As the festivities start, Tapapriya Lahiri explains how various puja mandals are relying on virtual digital promotions to lure more eclectic crowds to their actual venues
When social media and digital promotions reign our lives to a great extent, it’s but obvious that religious fervour too won’t stay away from it. People are relying a lot on social media channels to see their favourite mandals of Ganesha getting decked up as larger-than-life idols are positioned inside the widespread pandals. The days are gone, when enthusiasts used to visit pandals to take a first look of their favourite idols. In a social age, the key specialties are revealed in all social media channels to take a plunge into the pool of likes, love and wows on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. Besides, app-based presence on Android and iOS platforms is also counting huge publicity votes these days.
The current trend and a roaring wave of festivities are all heard digitally and socially first, and it’s the time for Mumbai to take a 360-degree approach in social media promotions. All the top Ganesh Chaturthi Mandals — Lal Baugh cha Raja, Mumbai cha Raja-Ganesh Galli and many more – have taken a digital initiative to emphasise and broaden their presence on social media. Each of the social channels, be it Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are flooded with information, high-definition photographs, videos and key attractions—especially for ‘Icchapurti Rajas’ of Mumbai. With the big-time social and digital presence, festival tourism is also getting a facelift and prompting visitors to step in Mumbai to feel the essence of 10-day extravaganza.
Among the Mumbai’s most famous Sarvajanik Ganpatis, Lalbaugh cha Raja is the most famous. While speaking to Balasaheb Sudam Kamble, the president of Lalbaugh cha Raja says, “We must appreciate the reach and widespread message that’s doing the rounds in social platforms. Ganesh Chaturthi is considered as one of the biggest festivals of India, and unveiling the idol that has been modelled on the second avatar of Lord Vishnu—which also resembles Korma avatar — all these look-and-feel and decors were revealed digitally, before people come for darshan. Social media channels have created a great amount of interest among the young devotees from every corner of the country as well as abroad too. There is a well-managed official website of Lalbaugh cha Raja and that is professionally taken care by a young pool of digital talents in the committee to ensure that the devotees from around the world can enjoy the festival without any hitch.”
Swapnil Parab, secretary of Mumbai cha Raja – Ganesh Galli while emphasising on social media presence says, “It’s a time for digital and social media space to promote our renowned and age-old Ganapati on a global forum. We have witnessed a lot of international appreciation after we created and stepped into the social media landscape. Hereby, all the social media activities have a room to explain thematic approach we have taken this year to deck up the idol and pandal.”
Even Bengali’s most anticipated festival of the year Durga Puja is not confined within the walls of traditional pandals. When Kolkata showcases the best of its creativity in pandals and idols, other Indian cities like Delhi and Bengaluru are also not left behind to promote their Pujas in a grand way on most of the social platforms. In Kolkata, unique sculptures of goddess Durga grip the enthusiasts and devotees to a great extent and, all these are possible with an advent of social media presence from past two years. Some of the biggest puja committees hire digital marketing agencies to promote finest nuances of their decors. On the other hand, some popular Durga Pujas of Bengaluru and Delhi have created small in-house digital team to promote their events.
One of the members of Sreebhumi Sporting Club Puja in Kolkata says, “Social media existence has changed the entire concept of Durga Puja and many digital marketing companies based out of Kolkata are coming forward to join the bandwagon and make it magnificent through digital platforms to create a global presence.”
One of the founders of Sarathi Dugrotsav in Bengaluru, Arunangsho Chaudhury, drives a small digital team to look after the promotions and engage audiences through social media activities. Arunangsho says, “Durga Puja is very close to my heart and for all the Bengalis. Sarathi is a remarkable outcome of nostalgia, when some of the fellow Bongs started missing the grandeur of Kolkata’s Durga Puja. The entire five-day extravaganza is neatly curated by our digital team and before it goes underway, we set the campaigns and take the social media plunge to make the event successful. Through the years, the scene of Durga Puja in Bengaluru has evolved a lot.”
Be it in Kolkata or Bengaluru, new-age and extremely digitally savvy people engage themselves in social media campaigns and spreads the word, globally. During the time of festivities, West Bengal government rolls out some lucrative tourism offers to witness the sheer grandeur and opulence. Swarnima Debnath, a young content professional, who hails from Bengaluru, wants to explore the majesty of Kolkata’s Durga Puja. She says, “It’s the time, Kolkata brings out their creative bests and social media and digital promotions have taken a lead to make it happen. I can be easily accessible, how the renowned Pujas in Kolkata warm them up with social media campaign teasers.”