It is soon going to be that time of the year when chants of “Ganpati Bappa Moraya” reverberate in the air. Especially if you happen to be in Mumbai, that seems to be immersed in an unmatchable fervour during Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival that marks the homecoming of the remover of obstacles, Lord Ganesha. The city is dotted with ornate and resplendent pandals as enthusiastic revellers dance in the festive mood. From replicating the set of Bollywood movies to echoing environmental concerns, every pandal has its own theme. Don’t forget to check out these iconic Ganesh Chaturthi pandals this season:
1. Lalbaugcharaja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Lalbaug
Long unending queues at this pandal will tell you of its popularity. And why not? Running since last 85 years, Lalbaugcha Raja is considered to be a Ganpati who fulfils wishes. Most devotees wait upto 24 hours just to have a glimpse. It was started by the vendors of Peru Chawl way back in 1934, who had vowed that they would put up a Ganpati pandal if their shops were returned to them. After sustained efforts by local leaders and residents, they were given a permanent marketplace, the present-day Lalbaug market.
2. Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, Ganesh Galli
A few lanes away from Lalbaugcharaja, is the crowd pulling Ganesh Chaturthi pandal that is proudly inching towards its 100th year. Founded in 1928, it is famous for creating replicas of famous temples during the 10 day long festival. Last year, it recreated Sripuram temple in Vellore and in 2017 paid an ode to Dinanath Velling, the sculptor who created the mandal idols in the early years of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
3. Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Girgaum
Started by well known freedom fighter, Lokmanya Tilak in 1893, this Ganpati pandal is one of the oldest in the city. In 2017, they made a replica of Ganpatipule Temple, Ratnagiri and gifted devotees paper bags with plant seeds to promote their theme of environment and tree conservation.
4. Chinchpoklicha Raja
Also known as Chinchpoklicha Chintamani, this pandal is famous for its 18 feet Ganesh idol made by the late Vijay Khatu every year. The 2017 idol was the last made by Khatu and the first one to be completed by his daughter. It is one of the Ganesh Chaturthi pandals that firmly believes in giving back to the society. Every year the mandal spends 60 percent of the money collected, on social service initiatives throughout the year, such as helping Adivasis, running a nursery and a library.
5. Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, Andheri
Want to catch a glimpse of a few of your favorite celebrities this Ganesh Chaturthi? Be sure to visit this pandal, where while waiting to offer your prayers to Lord Ganesha, you might get lucky and spot a Bollywood actor or more. Called as Andhericharaja, the idol of this Ganpati pandal looks the same every year and wears a 3.1 kg crown, which was made using gold donations received from 3,000 Mumbaiites on its 50th anniversary.
6. Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti, King’s Circle
This Ganesh Chaturthi pandal believes in going regal to appease the gods. Known far and wide for its gold idol of Lord Ganesha, it also strongly upholds the tradition of eco-friendly celebrations. Deeply conventional in its nature, not only are poojas performed fill full religious dictum, devotees are to strictly abide by the rules when participating in any religious activities. In 2017, even when noise pollution norms were relaxed, this mandal hosted a silent procession for immersion.
7. Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle, Fort
If there was just one word to describe this Ganpati pandal, it would be grandiose. Fortcha Icchapurti as it is called, is renowned for making replicas of various palaces. While in 2016 a large 40-feet elephant gate was built at the entrance, in 2017 a replica of Bikaner Palace with marble effects was constructed by art director Anant Savant and his team from Rajasthan.
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