Thousands of Ganesh idols were immersed in the Arabian sea, rivers and other water bodies on Friday as the ten-day Ganesh festival concluded with huge processions in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.
In Mumbai alone, more than 19,000 Ganesh idols were immersed till late Friday evening even as the processions of many Ganesh Mandals were still going on.
As of 9 pm, 19,177 idols had been immersed across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said, as devotees thronged the streets and the chants of `Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya' (Come soon next year Lord) rented the air.
Of the idols immersed in the city during the day, around 18,000 were household Ganesh while more than 1,100 `Sarvajanik' or the idols installed in public pandals were also immersed.
The immersion processions of some Ganesh Mandals began late in the afternoon or evening and were expected to go on till the early hours of Saturday as they wind their way to Girgaum Chowpatti and other beaches in the city including Shivaji Park, Bandra, Juhu and Malad.
Keeping the ecological impact in mind, 6,400 idols were immersed in artificial ponds to avoid pollution of natural water bodies.
No untoward incident was reported during immersions on the beaches and other places, the BMC said.
Braving scorching heat earlier in the day and spells of rain later, people waited patiently on both sides of roads to bid adieu to famous Lalbaugcha Raja and other Ganapati in central Mumbai.
Dancing to the beats of traditional Dhol-Tasha and DJ systems, devotees smeared with red-pink Gulal colour took part in processions. Bystanders also shot videos and took selfies with departing idols.
The BMC had arranged barges and motorboats at the beaches for the immersion of tall idols in the deep waters.
Several roads were closed for traffic to allow immersion processions.
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the Girgaum Chowpatti beach late in the evening. They also visited the temporary police control room set up there.
The 10-day Ganpati or Ganesh festival was celebrated with special fervour and pomp this year as COVID-19-related restrictions had played spoilsport in 2020 and 2021.
More than 20,000 police personnel including 3,200 officers were on the streets of Mumbai to keep vigil. Eight companies of the State Reserve Police Force, one company of Rapid Action Force and 750 home guards too had been deployed, officials said.
The BMC had provided immersion facilities at 73 natural and 162 artificial water bodies and about 10,000 civic personnel were on duty.
The civic body had set up 188 control rooms, as many first aid centres and kept 83 ambulances ready besides deploying 786 lifeguards at various immersion points.
In Pune city, the immersion processions began in the morning amid heavy police security.
The procession of Kasba Ganesh, one of the five 'manache' (pre-eminent) Ganpatis, started around 10 am amid the beating of traditional dhol-tasha.
Adorned with flowers, the palanquin carrying the idol left the Kasba pandal, as devotees thronged to offer prayers and see their beloved deity off.
The processions of the other four Manache Ganpati -- Tambdi Jogeshwari, Guruji Talim, Tulshibaug and Kesriwada -- were also taken out with a lot of fanfare.
Immersion processions were also taken out in other cities and towns in Maharashtra as the festival came to a close.