Mandals are digging into their pockets to rope in skilled artisans Rupesh Pawar and Prakash Lahane, who use their expertise to take care of Ganpati's sartorial needs
Any king needs to step out in his royal finery in order to meet his ardent followers. Lord Ganpati is no exception.
So, meet Rupesh Pawar and Prakash Lahane, the lord's most trusted stylists, who take care of Ganpati's sartorial needs at mandals across the city.
Ramesh Pawar at the Lalbaugcha Raja and Prakash Lahane at Chinchpokli's Chintamani Mandal dressing up the Lord
The two have been pitted against each other this year, dressing up idols at rival mandals while Pawar has
taken on the challenging task of dressing up Lalbaugcha Raja, Lahane has been roped in to adorn Khetwadicha Raja.
Pawar is senior to Lahane with 19 years of experience, but the latter has steadily gained popularity ever since he bagged his first assignment five years back. While Pawar is a full time tailor at Lalbaug market, Lahane is a sketch artist. The remuneration for dressing up divinity is handsome, to say the least.
Lahane, a resident of Byculla, said, "There are some mandals in the city, which need the lord's pitambar to be changed every day. I choose the attire and adorn the lord with it, charging a sum of Rs 5,000 ever day."
This year, Lahane is dressing up about 20 idols every day. While he tends to the sartorial needs of idols in south Mumbai mandals, his workers commute to the north, such as Borivli and Malad.
Pawar, a resident of Lalbaug, said, "I have crossed the 250-mandal mark this year. I am regularly roped in for some prominent mandals, one of which is the Lalbaugcha Raja. I dress Him up twice every day, but free of cost."
Suresh Mathur, joint secretary of the Khetwadi mandal said, "Lahane has been associated with our mandal for four years. We have acquired popularity ever since, and won awards."
Rajendra Lanjwal, the treasurer at Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal said, "Pawar has been dressing our idol for 18-19 years. The mandal completely relies on his skill and expertise."