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Mumbai: Devotion and decorations on display as Ganesh festival begins

September 19, 2023 12:28 pm | Updated 12:28 pm IST - Mumbai

Idols in various shapes and sizes were installed at several households and in pandals against the backdrop of elaborate decorations

A young pedestrian looks at an idol of Ganesha being transported to a worship venue through a busy street on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, on Sept. 18, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Mumbai is steeped in devotion to welcome the annual homecoming of Lord Ganesh as the 10-day festival began on September 19 amid fanfare and gaiety.

Idols in various shapes and sizes were installed at several households and in pandals against the backdrop of elaborate decorations based on myriad themes ranging from the Chandrayaan-3 launch to Ayodhya's Ram Mandir.

Families, including children as well as senior citizens, stepped out of their homes early morning to bring their beloved "bappa" home amid chants of "Ganpati Bappa Morya" and the beating of drums.

Many people were seen carrying the idols of Lord Ganesh in autorickshaws, cars, and other modes of transport.

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Several politicians and celebrities from Bollywood install idols of the deity of wisdom and knowledge in their homes every year.

While many famous Ganeshas are installed in pandals in the early morning hours in Mumbai, including the most famous Lalbaugcha Raja, many idols were being taken out from workshops to the pandals in processions.

People will be allowed to take darshan of the deity at pandals after the puja is performed as per the muhurat, an organiser said.

A total of 2,729 'sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandals' have been permitted to organise public Ganesh festivities by erecting 'pandals', the city civic body said on September 18.

To maintain security during the festival that sees lakhs of people visiting pandals in ten days, more than 13,750 police personnel have been deployed in the city, an official said.

They comprise 11,726 constables, 2,024 officers from the rank of sub-inspector to the assistant commissioner and 15 deputy commissioners, he said on September 18.

Notifications issued by the traffic police listed several moves for a smooth flow of vehicles in the metropolis, including a ban on heavy vehicles on certain days.

Immersion day (September 28) will see a larger presence of police on the ground and manpower details being chalked out, the official informed.

Ganesh festivities are the most patronised in Mumbai, with idols of Lord Ganesh being installed in pandals and at homes.

Mumbaikars have been thronging the popular shopping spots of the city at Dadar, Crawford Market, and Lohar Chawl, to buy decor items, flowers, and puja materials among other festival paraphernalia.

People are in for a visual treat this year, as the city's Ganesh mandals have come up with fascinating thematic decorations for their pandals.

Pandal-hoppers will get to see themes of the Chandrayaan-3 launch, Ayodhya Ram Temple, and the 350th anniversary of the coronation of warrior-king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, showcased by big mandals or pandals in the city.

A large number of devotees are expected to visit Lalbaug in central Mumbai to catch a glimpse of Lalbaugcha Raja, one of the most celebrated Ganeshas of the city, followed by GSB Seva Mandal's Ganpati in Matunga, which is considered the richest and known for its grandeur.

The GSB Seva Mandal's 'Mahaganpati' will this year be resplendent in 66.5 kilograms of gold ornaments, more than 295 kgs of silver as well as other precious items.

Other famous Ganesh mandals are in Chinchpokli, Ganesh Gully and Tejukaya.

Apart from these, people will also get to see the city's tallest Ganesha at 45 feet in the Khetwadi area of Girgaum.

A BMC release said a special cleanliness drive was undertaken in Mumbai on September 17 as a part of the Union government's 'Indian Cleanliness League 2.0', an intercity cleanliness competition.

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