The Basin Temple to celebrate Baavanothsavam for the first time

By Indira Laisram
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Representative image // Theertham // Temple file photo

After two years of COVID-19 shutdowns, celebration of festivals is a way of looking forward for the community.

This August end, the Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar Temple in The Basin will light up for the Baavanothsavam festival. It is the only Hindu temple in Australia to celebrate this 10-day festival for the first time. The Mahotsavam is its other big annual event.

Explaining the significance of the festival, Temple President Shan Pillai says, “Uthsavams are spiritual rites performed to help the human being purify the body and mind in many ways. As such, Baavanothsavam makes every aathma (soul) to be connected with the Paramaathma (God).”

The other important aspect of the festival is depicting some of the stories from Vinayagar Puraanam (the history of Lord Ganesha, one of the most important Gods in Hinduism), with a view to explaining their meaning and relevance.

Temple photo // Pic supplied

Eancting of stories accompanied by rituals will be spread over ten days. For instance, day one of the festival or Ganesha Utbavam, will celebrate the birth of Lord Ganesha (born to Lord Siva and Parvati). Abhishekam (bathing ritual of the deity will take place for Abhirami Amman (Parvati) with the screen closed. The idol of Lord Ganesha will be kept outside as a guard whilst the idol of Lord Siva will then be carried to the entrance of the Abhirami Amman.

The second day of Baavanothsavam will commence with Vasantha Mandapa Pooja. It will be marked by special prayers to Lord Siva, revealing the hymns. On the third day, Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati will be seated as Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya and Naradha Muni are brought to the Vasantha Mandapam. The story of the golden mango of eternal wisdom and knowledge will be enacted.

The following seven days will also feature other stories from Vinayagar Puraanam such as the battles between Lord Siva and Asuras to the marriage of Lord Siva and Parvati to the fire ritual.

A glimpse of the past Mahotsavam festival // Pic supplied

The festival culminates on the tenth day, which is the annual Ganesh Chathurthi, the most powerful day to worship Lord Ganesha. This day celebrates Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar as the God of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles as well as the God for wisdom and intelligence. While much of the festival’s ceremonies willl take place at night, on this final day, there will be special poojas both in the morning and evening.

As one can imagine, there will be a lot of props used for the celebration of this festival. “Some of the typical days will show Lord Ganesha in a boat, in a forest, killing the demons, etc. As such, a lot of preparations are on,” says Pillai.

More importantly, by attending people will learn how Lord Ganesha was born, why we break coconuts as also other meaning and significance behind the rituals, he adds.

Welcoming devotees and patrons to participate in the festivities, Pillai says, “This is also an opportunity for those who wish to sponsor each day. In our temple, sponsorship of these Ubyams are for life. Unless the sponsor decides to give it up, they will continue to sponsor every year. Many of the monthly festivals are sponsored by people for the last 25-30 years.”

(The Baavanothsavam Festival begins on 22 August and ends on 31 August)


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