Ganesh Chaturthi 2018: Mumbaikars welcome Lord Ganesha in grand style

Updated: Sep 15, 2018, 07:49 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

As Lord Ganesha takes residence today for the 11-day festival, Mumbai and its citizens welcome Bappa with fun and fervour

Lalbaugh Cha Raja
Lalbaugh Cha Raja

Mumbaikars and people across the state of Maharashtra are all set to welcome the popular elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, during the 10-day long festival. Also known as Ganesh Chaturthi, the biggest public is set to go underway from today. Around a million gigantic, big and small idols of Lord Ganesha shall adorn homes of commoners, celebrities, industrialists and politicians, housing complexes, private and public companies, besides the huge or gigantic ones that will take residence at the pandals organised by Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandals all over the city and the state.

While specialists and artists have already given the final touches to the idols of Lord Ganesha; many pandals and housing complexes have already started transporting their idols in trucks, tempos, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, while some will be seen carrying them on their heads to their homes, amidst chants of "Ganpati Bappa Morya..."!

This year, especially in Mumbai, the Ganesh Chaturthi 2018 celebrations coincide with the Jain holy month of fasting during Paryushan, the ongoing week-long Mt. Mary Church annual fair in Bandra also known as Bandra Fair and Muharram on September 20.

Ganesh Chaturthi 2018

With Bappa taking residence today, the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations will be a fun fare for 11 days until the immersion of Ganesh idols also popularly known as Ganpati Visarjan will take place on September 23. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi was started on a modest note by freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893 to rally the masses against the British rule. This year the Ganesh Utsav festival enters in its 126th year!

Naresh Dahibhavkar, President of the BrihanMumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS) told IANS, “It is estimated that this year 300,000-plus big and small idols of Lord Ganesha shall be installed in the city in private and public venues and across Maharashtra.”

Special prayer ceremonies shall be performed at various Ganesha Temples, including the Siddhivinayak Temple, Ganesh Mandir in Goregaon and Borivali and the Ashtavinayak Temples. Flowers, sweets, lights, and decorations that form the pillars of Ganesh festival have become far more expensive than last year and with plastic ban into effect, it seems like the prices of Ganpati decoration and other items will be skyrocketed tossing all budgets haywire.

He further added, “Flowers are five times costlier, sweets especially 'modak' are more than double, dry fruits cost even higher, lighting and decorations are also much expensive. This year we are cutting corners without affecting the festivities. This is due to the exorbitant petrol-diesel-gas prices and spiralling inflation.”

As chants of 'Ganpati Bappa Morya' fill the air, make sure you visit the popular pandals of Mumbai. Ganesh Galli Cha Raja, Bandra West Cha Raja, Andheri Cha Raja, Parel Cha Raja, Chinchpokli Cha Raja are few of the popular Ganesh pandals that you should definitely visit this year during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

Ganesh Galli

Lalbaugcha Raja First Look Unveiled In Mumbai:
The first look of one of Mumbai's most famous Sarvajanik Ganpatis, Lalbaugcha Raja was unveiled on September 11 in the city of Mumbai. The Lalbaugcha Raja idol completes 84 years this year. The Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh idol is visited by about 1.5 million devotees during the 11-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Lalbaughcha Raja was started way back in 1934 at the Lalbaug market in Parel. Lalbaugcha Raja is also considered as 'Navsacha Ganpati', which means the fulfiller of all wishes.

Besides Lalbaughcha Raja, the city also witnessed the first look of one of Mumbai's most famous and one of the oldest Sarvajanik Ganpatis, ‘Ganesh Galli Cha Raja’ also popularly known as 'Mumbai Cha Raja' on the same day. Founded in 1928, the Ganesh Galli pandal will be celebrating its 91st Ganpati festival this year. Interestingly, it is just a few lanes away from the most popular pandal in Mumbai, Lalbaug Cha Raja.

Mumbai Police

Mumbai Police up and ready for Bappa’s security:
According to midday sources, there are 6.4K Sarvajanik Ganpati Mandals in the city. With an additional 1.5 lakh Households that will bring Ganpati idols to their home. In order to give a safe and secure journey to Lord Ganesha, the Mumbai Police has deployed 52 thousand police personnel to look after the affairs of Ganesh Chaturthi this year.

Over the next 11 days, the police force will not only undertake several nakabandi and bandobast preparations but will also seal off 53 roads to all vehicles, to ensure the safety of Ganpati processions across the city. A total of 5 thousand CCTV surveillance cameras will monitor the situation during the Ganesh Visarjan and make sure that Lord Ganesha has a safe and fruitful stay not only in the hearts of the devotees but even in the city of Mumbai. 162 is the number of visarjan points that have been identified by the Mumbai police. Weekly days off and holidays have been canceled for the entire police department.

Along with cops from the local police stations, the Local Armed Police, State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), Riot Control Police, Quick Response Team (QRT), Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) and the Civil Defence force will also be deployed across the nooks and corners of the city. 11 DCP-level officers and more than 80 others will be deployed for the security of Parel's Lalbaugcha Raja alone.

Traffic arrangements:
The Mumbai Police will be having five traffic police control rooms set up at important immersion spots such as Girgaum Chowpatty, Shivaji Park Chowpatty, Bada Masjid in Bandra, Juhu Chowpatty and Ganesh Ghat in Powai to monitor the traffic situation across the city during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi and especially for Ganesh Visarjan 2018. Approximately 3,161 traffic officers and 1,570 traffic wardens will regulate traffic flow on the ground, as well as monitor movement from watch towers especially constructed for the Ganesh festival across the city.

Ganesh Visarjan

Ganesh Chaturthi celebration across Maharashtra:
While Mumbai is all geared up to welcome Bappa, hectic preparations are underway in other prominent cities of Maharashtra like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Kolhapur. The coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra where Ganeshotsav is the most important festival in the annual calendar, surpassing even Diwali will be witnessing millions of Konkanites working in urban centres like Mumbai, Thane, Pune, and other places coming back to their villages to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with much fun and fervour.

Just like in the past, this year too the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corp (MTDC) has made special arrangements for domestic and foreign tourists with special bus tours to important venues, walking trips, exclusive viewing galleries during immersion and other activities.

Shilpa Shetty

B-Towns ‘Bappa’ connection:
Bollywood and the festival of Lord Ganesha form an integral and inseparable relationship that is never-ending. Besides Bollywood songs, aartis and more on Lord Ganesha; this year too we will see top celebrity families like the Mangeshkar’s, Khan’s, Roshan’s and more bring home Lord Ganesha during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Bollywood celebrities such as Shilpa Shetty, Nana Patekar, Salman Khan, Govinda, Madhuri Dixit Nene and more bring Lord Ganesha home during the festival and bid adieu to their favourite Bappa after the 11 days are over.

Many Bollywood celebrities such as Ajay Devgn, Priyanka Chopra, Emraan Hashmi, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and other Bollywood celebs are also seen offering their prayers to Bappa at eminent Ganpati pandals especially Lalbaughcha Raja in Mumbai.

With inputs from IANS

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