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Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: Here’s your guide to Mumbai’s top 10 Ganpati pandals

It is that time of the year when the words ‘Ganpati Bappa’ get an instant response of ‘Morya’ from every corner of Mumbai city.

The idols and pandals that artists, sculptors, volunteers and vendors have been working on for months, will finally come alive during the 10-day long, larger-than-life celebrations. Live screening Chandrayaan-2’s journey, recreating famous palace and temples, getting Bappa into designer-wear and adorning him with gold, diamond and jewels — each pandal across the city has stepped up its game this year.

At the same time, in the wake of the massive destruction caused by the floods that hit Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara districts last month, many mandals, such as Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, have cut back on their expenses to contribute to flood-relief measures. Some like Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle will also set up fund collection counters to donate to flood-hit victims.

Meanwhile, like last year, most pandals will be keeping the festivities eco-friendly. Goud Saraswat Brahmin (Gsb) Seva Mandal, King’s Circle, has installed plastic crushers in its premises to encourage citizens to dispose plastic responsibly and switch to environment-friendly alternatives.

Here are the top 10 Ganesh mandals in Mumbai this year:

1. Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, Ganesh Galli

The oldest mandal in Lalbaugh which puts up different kinds of LED lights every year to lead devotees to their pandal, have a special lighting this year. After replicating Surya Mandir of Gwalior last year and Sripuram Golden Temple of Vellor the year before, this year a Ram Mandir has been erected. The idol is 22-feet long and looks like Lord Rama.

“Every year we honour people from different fields, last year it was women from different walks of life, which included women staff of Matunga station. This year, we will honouring reporters who covered Sangli floods, apart from Mumbai police,” said Swapnil Parab, secretary, Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal.

As a countdown towards its centenary year celebrations, the mandal has decided to promote social activities such as blood camps and health camps in its pandal.

2. Lalbaughcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Lalbaug

 Lalbaugcha Raja  is one of the most-visited Ganesh mandals in Mumbai.

Lalbaugcha Raja is one of the most-visited Ganesh mandals in Mumbai.

Considered to be the wish-fulfilling Ganpati, devotees wait in long queues each year to get a glimpse of Lalbaugcha Raja. The story dates back to 1932, when vendors of Peru Chawl had vowed to put up a Ganpati pandal if their shops were returned to them at the present-day Lalbaug market. This year, organisers have recreated space through LED screens. “Once Chandrayaan-2 lands on moon on September 7, we want Bappa to bless ISRO in their mission,” said Balasaheb Kamble, mandal president.

A hub for celebrity-spotting during Ganesh Chaturthi, the pandal is themed on the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga of Ujjain this year. “Our team visited the temple and took special permissions to click pictures to replicate the temple. The trustees of Ujjain temple will also visit the pandal,” said mandal spokesperson Uday Salian. The idol of this mandal is trademarked. The puja was started by workers of Golden Tobacco Company, Tata Special Steel and Excel Industries Ltd in 1975, when they pledged that if the long strike of the companies end, they would keep the idol for 16 days. Clothes above knee-length are not allowed at this pandal.

3.Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, Andheri

The Andhericha Raja Muka Darshan at Andheri(W) in Mumbai.

The Andhericha Raja Muka Darshan at Andheri(W) in Mumbai.

A hub for celebrity-spotting during Ganesh Chaturthi, the pandal is themed on the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga of Ujjain this year. “Our team visited the temple and took special permissions to click pictures to replicate the temple. The trustees of Ujjain temple will also visit the pandal,” said mandal spokesperson Uday Salian. The idol of this mandal is trademarked. The puja was started by workers of Golden Tobacco Company, Tata Special Steel and Excel Industries Ltd in 1975, when they pledged that if the long strike of the companies end, they would keep the idol for 16 days. Clothes above knee-length are not allowed at this pandal.

4. Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Girgaum

Hindustantimes

The chawl is where Ganpati festivities in the city began, and the organisers believe that they need to continue the celebrations in a traditional way. This mandal was also visited by Lokmanya Tilak. They murti at this mandal is made of shadu clay and the organisers opt for minimal decorations. Their pandal will be given a look of the temple.

Two years back, when the mandal completed 125 years, they had a grand celebration; otherwise the celebrations are usually low-key. However, this year, the mandal saved some money of the decoration to donate a computer, water purifier and stationary to flood affected people in Maharashtra.

“Our aagman and visarjan procession of the idol has a traditional touch to it, because we call dhol tasha pathaks and have lezime dance,” said Ashok Pednekar, secretary.

