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10 Ganpatis we recommend you must visit in Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Sep 09, 2016 17:00 IST
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The Mumbaicha Raja Ganpati idol at Ganesh Galli was unveiled on Saturday. (Pratham Gokhale/HT photo)

It’s that time of the year again. Mumbai’s favourite festival is here and millions of devotees will commemorate the homecoming of the elephant-god, Ganesha, over the next 10 days.

Every year artisans and sculptors from across the country work to outdo each other to put together splendid pandals and larger-than-life idols, adding to the festival air that grips the city every Ganeshotsav.

This year, fewer mandals used Plaster of Paris (PoP) for their idols, choosing the more eco-friendly clay idols.

A majority of the pandals— both big and small — have themes with a focus on historic temples. Some others have replicated the look of lavish palaces built by different dynasties. Still others have decided to go with a simple, traditional ritual.

Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Lalbaug

Almost 82 years ago, when the Peru Chawl was shut down, fishermen and vendors ousted from their marketplace prayed for a permanent one and vowed to build a Ganpati mandal if their wish came true. After sustained efforts by local leaders and residents, the landlord agreed to give them a plot in 1934 — the present-day Lalbaug market. The Lalbaugcha Raja is perceived to be the fulfiller of wishes, and the pandal attracts millions of visitors every year.

LEGACY: 83rd year

LOCATION: Lalbaug market, GD Goenka Road, Lalbaug

NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Lower Parel, Harbour line: Cotton Green, Central line: Currey Road

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR:The pandal is designed as a palace and has been made from fibre. “The 12-foot idol made from Plaster of Paris is covered with 4.5kg gold over the idol’s hands, trunk and crown. The idol is also wearing a gold necklace, thread and ring to project the larger than life image of Lord Ganesh,” said mandal president, Balasaheb Kamble. “We have beefed up security this year, by installing more than 150 CCTV cameras.”

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day

Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, Ganesh Galli

Mumbaicharaja, the oldest mandal in Lalbaug, will have a 22-foot idol. The pandal is a replica of Uttarakhand’s Badrinath temple — one of the four pilgrimage sites dedicated to Lord Vishnu. “The deity will wear a 5kg gold necklace, with hands and feet made of 3kg gold each. The rest of the idol has been made from Plaster of Paris (PoP),” said Swapnil Parab, secretary, Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal.

LEGACY: 89th year

LOCATION: Ganesh Galli, Lalbaug

NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Lower Parel, Central line: Currey Road, Harbour Line: Sewri

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The pandal has been designed using fibre to replicate the ancient Badrinath temple in Uttarakhand’s Charmoli district

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day

TICKETS: Can be bought online from www.ganeshgalli.com

Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Girgaum

Started in 1893, this is the city’s oldest mandal. It celebrates the festival in the most traditional manner. It is also one of the few mandals that has never missed celebrating the festival. Its centenary year celebrations was grand. Organisers also conduct one large-scale celebration every five years. “We have used hand-made paper and tried our best to be eco-friendly this year,” said Jeetendra Chothe, mandal secretary. Chothe said the mandal will celebrate a ‘mahila divas’ and ‘yuva divas’.

LEGACY: 123rd year

LOCATION: Keshavji Naik chawl, Girgaum

NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Charni Road

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day

Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle

Businessman and Ganesha devotee, Ravi Surve has been putting together one of the most unique sarvajanik mandals at Fortcha Icchapurti, south Mumbai. This year, the mandal will feature a 40-foot gate in the shape of an elephant, with 46 small elephants crafted on it. The pandal resembles a Rajasthani palace. “This year the entry gate and size of the pandal is the largest in the city,” said Surve.

LEGACY: 61st year

LOCATION: Near CST

NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Churchgate, Central line: CST

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: 40-foot elephant gate dotted with 46 small elephants. The pandal looks like a Rajasthani palace

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day.

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

The richest mandal, known for its ‘Gold Ganesh’, will be under surveillance through 48 CCTV cameras. The Matunga police station will keep an eye on real-time footage, said Satish Nayak, a trustee. As opposed to last year, when the mandal decided to cut unnecessary expenses keeping in mind drought-hit farmers, this year, they will accept donations in gold and silver. “We have already received a 17kg silver throne as offering for our idol.”

