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Praying to make education fun

In its 51st year, the Bhatwadi Mandal in Barwe Nagar has education as the theme for its Ganesh pandal.

mumbai Updated: Sep 08, 2011 01:24 IST
Sharanya Misra Sharma

In its 51st year, the Bhatwadi Mandal in Barwe Nagar has education as the theme for its Ganesh pandal.

The Ghatkopar mandal picked the theme to stress that students should enjoy learning and not feel burdened by the pressure of scoring high marks.

"We want to give out the message that childhood should be fun-filled and not cause children to take drastic measures such as suicide," said mandal president, Vilas Ram Chavan.

The interiors of the pandal have pictures and illustrations of children going to and returning from school. The mandal is also addressing problems faced by students. Though not a very big pandal, its elaborate decorations and its history make it one of the most visited pandals in Mumbai. A five-and-a-half-feet Ganesh idol is the centrepiece of the pandal. This year, the idol is adorned with jewellery worth Rs 60 lakh compared to Rs 50 lakh last year.

The best time to visit the mandal is in the evenings when families come with prasad. The afternoon is a more peaceful time to visit the mandal.

"Devotees come here from as far as Pune," says Chavan, adding that last year visitors had come even from Ahmedabad.

"I visit many new mandals every year but always come to this one. I have been coming here as a child," says Geeta Shirke, 41, a Jogeshwari resident.

Through the year, the mandal is involved in various activities and social causes such as blood donation drives, workshops for senior citizens and women's empowerment programmes.