtesy: Andreas Lehner
The Maha Ganapati Temple is a religious site in Gokarna and was constructedto commemorate Lord Ganesha's success in deceiving Ravana, the king of demons. The temple is well known among travellers for its 1.3 mt tall stone idol of Lord Ganesha. During the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, you can see pilgrims coming here with sweets to worship the lord. There is a major celebration held around the temple and also puja is offered to the lord all throughout the day.
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