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10 Mumbai Ganpati pandals you must visit

The queues will be long and the crowds large, but it’s for Ganpati Bappa

mumbai Updated: Aug 27, 2017 16:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Ganpati,Ganesh Chaturthi
Lalbaugcha Raja, Parel is one of the most popular mandals in Mumbai.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Mumbai’s most awaited and favourite festival of the year is here.

For the next 10 days, the city that never sleeps will hear chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ from every lane as every mandal will put up their best show to celebrate the homecoming of the Elephant God — Ganesha.

Months of work by artists, sculptors, volunteers and vendors will take the shape of larger-than-life idols and vibrant celebrations.

Adding to the festive air that grips the city during Ganeshotsav, some mandals will also promote a cause.

You will see more eco-friendly clay idols and pandals, outside the themes of historic temples and lavish palaces, will also centre around conservation of trees, the efforts of the city’s silent heroes and organ donation.

Baahubali, which thrilled cinema audiences with its exquisite sets and special effects , has also had its influence on a pandal or two this year.

If you are planning to go pandal-hopping, check out the themes and decorations at ten of the most famous pandals in the city.

1. Lalbaugcharaja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Lalbaug

One of the most visited pandals during the festival, Lalbaugcha Raja is considered to be a Ganpati who fulfils wishes, and the devotees at times end up waiting for more than 24 hours in the queue. “Our first priority is to ensure that all the devotees are able to take the darshan properly, which is why we have put in efforts to ensure that water, food and toilets are readily available to them,” said Balaseheb Kamble, President of the Mandal.

In 1932, vendors of Peru Chawl had vowed that they would put up a Ganpati pandal if their shops were returned to them. After sustained efforts by local leaders and residents, the landlord provided a permanent marketplace to them, which is the present-day Lalbaug market.

In its 84th year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The theme for pandal this year is Gajraj Mahal, while the deity will resemble Korma, the second avatar of Lord Vishnu.

•LOCATION: Lalbaug market, GD Goenka Road, Lalbaug

•NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Lower Parel, Harbour line: Cotton Green, Central line: Currey Road/ Chinchpokli

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day

The look was unveiled on Monday. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

2. Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, Ganesh Galli

The oldest mandal in Lalbaug has started its countdown for its centenary celebrations. They are doing so by paying an ode to Dinanath Velling, the sculptor who created their idols in the early years of the festival. Velling was the mentor of Vijay Khatu who recently passed away, with his daughter continuing the tradition. Replicas of Velling’s creations are now being made in the Khatu workshop. This year’s pandal will be a replica of the Sripuram Golden Temple in Vellore. “This year we have repeated our 1985 idol. The 22-feet deity will wear a 5-kg gold necklace,” said Swapnil Parab, secretary, Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal.

In its 90th year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The mandal intends to honour the people who work silently towards making Mumbai a better city. They will have special aartis everyday which will be performed by nurses from Sion Hospital, bank workers, backstage artists and railway employees.

•LOCATION: Ganesh Galli, Lalbaug

•NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Lower Parel, Central line: Currey Road, Harbour Line: Sewri

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day

Preparations at Ganesh galli are on. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

3. Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Girgaum

The oldest mandal in the city had played host to Lokmanya Tilak. As they celebrate their 125th year, they have made a replica of Ganpatipule Temple, Ratnagiri.The pandal will be inaugurated on Friday by Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman, State Bank of India.

“Tilak has always been an inspiration for all of us, and we are glad that we are carrying forward his legacy” said Vinod Satpute, trustee.

In its 125th year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The youngsters of the mandal have made 500 paper bags, wherein they have written a poem on conservation of trees. Devotees will be gifted the bag with seeds of plants.

•LOCATION: Keshavji Naik chawl, Girgaum

•NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Charni Road

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day

A replica of Ganpatipule being created. (HT)

4. Chinchpoklicha Raja

Famous as Chinchpoklicha Chintamani, the 18-feet Ganesh idol was made by late Vijay Khatu every year. The pandal this year has been made to look like Mahishmati Darbar, from blockbuster fantasy film Baahubali. “This is the last idol made by Khatu. He had a dream that he would make a special Ganpati for our 100th year, however he didn’t live to fulfil that,” said Sandeep Parab, spokesperson of the mandal.Every year the mandal spends 60% of the money collected on social service initiatives throughout the year, which includes helping Adivasis, running a nursery and a library.

In its 98th year

WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: This is the last Chinchpokli cha Chintamani idol made by Vijay Khatu, and one of the first ones to be completed by his daughter Reshma Khatu.

•LOCATION: Dattaram Lad Marg, Outside Chinchpokli station

•NEAREST STATIONS: Chinchpokli station

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: 10AM to 5PM

The Chintamani idol is almost ready. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

5. Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, Andheri

Andhericharaja is one of the pandals in suburbs that are visited by celebrities. A replica of one of the Ashtavinayak temples, designed by Ananta Shinde and Dharmesh Shah, is the theme this year.

