Official says celebratory spirit at an all-time high after the pandemic
This year, the number of immersions in artificial lakes exceeded that of last year. File pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
The number of idols in the Mumbai region has significantly increased this year after nearly seven years. Approximately 2.06 lakh idols were immersed by 12 pm on Friday, a notable rise from last year’s count of around 1.93 lakh idols. Out of the 2.06 lakh idols, only 76,000 found their way into artificial ponds, a slight increase compared to the previous year.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plays a pivotal role in managing immersion activities across the city. They prepare natural immersion spots at beaches, ponds, and provide artificial ponds. Furthermore, they meticulously count the number of idols being immersed. According to BMC data, this year, a total of 2,05,772 idols, including 10,501 sarvajanik idols, were immersed during the festival, spread across 199 artificial ponds and 72 natural spots. The surge in the number of idols marks a significant departure from the stagnation seen in previous years since 2017, except for the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021.
One of the city’s idol makers remarked, “Many devotees worship Ganpati for three years as mannat. Many have left Mumbai and settled in the MMR. So the number of Ganesh idols keeps fluctuating. However, this year, the numbers have surged,” said one of the city’s idol makers.
Naresh Dahibavkar, the president of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, pointed out, “In 2017-2018, many buildings in south Mumbai were in the development stage, leading to a reduction in the number of sarvjanik and household idols. It’s possible that these buildings have now been redeveloped, contributing to the rise in numbers. Moreover, after the pandemic, the celebratory spirit is at an all-time high.”
An official from the BMC explained, “We count the idols at immersion spots. Although it’s not 100 per cent accurate, it provides us with an idea of the trend and enables us to make necessary arrangements at these spots. We can also increase the number of artificial ponds based on the response we receive.”
In recent years, the trend of worshipping metal idols or immersing clay idols at home or within societies has gained popularity. These idols are not included in the official immersion count. Additionally, smaller idols with sarvajanik idols are categorised under the sarvajanik category, which means that even though the count of sarvajanik Ganesh idols exceeds 10,000, the actual number of pandals is nearly half of that figure.
This year, the number of immersions in artificial lakes exceeded that of the previous year, with 37 per cent of idols immersed in man-made ponds. Immersing idols in artificial ponds helps prevent water pollution and offers a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of the remains. The BMC had planned to provide over 300 ponds this year, but due to space constraints, the number remained below 200. The increase in artificial immersions can be attributed to the COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021.
No. of idols immersed