Ganesh Chaturthi is a spectacular festival, honoring the birth of Lord Ganesha. It is celebrated all over India, but the maximum grandeur is witnessed in Mumbai and across Maharashtra. This year too Mumbaikars with their undying spirit have left no stone unturned in welcoming their beloved Lord Ganesha. Pandals across Mumbai are known to thematically represent the current social issues that the city faces through tableaux, paintings and decorations.
This Ganesh utsav one of the mandals in the city will hold a special aarti to pray for those who are hit by malaria since the disease is cause of grave concern. An organiser of the mandal informed that last year, they had a special puja for swine flu.
At Andheri, a replica of the famous Somnath temple has been created by the suburbs' most famous mandal -- the Andhericha Raja Sarvajnik Ganeshotsav Mandal. Mr. Uday Salian, PRO and media co-coordinator of this mandal informed that a sprawling 40x15 sand sculpture of Lord Ganesha has been carved on it by none other than Asia's first sand sculptor, Mr. Manmohan Mahapatra. The idea is to promote and the keep the art of sand sculpture alive...
GSB Seva Mandal of Matunga is one of the richest mandal in Mumbai and is noted for eco-friendly celebrations. The huge clay idol is richly adorned with 60 kilograms of gold and 175 kilograms of silver. Mr. Satish Nayak, President of this mandal informed that for the first time ever, it has secured an insurance cover for Rupees 49.5 crore…
Queuing up to get a darshan of the city’s most famous Lalbaugcha Raja is all set to become much more bearable this year as the mandal has made the entire 60,000 sq ft pandal air-conditioned. Devotees will be provided tea, snacks and packaged water bottles in the queue. Mr. Satish Khankar, president of Lalbaugcha Raja mandal, informed that they have also arranged for medical facilities and hi-tech security measures have been taken to provide better facilities to devotees, as lakhs of them visit this famous place every year…
Keeping abreast with the environmental issues this year more and more people are opting for eco-friendly Ganesha idols. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also appealed Mumbaikars to use eco-friendly Ganesh idols and artificial ponds for immersion to curb pollution. The civic body along with other organizations has also initiated a campaign called as Smoke Free Mumbai (SFM) under which a ‘Smoke Free Ganesh Mandal’ competition will be held. If Ganesh mandals respond actively to this competition, there will be no banners advertising tobacco and cigarettes outside pandals this year.
Besides this, Ganpati mandals and families going to immerse the elephant lord will have help of all kinds at hand to make the process safer and greener. From sending out special boats and lifeguards to collecting and segregating all non-degradable holy offerings before immersion, some non-governmental organisations in the city such as Clean Mumbai Foundation (CMF) are putting more than their little bit to help the civic body manage thousands of idol immersions. Ms. Kunti Oza, Head of CMF informed that the NGO has deployed several volunteers on various beaches of the city to help in this initiative…
When freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak hyped the Ganesha festival into a large-scale celebration to unite people in the name of god, no one imagined it would become so popular.
In and around Pune city there are nearly 600 Ganesh Mandals. About 20 mandals have been celebrating this festival for more hundred years. This festival reflects the social and political changes in our society. Kasba Ganapati & Tambadi Jogeshwari are gramdevatas of Pune at the same time Shrimant Dagadusheth Halwai Trust, Akhil Mandai Mandal, Tulshibaug, Guruji Talim, Hatti Ganpati are prominent. The peculiarity of Ganesh festival in Pune is in its decorations rather then big idols. Here, the Ganesh idols are comparatively smaller than Mumbai. Pune’s Ganesh Festival, which is popularly known as ‘Ganesh Utsav’, is full of colorful lights & socially awaking decorations.
The Ganesh Mandal’s like Shirmant Dagadusheth Halwai Trust, Akhil Mandai Mandal, Hirabaug are famous for their huge decoration. There is tradition of two separate decorations, one for ten days festival & other for immersion ceremony on last day. Many Mandal’s in Pune have made different types of decorations which includes the subjects like social evils, mythological stories, political satires and nation’s achievements in various fields.
The Ganesh idols are usually made from Plaster of Paris. This material is not environment friendly as it does not de- composes in water very easily. Moreover the many coloures used for idols, causes water pollutions after their immersion. Hence, eco friendly Ganesh idols are getting popular. Most of the residents and even some mandals prefer the idols made from sand rather then PoP. Number of mandals do various social services during thie festive season like free ambulance service, eye & blood donation camps, health checkup camps on regular basis. Last year, the festival has over shadowed by the Swine Flu pandemic. Many Manadals had cancelled their decorations & gave donations to control the pandemic.
As we all know, this festival is started by Late Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who firmly believed in the socialization of Ganesh pooja and utilized this opportunity to mobilize masses for freedom struggle. With the changing time, the festival has geared up for new challenges and the legacy is continuing.
Sweety Kothari, Air, Mumbai
Mahesh Iyengar, Air, Pune