Diamond-studded Om for elephant god | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Diamond-studded Om for elephant god

They came to greet the elephant lord with gifts of gold.

mumbai Updated: Sep 13, 2010 02:13 IST
Aarefa Johari

They came to greet the elephant lord with gifts of gold.

Two days into the ganpati festival and the city’s big mandals saw never-ending queues of devotees.

Several came with a prayer for their lord, others came with flowers and fruits to place at his feet and then there were those who brought diamonds and gold.

Wadala’s GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti has received a gold hand, gold foot and a diamond studded Om. The mandal had to stretch its closing hours from midnight to 1 am on Saturday because of the influx of devotees.

"We are the only mandal where people are given time for individual poojas, and 300 managed to do it on the first day," said mandal secretary Ulhas Kamat.

At Ghatkopar’s Bhatwadi Mitra Mandal, a devotee offered 51,000 laddoos to the lord. "Many people in this area do not break their fasts until our Ganpati is installed and welcomed," said Vilas Ram Chavan, president of the mandal.

At Parel’s Lalbaugcha Raja, devotees started queuing up outside the gates on Friday night itself waiting for the 4 am sthapana (inauguration prayer) of their most loved Ganesha. At least 25 lakh people turned up as of Sunday night. As for offerings, the mandal will have an estimate after the festival.

"By Saturday evening, the queue for darshan went up to JJ Hospital, and the line for mannat (those praying for wish-fulfillment) stretched up to KEM Hospital," said an official guarding one of the gates to the pandal. Standing in the mannat line usually implies a wait of over 30 hours in the air-conditioned canopy.

Despite 3,500 volunteers and several policemen managing crowds in Lalbaug, several devotees had complaints. "The line was completely disorganised in the beginning and got better only closer to the pandal," said Chetna Ferrao, an interior designer who left her Thane home at 6 am on Sunday and managed darshan 12 hours later.

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