Mumbai : Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations have taken an e-turn with several pandals across the city getting a digital makeover. With their own websites and pages on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, the local Ganesh pandals are making their presence felt globally.
One of the most popular pandals of the city, Lalbaugcha Raja, entered its fifth year of online ‘aarti’. “Since there is a huge crowd at the Lalbaugcha raja, we set up the streaming ‘aartis’ on the website five years ago. The ‘aartis’ can be seen by devotees every day at 12.30 PM and 9 PM as they are being conducted,” said Vinayak Pawar, a member of the organizing committee, Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, in charge of the website.
Pictures of the Ganesh idol dressed in different pitambar will also be uploaded on a regular basis. The website also offers wallpapers and photos that date all the way back to 1934, the first year of the celebrations.
An additional facility provided for darshan of Lalbaugcha Raja this year will be a 24-hour helpline. “Devotees can call up the helpline at 44444444 and will be guided with respect to the route, nearest railway station, daily schedule of celebrations and where the darshan queue is at any given time,” added Pawar.
The suburban Ganesh pandal, Andhericha Raja, has upgraded its streaming standards this year. “We have procured a 360 degree rotating camera costing Rs 1.5 lakh. The camera will shoot the aartis and stream directly as it happens,” said Subodh Chitnis, the Treasurer of Azadnagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, the pandal committee. The celebrations will be live for 3 hours, from 7 PM to 10 PM daily. Along with it, the website will feature different sections for idol pictures and celebrity guests.
“Keeping in mind the popularity of the website, he have revamped it this year. We also opened our official Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep the netizens updated,” said Chitnis.
Eco-friendly Ganpati idols and social awareness campaigns have been increasingly a part of Ganesh celebrations. One example is that of Vile Parlyacha Peshwa, the pandal organized by Bal Gopal Mitra Mandal, which will be resorting to Facebook to spread the message of their cause.
“This year, we have taken up a campaign of organ donation. Through the regular video updates on our website and Facebook page, we will also be incorporating the importance of organ donation,” said Sachin Shigwan, associated with the Mandal since last 6 years. “People don’t like being lectured to, be it for a noble cause or otherwise. Hence we will be incorporating our message in anecdotes and story-format and post updates on Facebook.”