In 2002, the Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, popularly called the Ganesh Galli Mandal brought Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple to a little street off Lalbaug. A few years later, it was Delhi's Akshardham Temple.
And after taking the city on a tour of India's varied monuments over time, they've zeroed in on Mysore this year.
The mandal is known for setting up magnificent decor on a different theme each year, and this time it's going to be a replica of Mysore’s Chamundeshwari Mandir.
Long poles, wooden sheets and sacks of clay are already scattered across the Ganesh Galli maidan, and a large hoarding outside gives you a glimpse of what to expect once Ganpati season begins next month.
“We will replicate all the original pillars and the two Gopurs (welcoming elephants) of the temple with their intricate patterns. The main attraction will be the 15-ft high Nandi bull at the yard’s entrance,” said Pradeep Walkar, a former Bollywood set designer and now the chief decorator of the pandal.
The original Nandi in Mysore is carved out of a single stone, this one will be made of plaster of paris.
At the head of the 10,000 sq ft maidan, Walkar and his team of nearly 100 artists will recreate the main Chamundeshwari temple tower, with a height of 40 feet instead of the original 100 feet.
“The myth is that Parvati, Lord Ganesh's mother, took on the avatar of Chamundeshwari and killed the demon Mahishasur at that spot in Mysore," said mandal secretary Swapnil Parab, explaining that they always pick themes from the lores of the elephant god.
The Ganesh idol itself will be among the tallest in the city at 22 feet, and this year's theme is Mashuk Rath, the mouse chariot. “We will have the Lord perched on a chariot of large rats, and in one hand he will raise a trishul (trident)," said Manohar Bagwe of the Bagwe Brothers, the idol artists who have just started work on the Ganesh Galli idol.