After a lull of almost three years, the Ganeshotsav festival-2023 commenced in colourful splendour as thousands of gigantic, big, medium and small idols of the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha started arriving at his annual 10-day abode in homes, housing complexes, and public celebrations in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra, on Tuesday.
Accompanied by the music of dhol-tasha, tutari, cymbals, dancing, and cries of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’, the Lord Ganesha with a benign expression seemed to cast a loving glance at his millions of devotees eagerly waiting to worship him and lure him with his favourite ‘modak’ sweetmeat.
This year, Lord Ganesh will be treated to topical themes of decorations ranging from lore to science to history, like, highlighting the Chandrayan-3 recent descent on the Moon, which is drawing crowds at the ‘Khetwadicha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal in south Mumbai.
The ever-popular ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ is seen sitting majestically on a throne, symbolising the 350th anniversary of the Coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the last creation of the late Art Director Nitin C. Desai.
Several other Ganeshotsav mandals, like Chinchpoklicha Chitanmani have displayed themes of the upcoming Lord Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is likely to be opened early 2024.
This year, the idols range from 36-feet tall (Khetwadicha Raja) to the 2-feet smallies popular with household celebrations, in a variety of moods, poses, colours, designs and decorations.
The Khetwadicha Raja narrates the theme of the Chandrayan-3 with the Moon, ISRO, the Lunar Rover, all planets in the Solar System in a 3-D format with dazzling fluorescent colours, thrilling the devotees and visitors.
The country’s most expensive Ganeshotsav marquee is at the GSB Seva Mandal with the Lord Ganesh idol adorned with 60 kgs gold and 336-kgs silver ornaments, two special thanksgiving ‘havans’ for the Chandrayan-3 landing (September 19) and the fulfilment of the Lord Ram Temple (September 20), and a tailor-made total all-encompassing insurance cover of Rs 350-crore, said the organisers.
Besides these header marquees, the other prominent crowd-pullers are Tejukaya Mandal, GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti Wadala, Shri Balgopal Ganeshotsav Mandal Marine Lines, Sarvajanik Ganeshotsa Mandal Fort, Andhericha Raja in Andheri, Khetwadi 11 and 12 Lanes and the Sahyadri Mandal in Chembur.
This year, the BMC has given out permissions to nearly 2,729 organisations, up from 2,417 in 2022, for the public Ganeshotsav celebrations.
The country’s commercial capital has been converted into a huge open celebration venue with over 12,000 gigantic and big idols, and more than 3,00,000 medium and small idols dotting almost every road, nook and crany in the city over the next 10 days.
Homes and localities reverberate with chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ to honour Lord Ganesha, with daily morning, afternoon and evening 'aartis', small and big ‘prasads’, various social-cultural activities carried out alongside.
This morning the formal celebrations commenced with the ‘sthaapna pooja’, performed by traditional aartis to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The pot-bellies Lord Ganesha symbolises wisdom, prosperity, good fortune, the ‘vignaharta’ (remover of obstacles) and divine blessings on his devotees, and millions trooping out on the roads for Ganeshotsav Tourism daily.
Elsewhere in the state, especially in the ‘golden triangle’ of Mumbai-Pune-Nashik, the coastal Konkan with thousands of homes welcoming Lord Ganesha for the state’s biggest public festival got off to a roaring start Tuesday.
The idols of Lord Ganesha are brought and worshipped at the Raj Bhavan, Chief Minister, ministers, leaders of virtually all political parties, film stars like Amitabh Bachchan, the Kapoor clan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Nana Patekar, the Mangeshkar family, industrialists like Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, socialites, plus many from different communities like Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis and others.