Country's First Ganesha Immersion Celebrated in Durban

September 28, 2004

Source: India News Channel

Wire Service: IANS

On September 28, 2004 the Indo-Asian News Service reported, "The immersion ceremony of a Ganesha idol, taking place for the first time [in Durban, South Africa], went high-tech with a helicopter airlifting it over the Indian Ocean. A professional diver clutched the idol while hundreds of devotees and others watched the ceremony that marks the culmination of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Rough seas made it difficult for devotees to wade into the ocean for the immersion, so the helicopter carried the idol further out into the sea to avoid it being washed back to the shore. The immersion was organised by two community organisations here, the Gujarati Hindu Sanskruti Kendra and the Saptha Mandir, to conclude a two-week ritual in honour of the Hindu God with a human body and an elephant head... Although Ganesh Chathurti prayers have been performed in homes and temples across South Africa since Hindus first arrived here in 1860, there has never been a large-scale public event of immersing an idol, such as those done in India. The organisations intend to make this an annual event."