Gan-Chodha is celebrated on Vaisakh Mass Shuklapaksh Chaturdashmiyam every year with great fervor and enthusiasm among all Kashmiri Pandits. This festival is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. People in large numbers used to celebrate it in the ancient and famous Ganesh temple of Mollah Ganpatyar, Habbakadal. The pet offerings to Lord Ganesha used to be sweet Pories/Laddu as well as Tahar (cooked yellow rice).

Brief Historical Background

The ancient scripture known as "Sidhi Vinaayak" is situated on the bank of the holy Vitasta, also known as river Jehlum, at the location of Ganpatyar, Habbakadal. History reveals that a great Chinese Buddhist Monk, Hiuen Tsiang, visited this ancient temple. During the Pathan rule in 1760 - 65, the oldest idol of Ganesha was thrown into the river Jehlum. Later, during the period of 1854 - 55, the idol was recovered from the river and reinstalled in the temple.

In the 18th century, a great scholar and writer, Sahib Koul, in his book "Teerath Sangrah," mentions in one of his verses that "all devotees have to pay their due respect to Lord Ganesha at Ganpatyar temple on return from the daily pilgrimage to Mata Shrika Parvath (Hari Parvath)."

Old Ganesh idol retrieved from Vitasta river.

Now, after the exile of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in 1990, the idol of Lord Ganesha is being worshipped daily by a unit of security forces deployed by the government for the security of the temple, as well as by a handful of Kashmiri Pandits living in the surrounding area.