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Ganesh mandal Andhericha Raja wants devotees to donate only in gold!

The mandal, which banned devotees wearing short dresses in 2012, now wants donations only in gold for their 2015 golden jubilee celebrations

Since 2012, this mandal banned devotees wearing short dresses from entering their mandal. Now, members of the Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, popularly known as Andhericha Raja, will urge devotees to donate only gold so they can build a gold headgear for the idol next year, to mark their golden jubilee.

Model Poonam Pandey
Model Poonam Pandey at the Andheri Mandal in 2011

As the city’s 11,000 ganesh mandals prepare for the festival, the Andheri mandal is focussed on its 2015 preparations. The Andheri mandal will soon put up banners to seek donations in gold, and is rather confident that they will collect enough over this year’s 11-day festival itself.

In 2012, the mandal banned devotees in short dresses from seeking the idol’s blessings. Sources in the mandal recalled that the organisers implemented the ban after model Poonam Pandey visited the venue in a pair of shorts in 2011.

Strangely, Uday Salian, the mandal’s spokesperson, said he believes devotees will respond because “their ban on devotees dressed in short skirts went down well with people”. “Our ban of short clothes went down well with people, and we got a good response. So, we expect that devotees will also contribute to bappa’s gold mukut,” said Salian.

Big-bucks god
King Circle’s Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandal plans to pay more premium than it did last year — Rs 223 crore — to insure the idol, its gold ornaments and devotees.

The Lalbaug Sarvajanik Ganeshutsav, however, will pay the same amount as last year — Rs 51 crore — and will pay a premium of Rs 12.81 lakh for two months. The mandal has also sought insurance worth Rs 10 crore against an untoward incident in the city, like a terrorist attack, stampede, drowning incidents and others. The Lalbaug Sarvajanik Samiti (Ganesh Galli) and Andhericha Raja Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti have insured their idols and devotees for Rs 9 crore and Rs 3 crore respectively.

Satish Nayak, member of the GSB Ganesh Utsav Samiti, Wadala, said the mandal will determine the insurance money in two days. “We are yet to decide on the insurance amount as we are in the process of calculating the value of the idol’s jewellery, but it will surely be more than last year. We usually insure the idol for 15 days.”

Sudhir Salvi, secretary of the Lalbaug Ganeshostav Mandal, said, “Our idol will be insured for the same amount as last year, but we will insure the devotees for a higher amount because we expect a larger turnout. We will also have an additional insurance of R10 crore in case of an untoward incident during the idol’s immersion.”

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