Mumbai welcomed its favourite god elephant-headed Lord Ganesh as the 10-day Ganpati festival began here Wednesday amid tight security.
The 'aarti' and 'sthapan puja' (devotional worship) were held in various pandals (stage) to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The Mumbai Police were on watch to safeguard the installation of gigantic, medium and small idols of Lord Ganesh in different public venues, housing complexes and individual homes.
Millions of Mumbaikars remained awake through the night making last minute preparations for the popular festival.
The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the city, the entire coastal Konkan region and Pune, said Naresh Dahibhavkar, president of Mumbai Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samavaya Samiti (BSGSS).
Since last week, over 300,000 big and small idols started arriving in the city from artists' studios in different parts of Mumbai and Raigad.
Tight security arrangements have been made as 19,000 policemen are deployed across the city to prevent any untoward incident during the event, officials said.
Special security arrangements have been made for "Lalbaugcha Raja" (King of Lalbaug area in south central Mumbai), one of the most popular mandals (associations) attracting around one crore devotees, including filmstars and politicians.
Some of the public mandals have erected the idols with thematic presentations replicating the likes of famous Dilwara temple of Rajasthan, Nepal's Pashupatinath temple or Bikaner's Laxmi Vilas Palace
Metal detectors and CCTV cameras have also been installed at prominent mandals to keep a close watch.