With her one-year-old child perched on her hip and four nieces keeping her company, Janvi Karande, 30, stood in line for more than eight hours to catch a five-second-long glimpse of the Lalbaugcha Raja on Friday. But the brief glimpse was worth the wait.
“Owing to additional security this year, the queue was crawling throughout the morning. However, I waited because I had a secret wish to make,” said Karane, who was among the one lakh devotees who visited the city’s most popular Ganesh mandals.
Even at the Ganesh Galli mandal, that stands metres away from the Lalbaug pandal, devotees arrived in large numbers. “This is the tallest idol in the city and the setup is always intriguing.
This year, the organisers have adorned the idol with a gold chain weighing 5.3 kg, which is a marvel in itself,” said Jagdish Mansode, 64, who has visited the mandal for the last two decades. “Last year, my wife was injured in a road accident, her chances of surviving were bleak. I made a wish to the deity to save her life and this year, she is fit enough to accompany me,” added Mansode, who will be praying for his son’s prosperity this year.
At the Kala Chowki Vibhag Sarvajanik Utsav mandal in Parel, thousands of devotees arrived to look at the pandal’s theme — the plight of the mill workers.
“We are fighting for the rights of mill workers who were left homeless in the 1980s. We are hoping that the government wakes up and addresses their plight,” said Nitin Kerkar, committee member. “Though we get only 1% of the crowd that visits Lalbaug, we have made provisions of adequate security and prasad,” he added.