Scores of devotees on Wednesday queued at Mumbai's famous pandals to catch a glimpse of Lord Ganesha as the deity bids adieu today. Fondly known as Bappa, the elephant-headed god is immensely adulated during the 10-day Ganeshotsav. Anant Chaturdashi, which marks the end of the spirited festival and Ganpati idols are immersed on this date, falls today.
On Wednesday, Akshay Kokate came all the way from Diva in Thane district to give a devotional farewell to Lalbaugcha Raja. Summing up his experience, an elated Kokate said that he felt twice lucky because he got 'mukh darshan' (face glimpse), but was also present during 'aarti'. “This is the second time I managed to get 'mukh darshan' during 'aarti'. Last year, too, this had happened. I also got 'darshan' within 20-40 minutes as there was not much rush,” he said.
Another devotee Prathamesh Harer, who accompanied his mother to Lalbaug, said, “This year, people seem to have come on the first few days to take 'darshan' hence last minute rush is less.” His mother Sangeeta makes it a point to visit prominent Ganpatis in Chinchpokli-Lalbaug belt every year. She fondly remembers her wish being fulfilled when her husband returned home safely from service in Kashmir. “He was in Kashmir for two years during the 2000s as part of civil defence service. I had stood in the 'navas' (wish-fulfilling) queue, praying that he comes home safely and he did,” recalled a barefooted Sangeeta.
Devotees walking barefoot and their forehead smeared with 'gulaal' (coloured powder) was a common sight on Wednesday at the Chinchpokli-Lalbaug belt which has famous pandals like Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Galli Ganpati, Chintamani Ganpati and Tejukaya Ganpati. “We have been to Chintamani and now will be heading to Lalbaug. If we are lucky, we should be able to get 'darshan',” said Khushi Rai,18, who had come along with her friends.
Talking about the idol immersion, Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshutsav Mandal President Balasaheb Kamble said, “We will be having a morning aarti and leave by 11am or so (today).” While the Ganpati will leave tomorrow, it will reach the immersion point at Girgaon Chowpatty on Friday morning. Andhericha Raja is one of those Ganpati idols that doesn't go for immersion on Thursday. “Our Ganpati was of mill workers whose mill had shut down. They had a wish that if their mills restart, they will keep Ganpati till 'Sankasthi', which happened. Hence, the trend of going later for immersion continues,” explained Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti spokesperson Uday Salian.