For an academic institution, 8.00 pm is an unlikely time to be buzzing with activity. But Lovely Public School in Bank Enclave near Laxmi Nagar in East Delhi is packed with people in the evenings these days to entertain a special guest.
Amidst the cacophony of loud speakers playing devotional songs, lights and decoration in a huge pandal on the school premises sits the idol of Ganesha.
“Who says Ganeshji is only for Maharashtrians? The idea is simple: Delhi's culture has given us everything (but) what have we given to it? Ganeshji toh sabke hai (Ganesha belongs to all),” says Mahendra Laddha, Shri Ganesh Sewa Mandal’s founder president that organises the festivities.
People from as far as Dwarka, Karol Bagh, Rohini and Lajpat Nagar come to participate in the 10-day-long celebrations here.
The footfall of devotees ranges between 1 lakh and 1.5 lakh for all days.
The ten-day festival till September 3 is slowly gaining popularity among Delhiites and more and more people are taking to the celebrations with gusto.
In the forefront is the youth of Delhi, especially at two of premier institutions in the Capital that draw students from across India — Indian Institute of Technology and School of Planning and Architecture.
Students at the architecture school’s boys’ hostel near New Friends Colony looks forward to any and every occasion to have fun. This time, he young crowd has actually turned traditional to welcome the God of Wisdom (another name for Ganesha).
This is their tenth year of celebration.
Sandal Kapoor, general secretary of the students council, said: “Kedar Nirgude and Pravin Netankar, two students from Maharashtra, floated the idea that unlike every year, when Ganeshji’s idol is kept in one of the rooms, we can involve everyone.”
Their honourary hostel warden Dr P S N Rao, who is also the professor and head of Housing Department at the SPA, said: “This is an event where we can bring everyone together. This time round, there were more than 400 students and other people from our residential complex here.”
Then there are groups and cultural clubs, which are organising the festivities in the traditional way. A number of pujas are being organised by Andhraiites, Tamilians and Kannadigas.