Mumbai: Andhericha Raja, also known as the ‘Lalbaugcha Raja of western suburbs’ has gone partially eco-friendly in its 53rd year. Wood and fibre have been used to make the pandal, which is a replica of the temple of Chintamani of Theur. Unlike other sarvajanik Ganeshas, this idol is immersed on Sankashti Chaturthi (16th day), which falls on September 28 this year. The Chintamani model this year is in keeping with the mandal’s tradition of replicating a famous temple from the country.
The most distinctive quality of Andhericha Raja is that the idol is immersed on Sankashti Chaturthi (16th day), instead of on Anant Chaturthi (11th day), like the other mandals. The spokesperson of the Samiti, Uday Salian said, “Back in 1974, when the mills and companies shut down, thousands of devotees were left unemployed. To find a way out, devotees undertook a ‘navas’ (fast with a commitment) to Ganpati, saying in the following year, if their problems were solved, they would bring him home for five extra days, instead of just 11 days.”
The mandal, founded in 1966 by workers from Tata Special Steel and Excel Industries Ltd, boasts a different look for Ganesha each day with a matching set of ‘dhoti-shela’. A local designer sponsors the 16 sets of clothes for the idol, as an offering. Volunteers range from 10 to 60+ years in age, fired up with festive zeal every Ganeshotsav. Some young volunteers of the mandal have taken on the responsibility of handling the social media pages of Andhericha Raja.
In addition to social messages put out through quotes and drawings, the mandal has also organised a blood donation drive, like it did last year. Speaking more on the eco-friendly plot of the pandal, Salian said, “The pandal has been completely made of wood and coated with fibre for a finished look. Since it would be very difficult to handle an idol made of clay instead of PoP, we could not go with an eco-friendly idol.”
Glitterati from the Hindi and Marathi film industry, like Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra, Rohit Shetty, Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha and Sai Lokur and other television actors have come for a glimpse of Andhericha Raja this year.