Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated across country, Mumbai Pandals decline

RSTV Bureau
An artist making an 'eco-friendly' Ganesh idol with rice in Thane on Thursday.

An artist making an ‘eco-friendly’ Ganesh idol with rice in Thane on Thursday.

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated across the county today. However, a sharp decline has been registered in the number of the Pandals organising the event in Mumbai, a city which is famous world over for organising the Ganeshotsav with grandeur.

The people of Mumbai Friday welcomed Lord Ganesh with the deity’s idols – from small to grand and decked up in vibrant colours – installed in thousands of households and various pandals in the city.

This Ganesh Chaturthi marks the 125th celebration of the festival after freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak called upon the people in 1892 to turn the private, household festival into a gala event.

The festivities began this morning with ‘Ganesh sthapna’ (installation of the idol) followed by prayers.

People stood in long queues to offer payers to their favourite God at the famous pandals of Lalbaugcha Raja pandal, Keshavji Naik Chawl at Girgaum, Mumbaicha Raja, Parelcha Raja, Andhericha Raja and Tilak Nagar mandal.

“Till last evening, 935 mandals were given permission by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) while applications for setting ups 911 mandals were still pending.

Last year, 1,393 mandals were given permission,” a senior civic official said.

This year the number of applications received by the BMC saw a decline, he said.

A Ganesha Idol being taken to the pandal on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Nagpur on Thursday.

A Ganesha Idol being taken to the pandal on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Nagpur on Thursday.

He said civic officials have been asked to keep a close watch on the organisers and their activities and to check the pandals set up illegally.

“With a view to popularise the festival among foreign tourists, the BMC along with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will set up a ‘shamiana’ (makeshift ceremonial tent or structure) at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai to witness the religious fervour and ‘visarjan’ (immersion of idols),” he said.

Girgaum Chowpatty is a key spot for the immersion of idols in the city.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Rashmi Karandikar, the spokesperson of Mumbai police, yesterday said elaborate security arrangements have been put in place across the city for the festival.

Prominent mandals have been asked to install CCTV cameras, while adequate police force has been deployed at multiple spots and the pandals receiving high footfall.

To prevent noise pollution during the festival, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, the umbrella body of Ganpati mandals in Mumbai, has appealed to the organisers to keep the sound level of loudspeakers low.

“The mandals have been asked to follow the rules and keep the sound level low in the best possible way and cooperate with the police and the BMC,” the samiti’s president Naresh Dahibhavkar told media.

The celebrations will culminate on September 5 with the immersion of idols of the elephant-headed deity in different water bodies here.

While the big mandals perform the immersion on the last day, small organisers and people setting up the idols at home generally do it either after one-and-a-half day, third, fifth or seventh day.