Social distancing, virtual darshan: Many changes in this year’s Ganpati festival
Ganesh Chaturti celebrations will witness many changes this year. While all major Ganpati mandals have opted for virtual darshan, most city-based housing societies have decided to keep the festivities alive by observing social distancing norms.
Most smaller mandals and residential complexes have built artificial ponds within their society premises in order to ensure that people don’t crowd near larger water bodies for immersion (visarjan). Many societies have also decided to bring home a smaller and eco-friendly idol to make visarjan in artificial ponds easier.
The annual Ganpati visarjan procession of DSK Madhukosh Society at Sakinaka, Andheri (E) will be a low-key affair.
“We will observe all government rules and regulations of social distancing and only those with masks will be allowed to enter the mandal for Ganpati darshan --- that too one at a time,” said SD Kale, treasurer of the society.
He added that several society members will act as volunteers. And on Sunday, the idol will be immersed in an artificial pond built within the society premises. “Society members who have brought small Ganpati idols at their respective residences will also use the same pool to immerse idols,” added Kale.
Many Ganpati mandals in the city voluntarily decided to contain Ganesh festivities this year, keeping in mind the current Covid-19 situation in the city and state.
At Vile Parle, members of over 30 Ganpati mandals got together couple of months ago and decided on a three-feet idol. They agreed on immersing all the idols in an artificial pond built around their area.
“Since most people will avoid taking the visarjan procession all the way to Juhu Chowpatty this year, we have already built an artificial pond close to Vile Parle fire brigade station. Many local residential complexes have also told us that they will be using the same pond for visarjan of idols on Sunday,” said Pravin Shibe, member and advisor for Vikas Mitra Mandal, Vile Parle.
Shibe added that most mandals around Parle exchanged the usual 15-16 feet Ganpati idols for smaller clay idols this year.
“Times are such, health and safety of people is more important than celebrations so we have decided to keep festivities also at a smaller level this time round to avoid large gathering of people,” he said.
Another housing society in Kandivali (W) has encouraged society members to opt for clay Ganpati idols that could be immersed in buckets at their houses.
“We decided that instead of crowding people during visarjan, every member who brings a Ganpati idol home can immerse the same in a small bucket of water at home. This water can then be used at our society garden,” said Sheela Mantri, resident and general body head of Prakruti Apartments.