MUMBAI: The fourth day of the holy month of Bhadrapad (Monday) brings with it Maharashtra’s most awaited festival of Ganeshotsav. Ganpati pandals led by Lalbaugcha Raja will open their doors early Monday morning for ten days of prayer and festivity.
As always dusty street corners have transformed into amazing temples and palaces, theme parks and heritage sites. The mill workers’ belt of Girangaon encompassing Parel-Lalbaug has a plethora of talent. Chinchpokli Cha Chintamani has crafted the Universe as a backdrop while Lal Maidan has turned the muddy ground into a Mastani Mahal.
Lalbaug’s pride Ganesh Gully houses its deity in a Badrinath temple replica. Across the road, Tejukaya is celebrating its golden jubilee with the Lord riding a bullock cart. The theme sympathizes with the drought stricken farmers who keenly await relief and divine intervention. Over in Chandanwadi, the organizers are exhorting visitors to join the cause for a unified rather than fragmented Maharashtra and Vidarbha in the interest of farmers. Khetwadi with its 14 lanes offers a spectrum of idols ranging from 20-25 ft. One is cast in the Tandavroopi Ganesh form with ten arms, another is housed in a RomanRajasthani palace. Over in south Mumbai, the Fort Ichhapurti mandal has erected a single-storey palace with the help of Rajasthani artistes who work exclusively with this pandal in the city.
Siddhivinayak temple has installed a paper pulp Ganesh for the first time. The idol reportedly dissolves faster than natural clay. The temple commonly organizes a series of musical and cultural events through Ganeshotsav as each day sees thousands of devotees arrive to seek darshan
Housing society pandals are throwing up astounding shows of creativity as well. The popular Jiten society Ganpati near Bhavan’s College in Andheri has devised a six-storey gateway of the Garud temple of Bali. “Passengers who travel by the Metro can see it at eye level,” said organizer Uday Singh.
Jiten’s pandal is a marvel in thermocol. A giant bell carved with female goddesses welcomes visitors to a replica of the Ellora caves. Inside, art director Prasad Mane has created perfect likenesses of the Ekvira shrine, Khandoba temple of Jejuri and Suchindram temple of Tamil Nadu. Singh’s children Priya and Rohan show pictures of the original and laughingly challenge you to spot the difference. The suburbs have afair share of glamour as well. The Upanagarcha Raja of Magathane, Borivli, is a 24ft giant, the tallest in the suburbs its owners claim, while Andheri has the Andhericha Raja that sits in a model of Sindhudurg’s Kunkeshwar Shiv. Old traditions are seldom trifled with this day. People commonly avoid glancing at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi.