Mumbai: Ganesh mandals go crazy during the Ganpati festival in decking up their pandals with extravagant themes to attract devotees but now even households Ganpatis have jumped into the bandwagon. Giving a tough fight to mandal Ganpatis, Udaykumar Singh family who stays at Jiten building, D N Nagar Andheri from past 39 years, is celebrating the festival with a seven-foot tall idol not in their home but in the building parking lawn with a theme from the Jungle Book.
Singh’s pandal has replicas of Jungle Book characters like Mowgli, Sher Khan, Bagheera, Kaa and Baloo among others. The Hulk put up at the entrance gate of the building welcomes the devotees, especially attracting children visiting the place. Rohan Singh, son of Udaykumar Singh, who attends to the devotees in the huge Jungle Book themed pandal said not just children but even elderly citizens came for visits and left them awe-inspired.
Expenses incurred on decoration work of the extravagant theme are born only by the Singh family and did not take any contribution from the residents of the building complex. The family also did not go for funds from sponsors. Rohan, however, refused to disclose the cost.
Another member who works as a volunteer disclosed that the extravagant theme costs the Singh family almost Rs. 50 lakh, excluding the cost of the seven-foot tall Ganesh idol. From the sixth day of Ganesh festival onwards, the family is providing free food to all devotees visiting the pandal every evening till late night till the last day of immersion. “Our family friends or relatives who wish to contribute to giving food items like pulses, rice and cooking gas are welcomed and taken. We did not seek any monetary help,” Rohan said.
Udaykumar has a transport business and has three children. His elder daughter is a doctor at Nair Hospital while his other daughter works in a reputed hotel and Rohan is a nautical engineer. “I failed to get a job in my profession and hence I switched to the hospitality industry,” Rohan added.