“The devotees will feel as if they have visited Balleshwar temple from Pali, Raigad, when they visit us,” said Subodh Chitnis, treasurer.

The idol of Andhericharaja looks the same every year and wears a 3.1 kg crown, which was made using gold donations received from 3,000 Mumbaiites on its 50th anniversary

In its 52nd year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: In a small step towards eco-friendly celebrations, the mandal has cut down on the usage of Plaster of Paris (PoP) in their decoration.

LOCATION: Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri (West)

•NEAREST STATIONS: Nearest station is Andheri

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: 5AM to 12PM – this is when everyone is at work and you will be able to avoid crowds.

•RULES: Organisers have a dress code — clothes above knee-length will not be allowed.

The decoration at the pandal in 2016. (HT )

6. Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti, King’s Circle

GSB, King Circle is known for its gold Ganesha, and have always believed in eco-friendly celebrations. The mandal is known for its traditional celebrations and would perform poojas the religious way, by allowing devotees to participate in the religious activities only when they wear specific clothes. The mandal expects around 75,000 poojas to be conducted this year in five days.

“The pandal will be under surveillance of 48 CCTV camers 24X7,” said Satish Nayak, a trustee.

In its 63rd year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: While for most of the festivities, the noise pollution norms have been relaxed, the mandal will still host a silent procession for immersion.

•LOCATION: GSB Sports Club Ground, Near SNDT Women’s College, King’s Circle, Matunga

•NEAREST STATIONS: Harbour line: King’s Circle, Central and Western line: Matunga

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: 6 AM to 11 PM

The pandal at King’s Circle in Mumbai (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

7. Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle, Fort

Another pandal known for its grand decoration is Fortcha Icchapurti; they usually make replicas of various palaces. While last year, a large 40-feet elephant gate was made, this year a replica of Bikaner Palace with marble effects is in store for the devotees, made by a team led by art director Anant Savant. Also, trying to ensure that they do their bit for their environment, the structures will be made of reusable fibre.

“When it comes to security, we are very vigilant, and we do not even let the vehicles of our volunteers be parked near the pandal,” said Rupesh Surve, secretary.

In its 62nd year

•LOCATION: Near CST

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: Pandal depicts Bikaner Palace with marble effect made by a team of eight artists from Rajasthan.

NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Churchgate, Central line: CST

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day.

Workers get the pandal ready. (Bhushan Koyande)

8. Sahyadri Krida Mandal, Chembur

Known for its unique themes every year, Sahyadri Krida Mandal is propagating ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan’ this year. The grand decoration is erected on a 25-feet tall and 120-feet wide structure. Previously they had paid an ode to 100 years of Bollywood, created replicas of the Varanasi Ghats, Dakshineshwar temple and the Kung Fu Panda village.

“A lot of thought goes into the construction of our structures each year. Our president Rahul Walanj starts thinking about the next Ganpati as soon as one is over,” said Jaya Shetty, vice president.

In its 42nd year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: The mandal is supporting the cause of organ donation and spreading awareness about it in their pandal.

•LOCATION: Tilak Nagar, Chembur

•NEAREST STATION: Central line: Vidyavihar; harbour line: Tilak Nagar

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: Between 3pm and midnight

A view of the pandal. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

9. Khetwadicharaja, Khetwadi’s Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal

Better known as Khetwadicharaja, the pandal has won many awards for best mandal and best idol. This 15-feet high idol is usually adorned with diamonds. This year to give a different effect, the trunk of Ganpati has been adorned with diamonds too.

“Our aim is to ensure that all the devotees get a chance to touch the feet of Bappa, which is, we ask them not to rush. We rather appreciate if they could sit and enjoy the temple kind of ambience,” said Shankar Harale, secretary of the mandal.

In its 59th year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: Pandal made to replicate Baahubali’s set.

•LOCATION: 12th Lane Khetwadi, Girgaum

•NEAREST STATIONS: Western line: Charni Road, Central line: Sandhurst Road

•BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime during the day

The design is modelled on Bahubali. (HT)

10. Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal, Wadala

One of the richest mandals in the city has a 14-feet eco-friendly idol. The hands, legs and hips of the idol are made of gold, and is decorated with diamonds.

Located in the Ram Mandir, the mandal has opted to go for a flower and mukut (crown) decoration. While they received a gift of a Rs10 lakh gold garland last year, this year three devotees will be offering gold necklaces to the idol.

“Around 2 lakh people visit the pandal every year and we want to make sure that each and every one receives prasad after darshan. We have also made the provision to host around 1000 people at a time in the food pandal,” said president Ulhas Kamat.

In its 63rd year

•WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS YEAR: Adding to the list of donors, this year there are three devotees who have offered gold necklaces to the idol.

•LOCATION: Dwarkanath Bhavan, Katrak Road, Wadala

•NEAREST STATIONS: Harbour line: Wadala

•WHEN TO VISIT: Anytime in the day

The set is almost ready. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 11:23 IST