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Fairs & Festivals in Mumbai
The ideal time to travel to Mumbai is during the time of fairs and festivals. Festivals brighten up this already bright and lively city of Mumbai. Some of the major festivals celebrated with fun and gaiety in Mumbai are Ganesh Chaturthi (late August-early September), Navratri (October-November), Gokul Ashtami (mid-August) Holi (mid-March), Diwali, Christmas, and Id-ul-Zuha & Id-Ul-Fitr. Mumbai travel during the festivals of Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi can turn out to be a bright and colorful experience.
The festival of lights – Diwali, is a great time to travel to Mumbai. The moonless night is turned into the brightest night of the year. The Marine Drive shines bright in the light of the innumerable firecrackers. The Banganga tank of Mumbai on the auspicious occasion of Diwali is celebrated in a traditional manner. The earthen lamps are floated in the waters. The shimmering flames on the water create a picturesque sight.
Ganesh Chaturthi, the worship of the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, is widely celebrated in Mumbai. As Lord Ganesha is considered to be the common avatar of both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, both the Hindu sects, the Shaivites and the Vaishnavites, worship him.
Ganesh Chaturthi was initiated by the great Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji, to disseminate culture and nationalism. Later, it was given a new impetus by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies. The festival infused the Indians with a sense of unity and revived their patriotic spirit. The event is now a colossal celebration and perhaps the world’s largest religion-inspired beach party. Processions from all over Mumbai commandeer the city’s already congested road system riding on and walking beside trucks bearing the Ganapati’s. Loudspeakers shriek from the truck cabs and processionals bang drums and gongs while the orange-capped devotees on the back of the trucks shower themselves and everyone in their wake with a red powder called gulal. On the day of the Chaturthi, the last of the days dedicated to the elephant-headed god, thousands of processions converge on the beaches of Mumbai to immerse the holy idols in the sea. This immersion is accompanied by drumbeats, devotional songs, and dancing.
The Mumbai International Film Festival, held once every two years, is an occasion not to be missed. Held during the month of February, the festival screens the best of short, documentary and animation films at the Nehru Auditorium. Around the same time of the year, the artists can have a gala time at the four-day-long festival at Elephanta Island. The annual event has the cream of artists perform Indian classical music and dance.