Call him what you may – Ganesha, Dukh harta, Bappa, Vighna harta. Names make little difference to the faith, belief and love people nurture for the ‘first god’. Ganesh Chaturthi is our way of welcoming him for his vacation here with all of us at his beck and call. More than just a typical festival, Ganesh Chaturthi lasts for a full 11 days. Mumbai turns into a beautiful bride, welcoming and then romancing her groom – all of it with a lot of pomp and splendor.
Just as Mumbai is busy gathering stamina for this long festival, Amrietaa goes around pandal-hunting, fetching you a list of the most famous pandals in Mumbai. Read on to find out more about what makes these particular stalls so special.
Lal Baug Cha Raja
Situated at the Lal Baug Market, this is by far the most famous mandal in Mumbai. The mandal was founded in 1934 and has been existing since eighty years now. Famed for granting his devout’s wishes, the Ganesha here is visited in hordes during the 10 day course. Big celebrities, politicians and the common man come visit the Lal Baug’s King alike. Waiting in long queues for his darshan can take up to 40 hours but that doesn’t tinge the devotion of the people who believe. He happily receives several donations in cash and kind each – used by the pandal committee in the following year.
Mumbai cha Raja
Located at Ganesh Gali, Parel, Mumbai cha Raja stands just a few lanes away from Lal Baug Cha Raja. The idol was first brought in, in the year 1928 and is the oldest Ganapati Stall in the area. The stall is known for its well-planned themes each year that are often replica setups of famous Indian Places.
The Khetwadi Ganraj, also known as Khetwadi Cha Raja is located at the 12th lane of Khetwadi, Girgaum and is easy to access via the Charni Road Station. The tradition of worshipping Ganapati here began in the year 1959. The pandal here is known for its spectacularly beautiful idols every year. Unique, different, quirky and nouvelle – the at this pandal is all of these. The beloved ‘bappa’ here adorns gold and has even been studded with diamonds in the past. In the year 2008, the pandal gained added popularity for having the tallest Ganesh idol in the history of the festival. Time will tell what is in store for the year 2014.
Andheri cha Raja
Located at Azad Nagar, Andheri, this pandal is not hyped by the media like the rest, but remains popular nevertheless. Devotees often claim that the Bappa here never fails to fulfill wishes. What many people do not know is that the idol is kept at the pandal until Sankashti, which is a few days ahead of Anant Chaturdashi.
GSB Seva Ganesh Mandal
This pandal at King’s Circle houses Ganesha that is particularly fond of Gold jewellery. Which explains his title as Mumbai’s ‘Gold Ganesh’. The mandap feels serene with live devotional music played every year with Indian instruments that are a delight to listen to. The celebrations here, last for 5 days, which is just why the stall often remains crowded with His devotees. Another aspect that sets this ‘Gold Ganesh’ apart is his clay and eco-friendly make.
Keshavji Naik Chawl
The festival here was initiated back in the year 1893 by Lokmanya Tilak. Situated at Girgaum, the idol is another famous example of eco-friendly worshipping. The members of the committee who are responsible for the management do not believe in commercializing this festival as a business to collect large donations. The committee engages in social work and does not believe in polluting the locality with loud music.
Mumbai comes alive during this period. The colorful streets, ukadiche modaks and the drumrolls along with that one –of-a-kind-vibe makes us wait for the Gajanana all year in anticipation. It is saddening to bid him adieu at the end of the 11th day by immersing him in water. Slogans are cried out and Bappa’s greatness hails all around through liners like ‘Bappa Morya, Agle Baras Tu Jaldi Aa’.
Know of more places that are adorned by this enormous elephant God? Fill us in on it through the comments section below. We would love to hear from you. Thanks!