This is a 10 day festival that celebrates the birth of Ganpati (the Indian God with an elephant head). It usually falls at the end of the monsoon season and is celebrated in much grandeur all over India. Various localities build different themed pendals which are elaborately decorated, and absolutely everyone participates, from the youngest to the oldest, bringing together people from all walks of life, for once, putting their religions aside.
The second best part about this festival is the sweets prepared for the venerations. Each and every dish is more delicious than the other.
Modaks are known as one of Ganesha's favourite dishes. A few varieties of this sweetmeat are made; some steamed, some fried, some with sugar, some with jaggery, but all have to be dipped in sweetened coconut milk or ghee and feasted on!
These sweetmeats are always made fresh, ON the day of the festival. It's an absolute joy, to wake up early morning on Ganesh Chaturthi day, take a bath, wear new clothes and get working in the kitchen with all the prayers playing in the background from pendals in different directions.
Always a divine experience!