5. Chinchpokli Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal

First Look of "Chintamani" of Chinchpokli Sarvjanik Utsav Mandal at Chinchpokli in Mumbai.

First Look of “Chintamani” of Chinchpokli Sarvjanik Utsav Mandal at Chinchpokli in Mumbai.

Celebrating its centenary year, organisers of Chinchpokli cha Chintamani have lined up larger than life celebrations this year. Over the last two years, their aagman sohla has been much talked about.

Sculptor late Vijay Khatu, who had been making idols for the mandal for years now, always wanted to make a special idol for the 100th year of the mandal. However, he passed away two years back. This year, his daughter Reshma Khatu has made the idol, which fits well inside the replica of Pashupatinath temple of Nepal. Last year, the mandal had recreated Bruhadeshwar temple of Punjab.

To commemorate their centenary year, the mandal will be building an air-conditioned reading room and provide educational aids at a village in Ahmednagar. During their aagman sohala, the mandal also contributed Rs 5 lakhs towards flood relief at Kolhapur and Sangli.

“Our entrance with a 75 feet Shivlinga and a mural of Lord Ganesh’s family while the devotees are on their way to mandal, would create a divine atmosphere amidst all the festivities,” said Sandeep Parab, spokesperson of the mandal.

The celebrations at Chinchpokli were started in 1920 to pay homage to Lokmanya Tilak.

6. Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti, Wadala

Situated in Ram mandir, the mandal believes in eco-friendly celebrations

Situated in Ram mandir, the mandal believes in eco-friendly celebrations

One of the richest mandals in the city has a 14-feet eco-friendly idol. The hands, legs and hips of the idol are made of gold, while the Ganpati is decorated with diamonds. However, to add to the collection, the idol would be receiving new chain, ring and a bracelet from devotees this year.

Situated in Ram mandir, the mandal believes in eco-friendly celebrations, and food is served on plantain leaf to devotees. On a working day, around 8,000 devotees have food at the pandal.

“Since this Ganpati is called Navasala Pavnara shrimant Ganpati (wish fulfilling rich Ganpati, we have devotees from far off places coming to the temple for blessings,” said President, Ulhas Kamat.

7. Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle, Fort

The pandal at Fort is known for its grand decoration.

The pandal at Fort is known for its grand decoration.

A place set in 4700 sq feet of area has been created by art director Anant Savant and his team of 25 people from Rajasthan, who design the pandal for Pune’s Dagdusheth Ganpati as well. The pandal at Fort is known for its grand decoration. In the previous years, they have created a replica of a Rajasthani palace and a 40-feet large elephant gate, among others.

The mandal has also been promoting social causes and have earlier donated an endoscopy machine at a hospital. This year, they intend to donate a dialysis machine after the festivities.

“We have always opted for traditional celebrations and call dhol tasha pathaks during visarjan,” said Rupesh Surve, secretary.

9. Khetwadi’s Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal

This idol, which is 15-feet high, is usually adorned with gold jewellery.

This idol, which is 15-feet high, is usually adorned with gold jewellery. ( Kunal Patil / HT Photo )

Better known as Khetwadicharaja, the pandal has won many awards for best mandal and best idol. This idol, which is 15-feet high, is usually adorned with gold jewellery. This year, the organisers have tried a different kind of crown, instead of a diamond crown.

This year, the mandal has built a replica of Rajasthani palace.

“We will be conducting a security training workshop by police and a blood donation camp as a part of our social cause for devotees,” said Shankar Harale, secretary of the mandal.

10. Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal, King’s Circle

Known for its gold Ganesha, the mandal has had a shadu clay idol since its inception.

Known for its gold Ganesha, the mandal has had a shadu clay idol since its inception.

The richest mandal in the city has taken an insurance cover 266.65 crore this year, as compared to Rs 264.25 crore and 265 crore in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Known for its gold Ganesha, the mandal has had a shadu clay idol since its inception. Around one lakh visit the pandal on a daily basis, which is why the organisers have the permission for a drone camera.

“We have around 12,000 people who have their meals inside the pandal on a daily basis, which is why we are working on proper disposal of plastic waste and have opted for cloth bag and butter paper to give prasad,” said Satish Nayak, a trustee.

For those devotees who want to participate in the religious activities, they will only be allowed when they wear specific clothes. Last year, the mandal conducted 66,000 poojas, they are expecting to cross 70,000 poojas this year within five days.

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