Vows and Observances of Lord Ganesha

One important way of Lord Ganesha's upasana is Vratas(vows and observances) by which one can try to get blessings form Lord Ganesha and achieve the peace of mind.
There are special three days in a year which are celebrated as Lord Ganesha's birthdays. They are different incarnations of Lord Ganesha.

One is in the month of Vaishakha(name of the month in the Marathi calendar) and it is the fifteenth day of the month.

Second is in the month of Bhadrapada(name of the month in the Marathi calendar), fourth day.

Third is in the month of Magh(name of the month in the Marathi calendar), fourth day.

There are some puja's which are also known as vows of Lord Ganesha,

1. Lord Ganesha's Vrata for Twenty one days - One can start it on Shravana Suddha Chaturthi and ends it on Shravana Vadya Dashmi. Between these twenty one days, one can offer Lord Ganesha 21 durvas, 21 types of flowers/patries, 21 pradakshinas(circumambulation), 21 Ardhya(water), 21 modakas. Give then modaka's to Brahmin and complete the vrata.

2. Sankashti Chaturthi - There are two halves of fifteen days each of a month(in Marathi calendar). First half is known as 'Shuddha' and the second is known as 'Krishna'. Sankashti Chaturthi comes in the second half of every month. It is on the forth day of the second half.

Sankat means problem. Chaturthi means fourth state. One can overcome all the problems doing this vrata.

Lot of Hindus in the state of Maharashtra do this vrata. It is very simple and powerful Chaturthi means fourth state. Lord Ganesha is in the fourth state and one will able to reach up to that state. That is the reason why Chaturthi is so important. A person doing this vrata should do fasting for the entire day. In the morning perform a Panchopachar puja with Panchamrita. Follow the same in the evening after taking bath. One can end the fast in the night after seeing the moon. Try to do nam-jap on that day.

3. Angarakhi Chaturthi - Any Chaturthi which comes on Tuesday is called as Angarakhi Chaturthi. One can follow the practice given in Sankashti Chaturthi. There is a story behind this. A great devotee called Bhavme had red skin, who did penance for thousand years and got a boon. Bhaume means son of Earth(Bhumi putra). Bhaumevar is Tuesday. So it is called as Angarakhi.

4. Satya Vinayak puja -

5. Other simple vratas -

* One can go to Lord Ganesha's temple for 21 days continuously.

* One can go to temple and perform 21 pradakshinas(circumambulation).

* One can do consecration of water with saying 21 times hymn Athrvashirshas.

* One can offer Lord Ganesha 21 durvas everyday before eating anything.

* One can say hymn Sankatnashan Stotra in the morning, afternoon and evening.

* One can go to Lord Ganesha temple every Tuesday.

* One can offer beloved flowers like Mandar, Rose to Lord Ganesha.

6. Lord Ganesha Yaga -

7. Ashta-Vinayak Yatra - Doing pilgrimage of Ashta-Vinayak is also a vrata. As mentioned in the Shastras one should start the pilgrimage from Morgaon and end the pilgrimage at Morgaon. (Morgaon, Pali, Mahad, Thevur, Lenyadri, Ozar, Ranjangaon, Siddhatek and again Morgaon.) But one can start from any place from the Ashta-Vinayak as per the convenience. There are many travel
companies conduct two/three days tour to cover all the places from Ashta-Vinayak.