Mahalaxmi (Gauri) is said to be an avatar of Ma Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva and the mother of Lord Ganesh. Mahalaxmi (Gauri) Puja is performed during Ganesh Chaturthi and is very famous in Maharashtra. In different parts of India, there are different beliefs regarding why Gauri puja is celebrated. Gauri puja is celebrated for three days. Gauri (Mahalaxmi) puja is a traditional and ancestral puja. It is now getting bigger and more famous as it has started brings families and friends closer to celebrate it.
The arrival of Mahalaxmi at home represents with many good luck like health, wealth, happiness & prosperity. Mahalaxmi stays for three days and Gauri puja is done with two idols of Ma Gauri. In some places, the image of Mahalaxmi is made of turmeric powder and placed along with the idol of Lord Ganesha.
As per mythology, many times it happened that Parvati went to bath after asking Nandi to keep watch on the gate so that no one entered her room. And many times it happened that Shiva entered her room. After all, how can Nandi stop Shiva from entering his own home?
Parvati understood this issue and many times thought of creating a good gatekeeper who will only listen to her. Once Parvati, during bath applied turmeric on her body. She then collected that turmeric, which was in dense paste form and created a statue out of it.
Parvati applying her power breathed life into it. It turned into a beautiful living boy. She named him Ganesh which means Lord of Ganas. She then asked Ganesh to watch the door while she took the bath and that no one should enter her room. As ordered by his creator or mother, Ganesh started guarding the door.
When Lord Shiva came to his place, despite request, he was stopped from entering by Ganesh. Shiva returns but Nandi and Ganas somehow came to know about this. Together they went to Ganesh with the request but were refused. A savage battle ensued in which Ganesh wins. However, looking at the injured Nandi and Ganas, Shiva gets angry and beheads Ganesh.
Parvati, after bath, comes out and saw that her son is dead, gets angry and tells Shiva to bring her son alive or she will destroy the entire nature and thus all the creations. In the meantime Shiva comes to know the actuality of the situation and about the dead boy.
So, Shiva asks Nandi and Ganas to look for someone who was willing to give his head willingly. Nandi and Lord Indra found elephant Gajasur who willingly offers his head. Shiva attached the elephant head and made the boy alive again.
But Parvati said everyone will make fun of him because of his looks. To that Shiva gave a boon to Ganesh that before any ritual (Pooja), Ganesha has to be worshiped first.
This is how the day of new birth of Lord Ganesha came to be celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi. Just because Mother Parvati (Gauri) who gave birth to Ganesh, Gauri puja became prominent part of Ganesh Chaturthi puja. This is the reason why the image of Gauri is made in turmeric paste and worshiped.
The Divine atmosphere during the 10-Day of Lord Ganesh festival turns more cheerful with this 3 days Mahalaxmi puja. The celebration of Mahalaxmi Puja in Vidarabh region is much larger than in any other part of Maharashtra.
In this puja, the ritual is to prepare variety of foods at home instead of going for catering, and invite family members and friends for Prasad. The day after Mahalaxmi “Haldi-Kunku” program is organized.