At the Pepsico (formerly Dukes) factory in Chembur, drumbeats replace the noise of machines for ten days during Ganeshotsav. More than 10 lakh devotees will arrive at the factory to pay their respects to the 15-and-a-half-feet tall idol, popularly known as ‘Dukes ka Raja’.
“This is the highlight of the year for us, when the bosses and workers, Hindus and Muslims, north Indians and south Indians come together to organise the biggest Ganeshotsav in Chembur. While our production does not stop, every worker volunteers in some way to help put up a wonderful festival,” said Vijay Dhamane, associate secretary of the union that represents the factory workers.
The mandal prides itself for being the first to immerse the Ganpati idol from Chembur at Girgaum Chowpatty and travels for 12 hours on the visarjan day.
Sudhir Holla, 21, visits the mandal regularly as he believes that it is worth waiting in line for. “It is one of the largest idols in Chembur. It is also one of the more interesting mandals as they always have a very nice theme,” said the Chembur resident.
Through their theme this year, the mandals plans to portray the defeat of the demon Mahishasura to symbolise the victory of good over evil. “People visit our mandal because they believe it to be lucky and that it grants any mannat they ask for. It is because the whole company works together for the festival that there are never any strikes or problems between the workers and management,” said Ravi Tawde, secretary of the workers’ union.