The sounds of the first 'aarti' and 'sthapan puja' welcoming the elephant-headed Lord Ganesh resounded through this Maharashtra capital Thursday as the 10-day Ganpati festival began amid tight security.
Millions of Mumbaikars - ranging from slumdwellers to billionaires - remained awake throughout Wednesday night, making last minute preparations for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Gigantic, medium and small idols of Lord Ganesh were installed in different public venues, housing complexes and individual homes.
Since last week, nearly 250,000 idols have arrived from artisans' studios.
The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Mumbai, the entire coastal Konkan region and Pune.
Over 12,500 registered associations, apart from the 40,000 private housing complexes, have been preparing for the most popular festival of the state, which attracts domestic and foreign tourists, said Mumbai Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samavaya Samiti (BSGSS) president Naresh Dahibhavkar.
A majority of the gigantic idols were installed last week in different marquees before being unveiled Thursday. Small idols started arriving Wednesday evening.
Some associations have thematic presentations in the background of the idols.
The presentations range from the July 13 Mumbai terror attacks to the Ajanta-Ellora Caves, besides paintings, tableaux, decorations, and artistic impressions from other facets of Indian life.
Last year, many chose to go with the swine flu theme that had plagued the state then and the Mumbai terror attacks of Nov 26, 2008.