Gauri visarjan is the day when most women in the family take centre stage. This was evident from the large number of women, who were part of the crowds that gathered to immerse Gauri idols at various locations across the city.
Revered as a mother figure in most Maharashtrian families, Gauri is brought home on the fourth day of Ganeshotsav and immersed two days later. Thursday evening saw several families from the city performing Gauri visarjan at Girgaum, Dadar and Juhu beaches.
For the ten women in Ditika Kocharekar’s family, who bid goodbye to Gauri on Thursday, the mother’s stay at their Kalachowkie home was traditional in every way. In the last 50 years that they have welcomed the goddess at home, Gauri has never been just an idol.
“For us, Gauri resides in the pile of stones, leaves, flowers and fruits that we place besides Lord Ganpati,” said Kocharekar, 50, a government servant. This, she added, is in line with the rural practice, where a young bride returns to her mother’s home with a few stones and leaves from the riverbank, which is then honoured as Gauri.
On the day of Gauri’s arrival, the Kocharekar women fasted and offered rotis and vegetables to the goddess. “Before the immersion, we had a grand puja with all our relatives, and offered her only vegetarian bhog,” added Kocharekar.
On Thursday, the family trooped out to Dadar Chowpatty, where the symbolic Gauri and Ganpati idols were immersed amidst fervent prayers. “Bringing Gauri home at the time of Ganeshotsav is largely a Konkan and Koli ritual,” said Anand Bedekar, a priest who performed prayers for several families during Gauri visarjan.