United by love of the lord

MiD DAY gives you a glimpse of two Sarvajanik Ganapati Mandals; at one place the model of Hanuman moves, while at the other the deity moves people from all communities and builds bridges of harmony

Akra Maruti Kopara Jai Bharat Mitra Mandal
Where: near Mahatma Phule Vegetable market, Sukrawar Peth 
About the Mandal: The mandal was formed in 1934 by the residents of the area. With about 300 volunteers, the mandal has been celebrating Ganesh Utsav with great gusto every year. The members mostly residents from Shukrawar Peth have been staying in this area for generations.
Theme: This year, the
mandal has created a moving statue of Hanumanji at the entrance. This statue is a whopping 56 ft that stand in the night, while it measures 40 ft, when it is kneeling in the day. The Ganesh idol is made by a Kalyan based artist, Ullash Uttekar along with 18 other artists, over a period of four months.
Security: There are about 50 volunteers working in shifts all through the day. Since the mandal is built on a narrow street, volunteers also manage the traffic.

Vaibhav Mitra Mandal
Where: Dhamdhere Bol, Budhwar Peth
About the Mandal: This is the only Ganapati mandal in the city where over 3000 sex workers and 250 eunuchs participate every year. This 43-year-old-mandal is known as the 'all religion Ganpati mandal' since Hindus, Muslims and Christians staying in this area come together to celebrate the festival.
Theme: Believing in Lokmanya Tilak's ideology of celebrating the festival, poojas and aartis are performed in the presence of sex workers and eunuchs since 1968. Due to a space crunch in this area, the pandal is erected 10 feet above the road to allow vehicles to pass under it. With a budget of Rs 3 lakh, the idol that is adorned in gold and silver jewellry is kept in an elaborate metal frame.
Security: There is no special security arrangement for the mandal, the people of Dhamdhere Bol are awake all round the clock. They inform the nearby police chowky, incase of any suspicious activity.

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