From a model of the Shiva temple at Kunkeshwar in the Konkan, to a replica of the Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand, Mumbai is creating elaborate pandals for Ganeshotsav.
The Shree Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Kastur Park, Borivli — a 38-year-old association of 120 co-operative housing societies — is constructing a model of the Kedarnath temple.
“This year we are taking a break from topical themes and creating an experience of the Kedarnath temple,” said Shivraj Ghatge, secretary of the mandal. The pandal is expected to draw around 1.2 million devotees during the 10-day festival, which starts on September 5.
Andhericha Raja, another big pandal in the western suburbs is keeping alive their tradition of thematic pandals by setting up a replica of the Kunkeshwar temple. Legend has it that the temple was built by a Muslim sailor. “After constructing the temple, he committed suicide by jumping from the top of it, as he believed he would never be accepted by his religion,” said Uday Salian from the mandal. “Our theme is to break barriers and bring everyone together,” he added.
‘No theme’ is the new theme for other mandals that have decided to keep celebrations traditional. One of the oldest Ganesh mandals in the city, Jitekar Wadi in Thakurdwar, dates back to A D 1894. This year, it has neither a theme nor decorations. “We don’t have enough volunteers. Earlier, we used to assemble the murti (statue) on our own, but this time it is impossible. We will just have a small murti,” said Dilip Thakur, one of the mandal members.
GSB Seva Mandal, King’s Circle, will have their trademark ‘eco-friendly’ idol with no theme or elaborate decorations while GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti of Wadala, too, will install their idol in the Ram Mandir. “We are giving more importance to tradition rather than themes. Worshipping is all that matters. Not decorations,” said Pradeep Nayak, public relations official of the Wadala mandal.
The Bal Mitra Mandal of Grant Road will highlight the size of the idol. “The 18-foot tall idol of Ganpati will be accompanied by his father, Shiva, posing as Natraj. There will be no other decorations or themes,” said Girish Walwalkar, mandal head.
Upnagaracha Raja of Borivali too, will emphasise the size of their idol. “Ours is the tallest idol in the western suburbs. It is 22-24-foot tall. People can’t take tear their eyes away from it, so there is no need for any decorations,” said Milind Kolvankar, chief secretary of the mandal.