One of the biggest celebrations of India, Ganesh festival is here. The sound of Ganpati Bappa Morya is being chanted on the streets of Mumbai and other Maharashtra cities also.
In Mumbai, there are famous Ganpatis like Lalbaugcha Raja, Mumbaicha Raja, Tejukayacha Raja, Chichpokli Chintamani, GSB, Andheri cha Raja and others which come in our mind first. Mainly, all these Rajas are known as ‘Icchapurti Raja’ in Mumbai.
On the eve of Ganesh Festival, Mamta Sonar spoke to above mentioned mandal organisers about special things we are going to see this year.
Lalbaugcha Raja is popularly known as ‘King Of Lalbaug’ and it’s one of the most famous Ganesh mandal situated in South Mumbai. This year, they are going to celebrate 84 years and is popular as ‘one who fulfils all wishes’. The mandal has got an insurance of Rs 51 crore this year.
Sudhir Salvi of the mandal said, “This year devotees will get to see a Raj Mahal in golden coloured. The idol of Ganesha will be the same and made by the idol sculpture Santosh Kambli and the themes is made by popular artist Nitin Desai.”
On an average around 1.5 million people are likely to visit the mandal this year, and for security, Mumbai police, Army forces and 35 official mandal workers (karyakarta) will be available. Around 3000 more mandal workers will be there to take care of devotees, he added.
How to visit: From Central railway you can get down at Currey road or at a Chincpokli station. To reach at Raja’s place will take at least 15 to 10 minute from the stations.
Andheri cha Raja
Andheri cha Raja is second famous idol in Mumbai. This year the Ganesh idol will be 8.5 feet long, made by Late Vijay Khatu and his team. The theme of the pandal is Bhalleshwar Mandir, which is popularly known as Ashtavinayak. This theme was also made 25 years ago by Anand Bhalerao Shinde. The mandal will be fully air-conditioned. Around 550 mandal workers will available to take care of devotees including males and females. The mandal has got an insurance of Rs 50 crore this year
Not only the common man, but Bollywood celebrities also visit this place. Celebrities like Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone among others will be attending this year also. The immersion of this Ganesha will be take place on September 9.
How to visit: For Andheri cha Raja, you have come at Andheri Stn, from there you can take bus, Auto Rickshaw or a Metro towards Azad Nagar station at Veera Desai Road, behind Sports Complex.
Girgaon Cha Raja
Girgaon Cha Raja is popularly known as environmental free as it is an eco-friendly Ganesh idol in Mumbai. The Ganesh idol has been sculptured by Rajendra Patkar. They are celebrating 70 years this year. A 22-feet long idol was seated like a boss on the sinhasan. Mostly, Girgaon Cha Raja is famous for Rajwadi Pheta and this year you will like to see his Raja Pheta in a Maharashtrian-Kolhapuri style.
This year, the decoration is very attractive in white and golden colour, which is made by Anup decorator’s Afjal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in Maan Ki Baat last year that, “We are proud of the Girgaon Cha Raja mandal that they are bringing an eco-friendly Ganpati.”
Rajesh Naik, President of Mandal, said, “This year we are celebrating 70 years. Our Ganpati is eco-friendly, and weighs 3 tonnes. From old person to young boys, all participate in this festival. We have a group of people to handle all activities and they do their job very nicely.”
“We are thankful to Modiji for taking our mandal’s name in “Maan Ki Baat” show,” he added
“With the help of Shiv Sena leader Pandurang Sakpal, we have taken an insurance of 25 persons including for mandal of Rs 30 lakh this year”, he said.
How to visit: To reach Girgaon Cha Raja, reach Charni Road station. From there you can take taxi for Nikdavri Lane or walking distance is 15-20 minutes.
Nare Park (Parel Cha Raja)
Nare Park Cha Raja is popularly known as Parel cha Raja. Their specialty of Ganpati is the murti of idol is always in a standing position. The Ganesh idol is very attractive to Mumbaikars because of its standing pose like a “Raja’.
The height of Ganesh murti is 31-feet long. Asked if BMC posed a problem over the height, Baban Tawde, president of Nare Park said, “We are taking care of the murti and this year we have increased the height of idol but we are also taking precautions.”
“The idol of Ganesha is 22-feet but the prabhaval is a craze in today’s date. We are concentrating on that. We got the idea that if we have to increase the height of idol we have to do something. This year, our prabaval is more attractive because we have made a Mahalakshmi idol on prabhaval which can go up and down. When the bridge or trees come, we can take the prabaval down through remote”.
He added, “This year we are not taking donation from hawkers because they have not earned too much. If they pay Rs 100-200 to each organiser, it is burdensome. So, from this year we will stop taking donations.”
How to visit: To reach Nare Park go from Elphistone or Parel station. Head east, towards right side of the bridge. The landmark is KEM Hospital.
