Ganeshotsav, one of Pune's grandest festivals, will begin tomorrow with great enthusiasm. Families will joyfully bring home the Ganesh idols, chanting 'Ganpati Bappa Morya, Mangalmurti Morya,' and place them in their beautifully adorned makhars. Simultaneously, the city's prominent mandals will conduct grand processions accompanied by traditional dhol-tasha troupes, adding to the festive spirit. Following the processions, the prana pratishtha ceremonies will take place at the mandals, ushering in ten days of worship and celebrations dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
The Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganpati Trust will be celebrating the 131st year of Ganeshotsav with exceptional fervour. A highlight of this year's festivities is the construction of a replica of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, with the installation of the Ganesh idol presided over by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat at 10:23am. Meanwhile, tabla virtuoso Vijay Ghate (Padmashri) will oversee the prana pratishtha ceremony of the Shrimant Bhausaheb Rangari Ganpati at 11:50am.
A replica of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya serves as the pandal for this year's Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati | Photo: Anand Chaini
Devotees will be making their way to the five "manache Ganpatis" starting today. At Shri Kasba Ganapati, Dr. Anand, also known as Narasimha Eknath Gosavi Maharaj, will conduct the prana pratishtha ceremony at 11:37am, with the procession beginning at 8am. The Tambadi Jogeshwari Ganapati will be consecrated at 11:50am by Bhushan Maharudra Swami Maharaj of Sajjangarh, the eleventh descendant of the Samarth Gharana.
At Guruji Talim Mandal, the prana pratishtha ceremony is scheduled for 1:45pm and will be conducted by several esteemed personalities. The event will follow a mesmerising procession, featuring intricately crafted floral chariots and vibrant cultural performances. Tulshi Baug Ganapati's prana pratishtha ceremony will commence at 11:30am, featuring a procession showcasing the idol's journey from the historic Shriram temple, adding a historical touch to the festivities that resonates with the city's rich heritage. Meanwhile, the prana pratishtha ceremony of the Kesariwada Ganapati has already taken place.
Photo: Anand Chaini
Tight security measures in place
Pune Police has ramped up security for Ganeshotsav with 7,000 personnel. This includes 5,000 from the commissionerate, Rapid Action Forces, and crime branch, supported by 1,300 officers from other police departments, 1,000 home guards, and five SRPF units. Citizen volunteers known as Police Mitra will assist. Bomb disposal squads, aided by trained dogs and officers, will conduct checks four times daily at crowded spots. The city is equipped with 1,800 strategically placed CCTV cameras, including 1,300 by Pune Police, 500 by the Municipal Corporation, and those under the Smart City Scheme, ensuring comprehensive surveillance.
Traffic diversion ahead
Heavy vehicles are prohibited on several roads, including Laxmi Road, Kelkar Road, Kumthekar Road, Bajirao Road, Tilak Road, Shastri Road, Karve Road, Fergusson College Road, Jangli Maharaj Road, and Shivaji Road. Additionally, traffic from Gadgil Putla Chowk to Gotiram Bhaiya Chowk (Shivaji Road) will be closed. Commuters travelling from Shivajinagar to Swargate should turn left at Barve Chowk, proceed via Jangli Maharaj Chowk-Tilak Road, and reach Swargate. Those heading to Kumbhar Ves from Jhansi Rani Chowk should divert to Mangala Cinema Lane at Khude Chowk and continue to Kumbhar Ves. Visitors are advised to park their vehicles on stretches between Kamgar Statue Chowk and Shivaji Statue on Ranade Road and on Veer Santaji Road from MSEDCL Centre to Gadgil Statue Chowk, as well as between Tilak Bridge and Bhide Bridge on the riverbed.
Photo: Anand Chaini
Pune Metro service time extended
The Pune Metro service hours will be extended from September 22 to September 27, with operations running from 6:00am to 12:00am. On the day of Ganpati Visarjan, the metro service will continue operating until 2:00am.
A shift towards eco-friendliness
While Plaster of Paris (PoP) Ganpati idols continue to be favoured for their affordability and superior finishing, there's a discernible shift towards eco-friendliness. Clay idols, recognised as a sustainable alternative, have garnered attention, signaling an increasing awareness of environmental conservation. Shekhar Nagpure, a stall owner, shed light on the growing demand for clay idols, underscoring their convenience during the immersion process.
One citizen, Khusbu Khandelwal, shared her delight in celebrating Ganeshotsav at home for the first time, opting for a clay idol to align with the eco-friendly approach. She emphasised the importance of making sustainable choices in festivities. In a similar vein, Vijay Jayram, another citizen, underscored the cultural significance of these traditions and expressed his commitment to passing down the practice of selecting clay idols to the next generation, ensuring a legacy of eco-conscious celebrations.