Chinchpokli mandal sets the stage for more Devi devotees

Noting that idol developed cracks owing to rush of crowds last year, organisers widen platform seating Goddess

Devotees who throng the Chinchpokli Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal every Navratri can now hope to jostle in some comfort even as they propitiate their favourite Goddess.

Taking note of the cheek by jowl crowds at the pandal every year, the organisers will now increase the size of the stage on which the Devi sits.

Chinchpokli Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal set up
the expanded stage for Navratri this year

For the over 20,000 ardent followers of the Goddess, the stage will now stretch itself to cover an area of 12x12 sq ft to 26x33 sq ft. This will be done for the first time in the 59 years of the mandal.

Last year's experience was an eye-opener for the organisers, who said many devotees were not able to worship or get a satisfactory glimpse of the Goddess owing to lack of space.

"We never thought of increasing the size of the stage, as we were not aware that crowds  would teem in such large numbers and that it would be difficult for us to handle them," said Shridhar Kadam, secretary, Chinchpokli Mandal.
"A huge crowd gravitates at the pandal because many of them commute to work via the Chinchpokli station.

It is just behind the pandal. For many, it is difficult to visit the big temples in the city during Navratri, and hence, they prefer coming to a big pandal."

Organisers said they didn't want a repeat of the experience last year, when cracks developed in the idol of the Goddess owing to rush of devotees on stage. Many had to go without a darshan, they said.

"We built a bigger stage this year because of the cracks we observed on the idol. Ritually, that was not correct," said Praneel Panchal, a member of the mandal.
"Many devotees came to our mandal and complained about the rush on the stage. Hence, we decided to build a big stage wherein every one can move freely and avail the Devi's darshan properly."

Fact file
The mandal does not organise a dandiya raas, as the lane its pandal is situated in is small.

The mandal's Ganpati idol was awarded the title of Mumbaicha Raja title during the Ganeshotsav, and it is the second mandal that was formed in the city since the festival became sarvajanik.
The mandal will also organise a Mahaprasad on the last day (October 5).

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