Mumbai cha Raja (Ganesh Galli)
Mumbai cha Raja is celebrating 90th this year. On this special day, the Ganesh idol will have a Seshnaag murti which is the same as the 1985 idol made by famous idol sculpture Dinanath Veling. This mandal’s speciality is that every year they make replicas of popular temples from all over India. People who can’t go to these places can take darshan here only.
Swapnil Parab, authorised person of Ganesh Galli, said, “As we celebrating 90 years, Ganesh idol will be seated at Sheshnaag. The theme of our pandal is Sripuram Temple, which is located in Vellor in Tamil Nadu. The temple is completely covered with a 1500 kilo gold.”
While talking about the security he said, “We have hired the private security, CCTV camera was fixed. Some mandal workers have taken training from BMC if any disaster takes place.”
How to visit: From Central railway you can get down at Currey road or at Chincpokli station. To reach at Raja’s place will take at least 10 minute from the stations.
Chinchpoklicha Chintamani Ganpati is organised by Chinchpokli Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal and this year the mandal is celebrating 98 years. The idol is made by Late Vijay Khatu this year. Chintamani is famous for the sinhasan with various poses, which is very attractive to Mumbaikars. Also the main attraction of the idol is Prabhaval. The trend of attractive prabhavals come from this mandal only.
The theme of Chinchpoklicha Chintamani this year is Baahubali Mahesmati Darbar, and its design is by Aman Vidyarthi.
Chinchpoklicha Chintamani Ganpati is organised by Chinchpokli Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal. The Ganpati mandal founded in 1920 is one of Mumbai’s oldest Ganpati mandal. The idol speciality is that the ‘Aagman Sohala’ which is done 10 days before welcoming Lord Ganesha at home during the Festival. Nearly a lakh devotees gather to take a first look of Chintamani at Parel workshop.
One unique feature of the mandal, is that on the day of Visarjan, they leave the Lalbaug premises singing ‘Ganesh Aaarti’ while going towards Girgaum beach, unlike others, who beat drums or play music.
How to visit: From Central railway you can get down at Chincpokli station. The Raja is situated near station. You have to cross the station bridge towards east.
This year, Tejukaya Mansion is celebrating 51 years. The Genesh idol will be seen seating in an attitude on the sinhashan. The Ganesh idol of Tejukaya was made by Rajan Jhad. Namdev Hule of the mandal said, “Our area is on under construction. The builder had given us very short place and we are trying to do this Ganesh festival safely so that the devotees can take safe darshan of idol”
“This year your speciality is that, we are trying to make amrut manthan in this place. And I’m sure that the people will like it. “For security, we have fixed CCTV cameras, arranged security as well,” he added.
The speciality of Tejukaya Ganapati is on the day of Visarjan, they carry the 22-feet Ganpati on their shoulder during immersion of the idol at Girgaum Chawpati.
How to visit: From Central railway you can get down at Currey road or at a Chincpokli station. To reach Raja’s place will take at least 10 minute from the stations.
GSB Sewa Mandal in King’s Circle is known to be the richest mandal in Mumbai city. It is celebrating its 63rd year and has got an insurance of Rs 100 crore this year. The idol is kept for five days with more than two lakh devotees coming down to seek blessings. The unique identity of this mandal is that devotees especially come to offer Puja (havan) to the elephant-headed god.
Ulhas Kamat, celebration President of Mandal, said, “The madal decoration is based on GSB ganpati ‘mukut’. The mandal has an overall area of 80,000 sq feet, which is largest in the world, and is decorated the lighting and flowers.”
Kamat further added, “Our Ganesh idol is eco-friendly and the mandal celebrates the five-day festival with discipline and in a traditional way.”
“There are 40 CCTVs with high density put up which will be connected to the local police stations and around 500 security guards and 8 private security guards and volunteers will be on security round the clock,” he added.
How to visit: At Central Railway, you have to get down at Sion station east. From there head to Shree Guru Ganesh Prasad, Bhookailash Nagar. Landmark is Sion Fort
Dongri cha Raja is one of the famous Ganesh mandals in Mumbai. They are celebrating 79 years this year. Naresh Tondwalkar of the mandal said, “This year, the Ganesh idol will be seated like a Raje Shahi. The theme of the Pandal will be tribute to Indian Army. And the fund that will be collected from this festival will be donated to the Indian military. In the mandals, all the banners and the decoration will be based on Indian Army.”
How to visit: To vist Dongri cha Raja’s, you can go to Sandhurst Road station. From station, it takes hardly 15 to 20 minutes to reach the place.
Khetwadi Cha Raja (12th lane)
In Khetwadi, there are 13 lanes in which 22 to 26-long feet idols come every year. The 12th lane is famous for attractive diamond work on idol, which is made by sculptor Raja Shinde. President of mandal, Ganesh Mathur said, “This year, the height of idol is 12 feet and the theme of the pandal is Baahubali. If your visit the, place you can see the statue of Baahubali.” The Rajwada made inside is in peach and golden colour.
How to visit: You can go to Grant Road station or Charni Road station. From there, it is hardly 15 minutes distance by walking, or you take taxi to Khetwadi.