Mumbai: The city celebrated Mahashivratri with great aplomb though fewer devotees visited the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) from Borivali end on Tuesday to celebrate the festival. Park officials assume it might be due to a strict vigil on public littering. SGNP had, in a meeting on last week, issued guidelines to refrain devotees from polluting the park.
“There were hardly 4,000-5,000 people from Borivali end. Normally, we see around 15,000-20,000 each year. We stopped any and every devotee carrying coconut or flower offerings at the entrance to avoid trash in the park premises,” said Mohan Naikwadi, Assistant Conservator of Forest, SGNP.
“We were also informed devotees about how there is only a Buddhist ‘stupa’ in Kanheri Caves and no Shiva statue, unlike Tungareshwar which has one. Even that can be the reason for less devotee footfall,” he added.
Mandpeshwar Caves in Borival, an eighth-century rock-cut shrine dedicated solely to Lord Shiva, also sees hundreds of devotees. For the festival, extra BEST buses were run along the routes of SGNP and Babulnath temple, confirmed officials. Devotees in other parts of the city visited the temples with discipline and except for some pushing and elbowing, the day wore off with ease. Not much had to be done by either police or volunteers, said city temple priests. One of the important Shiva temples in the city, Babulnath near Girgaum Chowpatty, saw over 250 volunteers from nearby areas helping devotees the entire day.