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Discovery to air one-hour special on Ganesh festival on 5 Sep

MUMBAI: Discovery Channel India will be airing a one-hour special on Ganesh Chaturthi on 5 September at 9 pm.

Titled ‘Spirit of India: Ganesh Chaturthi’, the special showcases the dynamic colors of spirituality, grandeur and amusement, ushering in the celebration of Ganesha during the 10-day festival.

UK-born Indian actor Danny Sura immerses viewers into the cheerful mood of the festival that is celebrated all over India, but not with the kind of intensity and fervour 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 ‘Gan’ 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 until an auspicious time. Danny also introduces a sculpture artist, Yusuf, who has been making Ganesha idols for years.

Further in Karnataka, Danny visits an intricately designed mandap that 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 being held since the times of Chattraparti Shivaji.

Danny also takes part in the final procession of immersing the idols. The show highlights the energy, the spirit and the devotion of people who welcome and bid goodbye to their favourite deity.