Mumbai: City gets decked up for Ganpati

Mumbai: Mumbai is getting decked up to welcome Ganpati Bappa on September 2. The 10-day-long festival defines the essence of the city and devotees from all walks of life celebrate with religious fervour.

This year too, renowned Ganpati mandals have come up with innovative themes to woo the visitors. One of the city’s oldest mandals, ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ (King of Lalbaug) will be hosting its 85th puja this year.

It is the only mandal in the city with a patent on its 12-foot idol. In keeping with its tradition of picking a contemporary theme, the pandal is a space station and the subject is the Chandrayaan-2 mission, decorated with replicas of the space orbiter and other gadgets.

“This year our pandal is a tribute to all the scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation, the unsung heroes of our nation’s prog­ress,” stated Balasaheb Kamble, president of Lalbaug Ganpati committee. On Friday, the idol was unveiled to the press, the mandal committee members and locals.

A few lanes away from the Lalbaugcha Raja, is the Ganesh Gallicha Raja, also known as Mumbaicha Raja. This year, Ganesh Galli will celebrate its 92nd year of festivities. With a budget of Rs40 lakh, the organisers have replicated the Sripuram Golden Temple of Vellore.

To promote environment conservation, the idol has been made of clay and the decorations are made of natural fibre. “We replicate a famous Indian temple every year so the visitors who cannot travel to those spots can capture the essence by visiting our temple,” said Sanjay Sawant, vice-president of the committee. The authorities will officially open the pandal for the public from Sunday.

At the city’s richest pandal in King’s Circle, the GSB Seva Mandal, Bappa will be adorned with 70 kgs of gold and 400 kgs of silver ornaments, total valued at Rs20.65 crore.

The 14-foot clay idol will also sport a 3-foot-long golden crown. A senior puja committee member informed the idol has been insured for Rs224.65 crore.

Here, the Ganpati seva begins at sunrise and continues till sunset. For five days, 42 types of aartis and pujas will be performed and prasad served to devotees. This will be the 65th year of the puja and the idol will be open for public view from Saturday.

The Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, who host the ‘Andhericha Raja’, will be celebrating 54 years of hosting the festival. The 9-foot idol will be clad in designer wear and flaunt a 24-carat gold crown worth Rs1.25 crore. US designer Sai Suman, of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ fame, will dress the idol throughout the festival.

The pandal replicates Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar Shi­kh­ar temple and stands as tall as a 6-storey bui­l­ding, with 59 pillars of fibre and wood. A spokesperson of the puja committee, Uday Salian, informed, visitors over 12 years of age, regardless of gender, will not be allowed on the pandal premises if they come wearing shorts that are less than knee-length.

Such visitors will be provided with lungis, which they must drape before darshan and return the garment afterwards. “The Hindu religion has some rules and we are only following them to protect the dignity of the religion,” said Salian. The pandal will be opened for public viewing on Sunday.

In Lalbaug, Tejukaya Society Ganeshotsav will celebrate its 54th year. Their pandal will house the tallest eco-friendly Ganesh idol at 22 ft, made of hay, paper and clay and will be open for public view on Ganesh Chaturthi.

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