Immersion of Ganesh idols begins amid fanfare in Maharashtra
Several devotees performed the Koli dance, a traditional dance of the fishermen, at Lalbaughcha Raja pandal before the 'visarjan' procession began

The immersion processions of the idols of prominent Ganesh mandals in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra began this morning amid fanfare. Devotees thronged in large numbers to bid adieu to the idols of the elephant-headed God. Among the early starters for the immersion in the city were the Ganesh Galli Mandal and Lalbaughcha Raja which attracted lakhs of devotees during the Ganesh festival, that began on August 25 and concludes on 'Anant Chaturdashi' today.

Several devotees performed the Koli dance, a traditional dance of the fishermen, at the Lalbaughcha Raja pandal in central Mumbai before the 'visarjan' (immersion) procession began. In Solapur, the devotees took Ganesh idols from their homes and immersed them in the Siddheshwar lake. The immersion marks the end of the Ganesh festival, which was popularised by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to bring the people together to create a feeling of patriotism and fight the British Raj.

Over 7,600 Ganesh idols installed at public places and more than one lakh idols in homes will be immersed today, police said. The smaller idols will be immersed first, followed by the big ones like Lalbaugcha Raja, which will be immersed in the Arabian Sea at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), police, Coast Guard and Navy have made elaborate arrangements to ensure smooth and safe immersion of the idols. The prime locations for immersion are Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu beach, Powai lake, Dadar Chowpatty, Madh jetty and Marve in Malad.

The BMC has appealed devotees to inform the civic authorities as and when they need any assistance or if they are stung by jelly fish or sting ray. Police have beefed up security and companies of the State Reserve Police Force are also being deployed. Cranes, watchtowers, drones, CCTVs and floodlights have been arranged to keep a watch on every movement of the revellers and devotees, a police official earlier said.