Ghatkopar may have been deprived of commercial Navratri events, but it continues to boast of traditional fervour as societies strive to keep old cultural norms alive.
Residents and mandal members feel that the ouster of commercial Navratri organisers from Ghatkopar has enabled the locality to retain its traditional flavour.
Bhanushali Wadi Mitra Mandal in Ghatkopar (East) has been organising Navratri celebrations for the Bhanushali community for last 75 years.
“Events need commercial venues, and ours is a festival. Around 5,000 people to perform pooja in front of our kul devi (community goddess) here daily. The same people then go to 25 other such community celebrations held across the city. We will keep Navratri traditions alive, come what may,” said Ashok Bhanushali, general secretary of Kutch Bhanushali Seva Samaj Trust, the umbrella body of Bhanushali mandals in the city.
Bhaveshwar Nagar society in Ghatkopar (East) has been keeping tradition alive for more than 62 years. “Our small electronic mandir is made of vintage clock parts, which enables the whole mandir to rotate. People come here yearning for culture and authenticity. All commercial events can provide is entertainment,” said Danabhai Patel, 73, who lives in the society.
Navratri in Rajawadi Navratri Chowk in Rajawadi, is a sight to behold as 108 young girls perform the maha aarti in the mandal. “Girls dress up and pose as goddesses for two hours, which fascinates people. Those looking at them from a distance can’t make out that it is not an idol but a human being. Around 5,000 people come to witness the spectacle every day,” said Arun Somaiya, one of the organisers.
Festival becomes modern
Ghatkopar witnesses modern Navratri celebrations as well.
From events such as DJ parties and fancy dress competitions to dress codes for all the days, Clover Regency, multi-storeyed tower in Ghatkopar (East) has been organising the festival in a modern way for the past seven years.
“Our society has 125 families with 100 per cent Gujarati crowd. We organise different kinds of activities and competitions for kids as well as adults all through the festival and end with a traditional touch,” said Umesh Shah, secretary of the society.