Ganpati devotees take a rain check
Only 40% of the expected turnout made it to Siddhivinayak temple on the occasion of Angarki Sankashti; authorities blame rains, disrupted traffic and poor train services
It’s not just your commute to work and back that Monday’s heavy showers dampened — the deluge also played spoilsport for many devotees of Lord Ganpati, who couldn’t make it to Siddhivinayak Temple to get darshan of their Lord on a holy day.
Monday happened to be Angarki Sankashti, one of the holy days in the calendar for Ganpati devotees. The expected turnout for the day was over 17 lakh, but the deluge, and the pandemonium that ensued at railway stations and waterlogged roads, forced them to take a rain check.
Crowds started thronging the temple from the wee hours on Monday, after the gates were thrown open for darshan from 1.30 am. But as the rains started pouring, devotees found it impossible to stand in the queue and left.
The temple trust had geared up for Angarki Sankashti and had built a huge pandal spanning 50,000 square feet for the day, to accommodate the crowds. Hardly three rows of chairs in the pandal were filled.
The authorities blamed the rains and the disrupted traffic and train services for the poor turnout. Deputy executive officer Satish Mali said, “We were expecting crowds of over 17 lakh, but only about 40 per cent turned up. We had made all the preparations, and had even increased our security arrangements for the day, but due to heavy rains all our arrangements went in vain.”
But the rains turned out to be a blessing in disguise for those who did manage to weather the flooded streets and make it to Dadar for darshan. The devotees present at Siddhivinayak were a happy lot, as for once, they didn’t have to wait in serpentine queues for darshan and breezed through in a couple of hours. Many devotees were fasting, and were pleasantly surprised when they got a good glimpse of the lord after standing in queue for just a couple of hours. Usually, each devotee waits for eight to 10 hours for darshan.
Ratna Joshi: I have been a regular visitor there but I have never managed to get darshan in two hours. But it was possible yesterday because of the rains. I feel so lucky to be going home early.
Pravin Shinde, college student: I went directly from college, thinking that I might not get darshan if I went back home. But luckily I got darshan in three hours. Last year, it took me about eight hours to reach the main mandap in the main queue.