Sangod Utsav: A unique Ganesh Visarjan in the heart of Marcel

The Sangod Utsav is a unique Goan tradition, tracing back its history to the 15th century.
Sangof Utsav organised in Cumbarjua, Goa on Thursday, September 16, 2021
Sangof Utsav organised in Cumbarjua, Goa on Thursday, September 16, 2021

Chandrashekhar Phadte, 41, standing at one of the green banks at the Cumbarjua Canal points to a decorated float to her seven-year daughter. “I have been coming to this Utsav since I was a kid. I have grown up attending this event and now I want my kids to understand and experience the Sangod tradition.”

Just like Phadte, hundreds of people from across Goa have gathered under the overcast skies on Thursday evening at the Marcel-Cumbarjua bridge to witness the one-of-its-kind Sangod Utsav. “Last year, we couldn’t celebrate it on a large scale but it gives me immense joy that we can celebrate it this year. I am so happy, there is a different energy in the entire atmosphere,” says Phadte.

On the seventh day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the immersion of Lord Ganesha at Shantadurga Cumbharjuvekarin Temple takes place at the Cumbarjua Canal. However, this is not just another regular Ganesh Visarjan in Goa.

The Sangod Utsav is a unique Goan tradition, tracing back its history to the 15th century. As the legend goes, a Vodekar family from Cumbharjua, who would worship Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi, installed their Ganesh idol at the Shantadurga Kumbharjuvekarin temple one year along with the goddess after they couldn’t celebrate that year due to financial crisis. On the seventh day, they used a canoe to immerse the idol in Cumbarjua Canal. Since then, the villagers have been worshipping the Ganesh idol at the temple, and their homes, for seven days.

Around 15 Sangods or canoes tied together take seven rounds on a small route on the river. The canoes are decorated with flowers with people donning bodypaint and colourful attire depicting social themes or scenes from Puranas. The bursting of crackers and the playing of music adds to the celebrations.

Over the years, the crowds for the immersion grew with villagers taking part with their Sangods, which eventually became the Sangod Utsav. To keep this tradition alive, the state government with local panchayat also started organising float competition.

This year many Sangod depicted mythological scenes from Ramayan with villagers dressing up as Hanuman or Lord Ram. Tukaram Narang, who was part of the Vanar Sena, says,“Every year I dress up as a different character. I have been taking part for the last three years. My family also takes part in the competition every year.”

 “For more than 100 years now, people from various villages in Marcel and nearby areas participate in this festival. Since the last 20 years, this has also become a tourist attraction in Goa now,” says Udit Bhandari, a local resident.

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