Craftsmen are working at a frenetic pace at the Navdurga Mitra mandal to create a pandal resembling a Rajasthani palace; the 13-ft idol is the most imposing in the area

Preparations are on in full speed at Chembur's Navdurga Mitra Mandal, where artists are working at break neck speed to make the ethos of royal Rajasthan come alive in its pandal this Navratri festival. The mandal has chosen to celebrate Navratri in true blue Rajasthani style, constructing a pandal replete with different aspects of Rajathani palaces.

Wah raj! The skilled artisans work tirelessly at the Navdurga Mitra
Mandal in Chembur. PIC/SAMEER MARKANDE

Some 100 skilled artisans have worked tirelessly for 15 days, to give shape to their vision. The mandal, in its 17th year now, has earned popularity for its unique theme-based pandals every year. The pandal will be thrown open to devotees on September 28, and devotees can take darshan anytime over the following nine days. The mandal is expecting footfalls of over 20,000 visitors every day. "For the convenience of the devotees, we will install two LED screens in the mandal. We are also planning an eco friendly visarjan at a special pond in Mulund,' said Nandu Kadam, secretary of the mandal.

An imposing 13-ft idol of the goddess, fashioned by well-known idol maker Vijay Khatu and his team, will be placed at the pandal today, the tallest in the area. The mandal has spent Rs 15 lakh to construct the edifice.

"Every year, we create something extraordinary for the devotees of Devi Maa and this year is no exception. We always try to come up with something unique. For the decorations, we are trying to replicate the sculptures in temples. The entire structure will be made of ply, thermocol and plaster. We recycle the materials every year," said Prasenjit Chanda, the art director for the mandal.