LEGACY: 62nd year

LOCATION: GSB Sports Club Ground, Near SNDT Women’s College, King’s Circle, Matunga

NEAREST STATIONS: Harbour line: King’s Circle, Central and western line: Matunga

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: This year the 14-foot idol has been made from shadu clay

BEST TIME TO VISIT: 6am to 11pm

Read: Bappa and drones to watch over you at King’s Circle mandal

Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, Andheri

Andhericharaja is to the suburbs what Lalbaugcharaja is to south Mumbai. The pandal, designed by Dharmesh Shah, as a replica of Kunkeshwar Temple. “Legend has it the temple was erected by a Muslim sailor who committed suicide thinking he would not be accepted by either religion,” said Uday Salian, committee member.

(Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

LEGACY: 51st year

LOCATION: Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri (West)

NEAREST STATION: Andheri

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The pandal is designed as a replica of Kunkeshwar Temple, located in the Konkan.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: 5am to 4pm.

RULES: Organisers have a dress code — sleeveless clothes and clothes above knee-length will not be allowed.

Chinchpokli Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, Chinchpokli

Also known as Chinchpoklicha Chintamani, this is among the city’s oldest. The mandal roped in art director Aman Vidhate to make a pandal that represents the universe. The idol is 16 feet tall. atop a five-foot peacock throne. “The idol has been adorned with 5kg gold and it took three weeks to complete the design,” said Mahesh Pednekar, secretary. “We urge people not to bring offerings for the idol and instead donate money which would be later used for a medical centre.”

LEGACY: 97th year

LOCATION: Dattaram Lad Marg, Outside Chichpokli station.

NEAREST STATION: Chinchpokli

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: Pandal designed to represent the whole universe

BEST TIME TO VISIT: 10 am to 5pm

Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti, Wadala

This is one of the richest mandals in the city. Devotees will see a replica of the Tirupati Balaji temple this year. “A beautiful chandelier in the shape of a lotus has been designed. We received an anonymous donation of a Rs10 lakh garland from a devotee, which will adorn the idol this year,” said Ulhas Kamat, the president of the mandal.

(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

LEGACY: 62nd year

LOCATION: Dwarkanath Bhavan, Katrak Road, Wadala

NEAREST STATION: Harbour line: Wadala

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The pandal is designed like the famous Tirupati Balaji temple and a ‘lotus chandelier’ hang over it. The 14-ft idol was made by Govind Shanbag.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day.

Shree Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Kastur Park, Borivli

With 120 co-operative housing societies being a part of the trust, this is one of the biggest mandals in the western suburbs. The pandal has a trademark 8-foot idol every year, and is famous for showcasing different themes. This year, the pandal resembles Uttarkhand’s Kedarnath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. “The finishing and art-work is exquisite with an eco-friendly touch to it,” said Shivraj Ghatge, secretary.

(Pramod Thakur/HT PHOTO)

LEGACY: 38th year

LOCATION: Kastur Park, Borivli West, Opposite Nirvana

NEAREST STATION: Borivli

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The pandal is designed as the famous Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand. The 8-feet idol was made by the Bhabal brothers and the art decorators are Chandu Shedge and Nandu Shedge

BEST TIME TO VISIT: 7pm onwards

Shree Ganesh Utsav Mandal, Wadalacha Raja, Wadala

One of the very few all-traditional mandals, the Wadalacha Raja reveres tradition and is against any activity even remotely related to entertainment and glamour. They also do no advertising. “We believe in low-key operations. We want to conduct our activities traditionally. Whatever donations we get, we donate to a cause. We have also organised a picnic for differently-abled children,” said Jayant Patel, the president.

LEGACY: 23rd Year

LOCATION: David Baretto Road, Opposite Wadala Station

NEAREST STATION: Wadala Road, Harbour Line

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The organisers have covered Wadala with more than 200 CCTV cameras across 15km road, at a cost of Rs2 crore. The 11-foot murti would have no ostentatious decorations, the organisers said

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day.