Varad Chaturti, or Varad Til Chaturthi, is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesh and is observed on the fourth day of the Shukla Paksha of Magh month (January – February) as per traditional Hindu calendar followed in Maharashtra. The day is also observed as Ganesha Jayanti and Til Kund Chaturthi. Some people observe a fast on the day.
For Kashmiri Pandits, Varad Chaturthi is the fourth day of Shukla Paksha (the bright half) of every lunar month falling on a Saturday or Tuesday. It is also dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is also known as Shiva Chaturthi.
As a legend narrated by Nandi to the Sanatkumara sages, god Krishna was charged with stealing as he saw the moon on Magha shukla chaturthi - which was prohibited. He observed fast on this day and got rid of the accusation of stealing.
How to Celebrate
On the day of Ganesh Jayanti,in the morning,the devotees apply a seesame(til)-paste on their body and take a sacred bath with water,mixed with til seeds.Lord Ganesha image is made in a conical form by using cowdung or turmeric-sindhoor powder.Later on,Ganesha is worship in a traditional way with shodashopachar pooja and a fast is observed during worship during the day time followed by meals of 'Prasada' in the night.
The fast observed on this day is stated to enhance the name and fame of the individual.The image of Ganesha is immersed in water on the fourth day after the festival.A special food ie 'Prasada' made of Sesame ie til seeds, is offered to Ganesha and then distributed among the devotees.On the occasion of the Ganesh Jayanti celebrations, couples worship him to beget a son.
On this day,devotees visit Moreshwar temple near Pune,Maharashtra.This the first temple of Ashtavinayaka yatra.As per the legends, Lord Ganesha finished demon Kamlasur here, riding a peacock(Mayur) and thus is known as Mayureshwar or Moreshwar. The fast observed on this day is very fruitful.The devotes worship him to fulfil their desires.
On this day devotees also visit the Siddhivinayaka temple at Siddhatek Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra.Devotees take seven pradakhsinas (circumambulation) of the hil, to seek favour of Ganesha. Legend states that god Vishnu invoked the blessings of Ganesha at this venue before killing the demons Madhu-Kaitabh.
Ganesh Jayanti is also celebrated at Ganpatipule, on the Konkan coast, a beach temple houses a swayambhu(self-manifest) idol of Ganesha, which is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The Ganesha is popularly known as the Paschim Dwardevta(Western sentinel god of India).
Ganesh Jayanti is celebrated in a big way at Gopal Ganesha Temple, Farmagudi,Goa.Maghi Ganeshjayanti is also celebrated in a grand way at Uran,Maharashtra in a place called 'Vinayak'. The Ganesha idol here is more than 250 years old which was handed oever by the Peshwas.The deity is popular by the name "Siddhi Buddhi Ganesh Uran".