Parel-based businessman Nitin Dawde sat anxiously in the first row of bidders at the Lalbaugcha Raja auction on Tuesday, determined to buy as much as he can.
Having attended all four days of the auction, Dawde is already a proud owner of 2 idols, a gold modak, rings and chains, among other things, and also hopes to bag the biggest Ganpati idol up for grabs. “It will go for more than Rs 1 lakh for sure,” said Dawde, as he reminisced how he took it home last year.
For this businessman, as for all other bidders, money is not a consideration.
“I make decisions from my heart. I don’t know how much I have spent already and I don’t have a budget,” he added.
On the last day of the auction, the collections were Rs 80 lakhs, which took the total Lalbaugcha Raja earnings this year to Rs 8.6 crore.
In the list of things on auction, there was everything from 10-gram gold modaks to a Rolex watch, the market value of which is approximately Rs 10 lakh. It was sold at the auction for more than Rs 13 lakh.
“The total collections from the first three days of auction were Rs 1.5 crore, and we have already counted more than Rs 6.5 crore in cash offerings. The counting will still take one more day to end,” said Rajendra Sawant, vice president of the committee.
But, devotees don’t mind paying a premium, as they believe that the Lalbaugcha Raja blesses all those who pray before him.
“Three years ago, I had nothing. Today, I own two homes in Parel and have a flourishing business, all thanks to Lalbaugcha Raja,” said Dawde. “I know the committee will use my money for a good cause.”