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Ganesha Chaturthi Pooja Vidhanam

Vinayaka / Ganesha Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesha, is celebrated on Bhadrapada Suddha Chaviti day i.e the 4th day after Amavasya (moonless night) in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. The festival is celebrated in each and every household with much devotion and involvement. In villages, small children in the families become active few days before Ganesha Chaturthi. They collect the clayey soil from the fields, sit in groups and make eco-friendly clay Ganesha idols with competitive spirits. A day before Ganesha Chaturthi day, these children go out, literally get into the bushes without bothering the scratches they have on their bodies to collect 21 varieties of leaves i.e patri for pooja. That's a real fun in the childhood days and such a culture in the villages is gradually fading away due to the impact of modern life-style in the rural areas.

Preparations for Vinayaka Chaturthi Pooja

The festival preparation and arrangements start a day before. The local temporary vendors sell the pooja items like patri (leaves), flowers etc at exorbitantly high prices. Perform the pooja with devotion / dedication is more important than doing it in a grand way that lacks devotion.

List of items required and preparations for pooja

  1. Clay / eco-friendly idol of Ganesha to save the environment from getting further pollution.

  2. Pooja materials that include:
    • loose flowers
    • flower garland/s
    • 21 types of patri (leaves) or the available leaves
    • fruits including coconut, bananas etc
    • betel leaves (tamala paakulu) and betel nuts / sachets
    • 'chatram' (small decorative umbrella), corn cobs, small plantain plants for decoration purpose and other such decorative items which are accessories and pooja can be performed even without these. 
    • Other pooja items include akshantalu (rice grains mixed with turmeric powder), sandalwood powder (gandham), turmeric powder (pasupu) and vermilion (kumkuma).
    • camphor (karpooram), incense sticks (agarbatti), panchaamrutham made of equal measures of cow's milk, cow's ghee, curd made of cow's ghee, honey and sugar. Note if cow's milk and cow's ghee are not available you can use the available milk and ghee. There is no hard and fast rule but performing pooja with concentration, dedication and devotion is more important.
    • small piece of cotton made into thread for yagyopavitam and small piece of jaggery for naivedyam.
    • Pooja oil, wicks, panchapatra and udharini for achamanam, harati / arti plate (not the decorative one).
    • 2 blouse pieces or kanduva or a piece of cotton.
    • Naivedyam which include jaggery piece, 21 kudumulu / undrallu or modak and other items as per convenience (yadha sakthi).
  3. Get up early in the morning on the festival day to start your preparations for the pooja.

  4. Arrange the mandapam with turmeric paste (pasupu) and kumkuma i.e smearing turmeric powder and decorating with nice muggu (rangoli) and flowers. If there is time constraint, you can do only the decoration part on the previous night itself.

  5. Smear little turmeric paste on the clay idol, apply chandana and kumkum tilakam at the centre of the forehead of the clay idol, in between the eyebrows. If the idol is a colored one, then you can simply apply chandan and kumkum tilak on the forehead. However, for the welfare of the society and to save environment, eco-friendly clay Ganesha idols are highly recommended.

  6. After completing mandapam / idol decoration, place the idol at the centre of the mandapam. According to certain customs, the Ganesha idol has to be placed on a plateful of rice grains. Do as per your family custom.

  7. Decorate Lord Ganesha with various flowers. You can even keep chhatram / small decorative umbrella behind the idol if you wish.
  8. On top of the mandapam, as per your family custom, you can place a paalavelli / cover made of bamboo and hang fruits mainly corn cobs on one corner.
  9. If you don't have a helping hand at home, keep all the prepared food items including undrallu / kudumulu / modakaalu ready for naivedyam before you start performing pooja as you are not supposed to get up while till mangalahaarati (aarti).

  10. After keeping all the required pooja items handy, start the pooja. The important part of the pooja is Ekavinsati patri pooja or worshiping elephant god with 21 varieties of leaves which have high medicinal value. It is a belief that Ganesha is fond of twigs of different trees. Hence these are offered to Him.

  11. In most regions it is customary to prepare Undrallu or Kudumulu on Vinayaka or Ganesh Chaturthi Day. It is believed that Lord Ganesh is very fond of Undrallu / modak and hence these are offered to Lord Ganesha compulsorily on this day as Naivedyam / Prasaad in addition to other eatables.

Names of 21 varieties of leaves / patri (ekavinsati patri)

Ekavinsati patri pooja is one of the most important steps in the pooja vidhanam of Ganesh Chaturthi. As Lord Ganesha is the elephant god, it is believed that he is very fond of leaves or twigs. Hence, worshiping Lord Ganesha with 21 varieties of leaves by chanting 21 names of Lord Ganesha is the important part of Ganesh Pooja. Here is the list of 21 varieties of leaves used in the pooja:
  1. Maachipatram - 'Davanam' in Telugu

  2. Bruhatipatram - 'Vaakudu' in Telugu

  3. Bilvapatram - This is known as 'maaredu' in Telugu and is very easily available

  4. Doorvayugma patram - Also known as 'doorvaru' or 'garika (gaddi)' in Telugu. The lawn grass can be used for this.

  5. Dattura patram - known as 'ummetta' in Telugu

  6. Badari patram - commonly known as 'regi / regu aaku' in Telugu. This is the Indian tropical berry which is very easily available.

  7. Apaamaarga patram - known as 'uttareni' in Telugu

  8. Tulasi patram - these are the well known basil leaves or 'tulasi' very commonly available.

  9. Choota patram - this is the commonly available mango leaves or 'maamidi' in Telugu.

  10. Karaveera patram - known as 'ganneru' in Telugu which bear yellow flowers that are offered to Lord Shiva.

  11. Vishnukraanta patram - known as 'vishnukanta' in Telugu, the flowers are blue in color.

  12. Daadimi patram - the commonly available leaves of pomegranate or 'daanimma' in Telugu.

  13. Devadaaru patram - known as devadaaru in Telugu, these are the cone trees which bear pine cones.

  14. Maruvaka patram - known as 'maruvam' in Telugu, are easily available. These leaves give out nice fragrance and are mostly used in making garlands along with jasmine flowers.

  15. Sindhoovara patram - known as 'vavili' in Telugu, the flowers are purple in color and look like orchids.

  16. Jaaji patram - 'jaaji' or jasmine leaves are very commonly available.

  17. Gandaki patram - known as 'devakaanchanam' in Telugu.

  18. Sami patram - known as 'sami' or 'jammi aaku' in Telugu. It is believed that on the branches of this tree, Arjuna - one of the pancha pandavas - kept all his armour hidden.

  19. Aswatha patram - 'raavi aaku' in Telugu or the banyan leaves are easily available.

  20. Arjuna patram - known as 'maddi aaku' in Telugu.

  21. Arka patram - this is known as 'jilledu' in Telugu and is commonly available.
After completion of the pooja, offer Mahanaivedyam which includeundrallu / kudumulu, coconut, bananas and available seasonal fruits. Finally offer karpoora nirajanam i.e. aarti and then mantrapushpam.

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