This year, when Parel’s Tejukaya Ganesh Mandal auctions all its devotees’ offerings, a large number of bidders are likely to be Muslims.
The reason: One of the items that will be auctioned is a garland of 111 ten-rupee notes, all having serial numbers ending with 786, a holy figure in Islam.
“A lot of valuable offerings are made to our Ganpati every year, but this is the first time that something so special and unique has come our way,” said Mangesh Patade, secretary of the 44-year-old mandal.
“Even Lalbaugcha Raja cannot boast of such a thing.”
An unknown devotee placed the garland of notes at the idol’s feet on the first day of the festival itself. The mandal trustees, however, did not wish to reveal the identity of the devotee. “Ganpati must have fulfilled a very important navas (wish) of the devotee, but it is not our business to find out more about the person,” said trustee Namdeo Hule. Auction of the garland and other offerings will be held at the mandal at 9 pm on Saturday. At least 100 people turn up for the Tejukaya auctions every year, but this year the mandal is expecting a larger crowd, especially Muslims and curio collectors.
“The value of the garland is just Rs 1,110, but the bidding will start at a significantly higher price considering its worth for the pious,” said Patade, who believes that the number 786 is holy even for Hindus. “It is said that if 786 is written upside down in Urdu, it looks like Om.”